The 10 best directorial debuts of the 2020s so far

As the entire world still struggles to recover from the devastating pandemic earlier in the decade, the film industry has become a key vehicle in assuaging many of the feelings felt during the dreaded lockdown. As a result, numerous new and emerging filmmakers, screenwriters and directors have turned to film, producing some of the most memorable and influential films of the decade to date.

The 2020s have brought viewers new movies from prolific filmmakers like Jordan Peele, Greta Gerwig, David Cronenberg and Christopher Nolan. However, there have been many feature film debuts by many new faces that easily rank among the greatest films of all time.

The decade has brought prominence to many new filmmakers and performers, and has seen a plethora of directorial debuts since 2020. Though there were many options to choose from, here are ten of the best directorial debuts of the decade so far.

10 Emerald Fennell – Promising Young Woman (2020)

Carey Mulligan in Promising Young Woman 2020
Focus functions / universal images

London creator Emerald Fennel began her career in entertainment and publishing starring in TV series for Channel 4 and BBC One and wrote the screenplay for a romantic comedy entitled chukkaand author of her first novel, Shiverton Hallin 2013. Their combined creative endeavors eventually led them to more prominent roles, such as starring in The Danish Girl (2015) and showrun of the second season of kill Eve. Despite her immense success, Emerald Fennell only achieved what is probably the biggest breakthrough of her career with her directorial debut in 2020. Promising young woman.

With Carrey Mulligan as the lead actress, Cassie, Promising young woman follows Cassie as she balances revenge and forgiveness as her tragic past haunts her. The dramatic thriller was not only directed by Fennell, but also written and co-produced. The film won numerous awards, including one Oscar for Best Original Screenplayand became a critical success, scoring 90% on Rotten Tomatoes.

The star of the sound of metal
Amazon Studios

Another Oscar winner makes the list, but this time it’s two well-deserved awards for Best Sound and Best Film Editing at the 93rd Annual Academy Awards. The film in question is Darius Marderis the film’s directorial debut and co-writer sound of metal, starring Riz Ahmed. The film follows Ruben Stone (Ahmed), a metal drummer who gradually loses his hearing as he struggles to navigate life in a sober home as a struggling heroin addict and his ongoing passion for his love of music.

sound of metal Thanks to Marder’s effective direction, compelling sound design and editing, and moving portrayal of the deaf community on screen, the film quickly became one of the most talked about films of the year. With a 97% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and a score of 82 on Metacritic, sound of metal He has received numerous awards, including nominations and wins at the Critics’ Choice Movie Awards and the Independent Spirit Awards.

8th Panah Panahi – Hit the Road (2021)

Rayan Sarlak, child in
Cinema Lorber

get going is an Iranian street comedy film directed by Panah Panahi making his feature film debut. The fun-loving, comedic road trip is about a family of four who head towards the Turkish border to successfully smuggle their eldest son Farid (Amin Simiar) into the country.

Winner of top awards at Singapore International Film Festival and BFI London Film Festival, get going takes an entertaining look at the dysfunctional dynamics of a tight-knit family. Featuring moving performances from the cast, including one from Rayan Sarlak, considered one of the best of 2022, the project is an exciting feature film debut from writer-director Panah Panahi.

7 Emma Seligman – Shiva Baby (2021)

Rachel Sennott in Shiva Baby (2020)
Dimbo images

2023 could be another great year for the Canadian screenwriter-director Emma Seligman as her second comedy feature film, bottoms, hits theaters this weekend. While her second film has the makings of a surprising success, it was her first directorial debut that put her on the map.

Shiva baby, released in 2021, is Seligman’s first feature film as director. The film follows Danielle (Rachel Sennott), a young adult Jewish bisexual woman, during her time in a Shiva with her friends and family. Throughout the event, Danielle reunites with her old friends, including her former sugar daddy (Danny Deferrari) and ex-girlfriend (Molly Gordon), while finding her own place in the world.

Praised by critics and awards ceremonies, Shiva baby was also loved by the fans and became the most watched movie on Mubi after its release on the digital platform in August.

6 Questlove – Summer of Soul (2021)

A collage of the black artists in Summer of Soul
Searchlight images

summer of the soul (…Or when the revolution couldn’t be televised) is a 2021 directorial debut documentary film by Questlovethe drummer and frontman of the hip hop band The roots. The independent documentary revolves around the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, also known as Black Woodstock.

Summer of Soul explores the unique discrepancies between the festival’s historical narrative and its relevance in the present day. While the event has featured prominent artists such as The 5th Dimension, Stevie Wonder and Nina Simone, the festival is not as prominent in history as festivals such as Woodstock. Through Questlove’s lens, viewers can begin to decipher why, while also immersing themselves in an in-depth retelling of one of the biggest nights in festival history.

