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You’d think that our annual "25 New Faces" feature might be one of Filmmaker’s easier editorial jobs. After all, independent film used to be all about "new faces." Between Sundance, the short-film winners announced at film schools each spring, the IFP Market and the other American film festivals, there should always be a ready supply of new talent to spotlight in these pages.

Our self-imposed edict to fly lower below the radar makes it only a bit harder to make these selections each year. And although we like to think of these pieces as predictions of a sort, the random nature of this business makes any attempt at soothsaying somewhat futile.

Even so, our track record here is pretty good. Among other successes, 2002’s Justin Haythe just saw his script The Clearing produced for Fox Searchlight with Robert Redford and Helen Mirren starring; 2000’s Erin Cressida Wilson won the IFP Los Angeles Spirit Award this year for writing Secretary; 2000’s Peter Sollett and Eva Vives saw their Raising Victor Vargas released this year to critical raves; and 2002’s JT Petty is awaiting the release of his film Soft for Digging from Madstone while his Mimic 3 plays on cable and his X-Box/Playstation game Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell climbs the charts.

No, the challenge in compiling this list is in continually reevaluating what sort of work should be considered "new." Independent film has always been about alternative points of view, whether they be expressed in experimental approaches or through crowd-pleasing comedies. Our tea leaves aren’t able to say when – or even if – the following 25 filmmakers will bust out in their Details magazine spread, but we are confident that the extremely diverse viewpoints they represent enlarge the current range of indie possibilities.

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