FILMMAKERS I ADMIRE

I love reading about filmmakers. My book shelf is 90% film books about directors and movies. Here is a constantly growing list of filmmakers whose work I've enjoyed over the years. 

Martin Scorsese

Martin Scorsese

My all-time favorite director. He is a true cinematic genius and a lover of all things film. Seeing Taxi Driver at 2am one night changed my life. Favorite Film: There are too many, but Goodfellas edges them all out as the best mob movie of all time.

Michael Haneke

Michael Haneke

Arguably the world's greatest director. I've seen nearly all of his films and most of them are downright masterpieces. The first film I saw was The Piano Teacher. Ever since, I've tracked down everything of his I could find. He creates stunning long takes and has a masterful control over his material. Favorite Film: The White Ribbon

Alan Parker

Alan Parker

A director whose films have always stirred controversy, he is one of the most diverse and talented filmmakers of all time. Favorite Film: Toss up between Angel Heart and Mississippi Burning

Billy Wilder

Billy Wilder

One of the greatest and most versatile writer-directors ever, he could literally direct in any genre. Be it screwball comedy(Some Like It Hot), film noir(Double Indemnity), Courtroom Drama(Witness for the Prosecution), War movie(Stalag 17), Romantic Comedy(Sabrina, The Apartment), or searing drama(Sunset Blvd., The Lost Weekend), his films crackle with energy. Favorite Film: Sunset Blvd.

Bryan Singer

Bryan Singer

Hey! Who let that kid on the set? Don't let the age fool you. Jumping from an amusing little indie(Public Access) to one of the greatest and most notorious crime thrillers(The Usual Suspects) of all time, he moved on to well-received blockbusters like the first two X-Men and a new Superman film as well as producing House for television. Favorite Film: The Usual Suspects

Christopher Nolan

Christopher Nolan

A God to Batman fans and the heir apparent to Spielberg, he has taken an independent vision to the masses and become a household name. Favorite Film: The Dark Knight

Clint Eastwood

Clint Eastwood

What he really wants to do is direct. He was and still is one of the most famous and iconic actors ever, but he's certainly proven to all skeptics that his true talent lies in his direction of some of the best films of the last 30 years. Favorite Film: Unforgiven

Curtis Hanson

Curtis Hanson

Hanson is a great example of a filmmaker who paid his dues by first being a writer(his credits include the amazing White Dog), then the director of a teen sex comedy, until he moved into the realm of effective 80's thrillers like The Bedroom Window and Bad Influence(which is still extremely amusing). He became a bankable director with The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, but his breakthrough was L.A. Confidential. He continued his hot streak with Wonder Boys and 8 Mile. Fav Film: LA Confidential

Don Siegel

Don Siegel

His talent for wrenching every ounce of suspense out of a scene is excellent. Never gets the proper respect he seriously deserves. Favorite Film: Charley Verrick, but of course Dirty Harry and The Beguiled are great.

Francois Ozon

Francois Ozon

Like one of his heroes, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, his output is fast and furious. He's even adapted a play Fassbinder wrote into a nifty little chamber drama. Swimming Pool was his breakthrough, Criminal Lovers is wonderfully insane, but Under The Sand is his masterpiece. It is, without a doubt, Charlotte Rampling's finest and most complex performance and the best depiction of self-denial I've ever seen.

Fred Zinnemann

Fred Zinnemann

A classic filmmaker who made films before and after the studio crash. He hit his stride in the 50's with The Men, Oklahoma!, Member of the Wedding, and From Here To Eternity. If he had made no other films besides High Noon, his legend would still be secure. But his later films show a director maturing and growing sharper even in different times. Favorite Film: A Man for All Seasons. A masterpiece of epic cinema. A riveting Robert Bolt screenplay coupled with amazing acting, it's a knockout.

Fritz Lang

Fritz Lang

Hitler's favorite filmmaker. Yeesh, he didn't like that title. After Goebbels offered him the Head of the German Film Institute job, he was on a train bound for Paris. Before that, he'd made the unbelievable Metropolis, followed by his first English-language film, M, which remains one of the most compelling and fascinating examinations of a murderer in cinema. Although I don't think his work in Hollywood could touch his European films, they're still quite excellent, in particular Scarlet Street

John Huston

John Huston

A real man's man. He loved hunting, booze, broads, and was a true adventurer. Oh yeah, and he also occasionally made movies. He is a part of the legendary Huston dynasty and has the distinction of guiding both his father and his daughter to Oscars. His acting skills weren't too shabby either. Wonderfully versatile and a genuinely good guy(read the novel Picture, its awesome), he was literally making movies until he died. Fav Film: Treasure of the Sierra Madre

Joseph Mankiewicz

Joseph Mankiewicz

Incredibly ahead of his time, he won 4 Oscars for writing and directing in only 2 years. With an objective and meticulous touch, he believed in story above the technical aspects of filmmaking. Although the debacle that was Cleopatra nearly destroyed him, he was able to finish his career with the dynamite Sleuth, proving that he was still capable of churning out riveting entertainment that favored story over flash. Favorite Film: All About Eve. One of the finest screenplays ever written.

