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Cinematographers directing, playwrights acting, Brazilian pop stars scoring and directors forming production companies — as this edition of our annual new talent “tip sheet” attests, filmmakers are getting creative when it comes to carving out a career in independent film. And while in past years it’s been a stretch to come up with 25 truly worthy candidates, this year we had no problem filling these pages with folks we believe will be making their mark on independent film for years to come.

There are all manner of stories in these biographical sketches. Jacob Ryan Estes waited seven years to make his film while Miranda July found her financing in eight months. Cinematographer Andrij Parekh improved a short film to fulfill a film school requirement and wound up winning the Grand Marnier Prize at the New York Film Festival. Micah Schraft and Abdi Nazemian met over a night of musical theater and launched a creative partnership that has them writing offbeat indies as well as studio comedies. The lesson, of course, is that there are no ready-made solutions to “making it” as an independent filmmaker. Independent filmmakers improvise as much away from the camera as behind it, and out of these improvisations come the creative sparks that continually revitalize this field. So, take note of the improvisers below; they’ll be making noise in the years ahead.

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