5 Charlotte Wells – After Sun (2022)

Aftersun Paul Mescal

The 2020s was a decade of influential independent features and Charlotte Wells‘ 2022 coming-of-age film After sun is a prime example.

Dealing with the nuances of fatherhood and effortlessly capturing the summer vibes, the film follows Sophie (Frankie Corio) and her father (Paul Mescal) on their final interaction together while on vacation in Turkey. Confusing yet intriguing scenes are scattered throughout as an elderly Sophie (Celia Rowlson-Hall) interacts with her father’s ghost and reconciles with the only footage of their last trip together.

After sun is an emotionally moving film that subtly and effectively addresses the complexities of a father-daughter relationship. The film is widely considered one of the best films of 2022 and has received numerous awards as well as commercial and critical success.

4 Nikyatu Jusu – Nanny (2022)

Nanny 2022
Amazon Studios

American writer and director Nikyatu Jusu has had a steady career as a short film producer since 2007, but the Atlanta native’s first feature film wasn’t released until 2022. nanny, brought to life.

In the psychological horror film, Anna Diop plays Aisha, an undocumented Senegalese immigrant who is hired as a nanny for the daughter of a wealthy white couple. As the film progresses, Aisha must confront a dark truth that threatens her personal goal of finding success in the United States.

Blossoming with a compelling story from Jusu’s directorial debut, Nanny has become an underrated jewel in the thriving and overcrowded horror realm of 2022. Despite its smaller cultural footprint, the film achieved massive critical success, earning a 90 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes and the Award received Grand Jury Prize in the US Drama Competition during the 2022 Sundance Film Festival. The historic win was made nanny the first horror film to win the award and Jusu only the second black winner.


Why Nanny was the best horror movie of 2022

3 Colm Bairéad – The Quiet Girl (2022)

Catherine Clinch in The Quiet Girl.
Break out images

The quiet girl Is Colm Baireadis the directorial debut of 2022, which premiered in 2022. Adapted from the 2010 short story Foster, the film features mostly Irish dialogue as it centers on a nine-year-old girl who spends time with her loving extended family. Cáit (Catherine Clinch), withdrawn into her upbringing as a child, begins to change her during the summer she spends in Ring, County Waterford.

After its premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival in 2022 The quiet girl won a Crystal Bear, a special award, and also received a Special Mention from the Children’s Jury for his moving depiction of a coming-of-age story.

2 Adele Lim – Joy Ride (2023)

Joy Ride

Joy Ride (2023) is a comedy film directed by the Malaysian filmmaker Adele Limwho first rose to fame with her self-penned hit comedy Crazy rich Asians. The film marks Lim’s directorial debut after years of writing and producing in film and television, and has quickly become a commercially successful, R-rated film.

The film stars Ashley Park as Audrey Sullivan, a Chinese adoptee who embarks on a journey to meet her birth mother with her best friend (Sherry Cola), her former college roommate (Stephanie Hsu), and her best friend’s cousin (Sabrina Wu). embarks in China. . The film features outstanding performances from its lovable cast and became a critical success with good ratings on Metacritic and Rotten Tomatoes.

Joy Ride is one of the many R-rated comedies to have garnered critical acclaim in 2023, but it’s the unique appeal and varied story of Lim’s directorial debut that sets it apart from the rest.


10 Movies Like Joy Ride

1 Celine Song – Past Lives (2023)

Teo Yoo and Greta Lee star in A24's

Film distribution and production company A24 is on a steady climb successful year 2022and 2023 continues to move in its favor.

One of A24’s newest films, the moving love dramapast liveswas written by a South Korean-Canadian playwright Celine song. The film follows the story and reunion of Nora (Greta Lee) and Hae Sung (Teo Yoo), two childhood friends who are separated after Nora relocates from South Korea to North America. Although the two maintained communication for some time during their separation, the eventual loss of communication leads to their eventual adult reunion in New York City.

past lives is an incredibly moving film that captures the fleeting loss of a real connection. Through intense close-ups and long-term exposures, Song’s direction underscores the complicated feelings that unfold between single Hae Sung and married Nora. The film, which premiered at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival, also received critical acclaim for its direction, screenplay and performances. General acknowledgment for past lives made the film one of the most talked about and important indie releases of the year.

Lindsay Lowe

Lindsay Lowe is a Worldtimetodays U.S. News Reporter based in Canada. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Lindsay Lowe joined Worldtimetodays in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

Related Articles

Back to top button