TOP TEN American Indie Filmmakers of the decade

Submissions: US in Progress Wrocław and Paris edition TOP 10 American independent filmmakers of the last decade

The American Film Festival is already celebrating its 10th anniversary! This is a great occasion to look back and reflect on the last decade of American indie film through the perspective of our Wroclaw event. On this occasion we can also analyze changes in the American film market and the careers of ‘our’ filmmakers. 

Since 2010, the programming team of the AFF has been scouting for films for the festival, picking the ones that seem to give rise to new trends and tendencies in American independent filmmaking. We have screened feature narrative films not only awarded at major US festivals but also films that potentially have a  deeper impact on Polish viewers. We believe that we have been offering a view into the American independent film market from a European perspective. Subsequently, a list of US indie filmmakers most recognized in Poland has been created. 

The past nine editions of the AFF screened feature narratives directed by as many as nearly 300 filmmakers. The movies were mostly presented in our Spectrum competition as Polish premieres and some of the directors were our guests. 

Together with our colleagues from the New Horizons IFF programming team we have narrowed this long list to 27 names – directors whose careers blossomed in the last decade and  in our understanding – changed the course of filmmaking in the last 10 years. 

We have not implemented any harsh criteria in creating our shortlist other than having screened at the AFF with at least one feature narrative. We included filmmakers of various ages, but most of them are in their 40s. The number of women (9 out of 27) is proportionate to the number of women filmmakers that screened at the AFF. 

Most of the 27 filmmakers on our shortlist debuted in this millennium. Some, however, made their first film in the last decade of the past century but their careers bloomed and blossomed after 2010. We eliminated these directors who continued working after having shaped the previous decades, like Andrew Bujalski and other mumblecore filmmakers. The last decade (2010-2020) needs to be of primary importance in a given person’s career. 

As our goal is to promote independent filmmakers, we have eliminated artists who – after making an independent film or two – went to work with and for major studios (Damien Chazelle would be a good example). We also decided to exclude filmmakers who were our Indie Star Award honorees, like David Gordon Green… They were clearly part of the canon of the previous, pre-AFF decade. 

We have to admit that our shortlist is in fact subjective and for sure you are going to notice the absence of certain names such as  Benh Zeitlin, Paul Dano, Greta Gerwig. For various complex reasons their films were not screened at the AFF, or so far, we consider them ‘one hit wonders’, so they will have to wait till after 2020 to pronounce their impact on indie filmmaking. 

Now it is your turn to pick your favorites from our shortlist – through this democratic process your votes will form the past decade's top ten American indies filmmaker list.

Please vote and create the AFF’s top ten of the decade! 

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