The film critics for The New York Times, A.O. Scott and Manohla Dargis, have unveiled a 20 Directors to Watch list and we're ecstatic to find three TFI alumni among them: Terence Nance, Dee Rees and Andrew Bujalski. (Rees and Bujalski also made original shorts for the piece.)
Here's what the two critics found out about each:
Dargis on Rees:
This is how much people love Dee Rees: The Philip K. Dick estate gave Ms. Rees the rights to his novel “Martian Time-Slip” basically free, and her adaptation of Toni Morrison’s novel “Home” has been blessed by the goddess herself. Mind you, Ms. Morrison’s notes on the first draft left Ms. Rees “devastated,” she said during a visit to Los Angeles in July. But then her girlfriend gave her a gentle reality check. It’s Toni Morrison! Toni Morrison wrote you! Ms. Rees snapped out of it.
Dargis on Bujalski:
Mr. Bujalski knows he’s chosen a difficult road, and he’s trying to not complain: “Every filmmaker I’ve ever admired from any era has struggled to get anything done.” The dream is to try to do what you love, but also to make a living, especially now that he’s married and has a child and a mortgage.
Scott on Nance:
When asked about future projects, Mr. Nance has no shortage of ambition: “I want to direct a computer game. I know it will be difficult, because I do not and have never played video games, but I have a great idea for one that I must make. I’m doing a musical, a surrealist political thriller and a documentary about skin bleaching that will be shot in every country in which people use products to lighten their skin…
Nance is currently a Tribeca All Access® grantee with his upcoming project The Lobbyists, which follows a conman and a former CIA agent who join forces to blackmail politicians into voting for progressive legislation. He found high acclaim for his debut film, An Oversimplification of Her Beauty. Rees was a 2007 TAA grantee with her documentary Elevation Salvation, which follows an 80-year-old grandmother as she returns to Liberia following its civil war. Her debut feature, Pariah, earned her the John Cassavetes Award at the 2012 Independent Spirit Awards. And Bujalski was a 2012 TFI Sloan Filmmaker Fund grantee with his latest film, Computer Chess. Currently in theaters, this lo-fi look at the dawn of computer technology has found rave reviews since it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival this year.
[Nance photo by Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times; Rees photo by Chad Batka/The New York Times; Bujalski photo by Jeff Vespa/WireImage]