25 New Faces of Independent Film

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The summer used to be a slow period for independent film, so what better time to focus our readers’ attention on the up-and-coming artists who’d be shaping the next generation? That’s what we were thinking back in 1998, when we decided to devote our Summer issue to what has become our most celebrated feature of the year, the “25 New Faces of Independent Film.” We looked at a lot of work, canvassed our colleagues, and tasked ourselves with finding not the obvious names, the ones already bold-faced in the trades, but up-and-comers whose early work impressed and excited us.

On that first list were people like directors Jessica Yu and Jamie Babbitt, actor Peter Sarsgaard, d.p. Amy Vincent and composers Nathan Larson and Craig Wedren. They’ve been joined over the years by an incredible group of directors, writers, d.p.s, editors, production designers and actors who have indeed remade and remodeled independent film. For many of our readers the “25 New Faces” was the place they discovered early on Girls creator Lena Dunham, Drive star Ryan Gosling, The Crash Reel director Lucy Walker, multi-hyphenate Miranda July and Paranormal Activity creator Oren Peli, among dozens of others.

But listing just the people who’ve blown up out of list does the “25” a disservice. It’s not primarily designed to be a success predictor, even though success — or at least broader recognition — is the outcome for many who appear on it. No, think of the “25” as a kind of geological survey, a dig into the new impulses, ideas and forces that will bring both new stories and new forms of storytelling to the surface in the years ahead. And think of it also as a series of historical markers. Over these 16 years, each person on this list made an impact on us. They created work that not only made us anticipate their futures but impressed us in the present. As we begin to look for next year’s crop of “25”ers, we hope you take a moment to travel back and discover the series’ alumni, whose ability to stimulate, charm, dazzle and provoke has in no way faded over time.

Follow the links below to read about our “25 New Faces” alumni from 2001 onwards:

2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001