Lewis Teague

Lewis Teague

A forgotten filmmaker from the 80's, he is still the director of one of my favorite films, Cat's Eye! Get the cat, you turd! He also directed Alligator and Cujo.

Louis Malle

Louis Malle

A director fascinated by people and the lives they live, he was intrigued by the imperfections that make up our society's inner-workings. He often courted controversy in his unblinking depiction of complex characters and dark stories. Favorite Film: Atlantic City. A great, career-defining performance by Burt Lancaster and the beautiful Susan Sarandon in a world of hustlers and cheats.

Mel Brooks

Mel Brooks

"Read it! Read it! ...you wild bitch..." One of the funniest and greatest comedians ever, he's excelled in every medium he's attempted. From creating TV's Get Smart, being one half of the brilliant 2000 Year Old Man Sketch, to winning an Oscar for screenwriting, and conquering Broadway, is there anything this man can't do? Favorite Film: Its incredibly difficult. His most genius creation is The Producers, hands down. But I just adore so many of his films, mainly Blazing Saddles, Young Franken

Michael Mann

Michael Mann

Who would've thought a key member of the Miami Vice team would go on to become one of t great American directors? He tackled Red Dragon(Manhunter), teamed De Niro and Pacino for the first time onscreen, showed Will Smith could pull off a dramatic role, and even made Tom Cruise a lil' scary! He has magnificent instincts. Favorite Film: I can't say he's ever truly made a bad film at all(The Keep has its supporters), so I'll go with Heat, but Collateral and The Insider are both excellent.

Pier Paolo Pasolini

Pier Paolo Pasolini

A non-believer who still ended up making one of the truest depictions of Christ and also made one of the most sick and demented films of all time. Favorite Film: Salo

Paul Schrader

Paul Schrader

A strict Calvinist who thought he was going to Hell after seeing his first film, he has remained staunchly independent as he's written and directed some of the darkest films of all time. Turn it off! TURN IT OOOOOOFFFF!! Favorite Film: Autofocus, but Affliction, Hardcore, and American Gigolo are all great. And he wrote Taxi Driver. Taxi Driver.

Pedro Almodovar

Pedro Almodovar

The best director of women in the world. That's not to say he can't handle men as well. In fact, he enjoys handling men quite a lot. Favorite Film: All About My Mother

Peter Weir

Peter Weir

One of the most skilled and unassuming directors around. Began his long and brilliant career making lovely, lyrical films in his native Australia, then slowly made his way to Hollywood where he created smart and entertaining films. Favorite Film: Witness. This may be Harrison Ford's best non-Indy role. This is not to say that I don't love his other films, including The Truman Show, The Year of Living Dangerously, Gallipoli, Dead Poets Society, and the enigmatic Picnic at Hanging Rock.

Sergio Leone

Sergio Leone

The master of the spaghetti western. And although it was stolen away from him, he went to his grave having made one last masterpiece. Favorite Film: Once Upon A Time In The West

Sam Mendes

Sam Mendes

He's no one-trick pony. After one of the most impressive debuts in film history, he's proven he'll be around for quite a while. Favorite Film: American Beauty, but Jarhead and Skyfall are also amazing.

Sidney Lumet

Sidney Lumet

He made one of the most auspicious feature film debuts of all time, Twelve Angry Men, and he hasn't stopped since. His book on filmmaking is incredible. Favorite Film: The Verdict, although there are many others.

Richard Linklater

Richard Linklater

A self-taught and very unique filmmaker who has proven extraordinarily versatile in his direction of both raucous comedies and off-beat genre films. He was one of the key players of the early 90's independent movement and solidified his status as the "young people's favorite" with Dazed and Confused, one of the finest examples of a great movie about nothing. Fav Film: Although the films he's written and directed have shown him to be both insightful and daring, I find School of Rock great.

Stephen Herek

Stephen Herek

For a time, his track record was spotless. Beginning with Critters, Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure(which ironically stayed on the shelf for 2 years), Don't Tell Mom The Babysitter's Dead, The Mighty Ducks, Three Musketeers, 101 Dalmations, and his passion project, the wonderful Mr. Holland's Opus. Unfortunately, his films inexplicably dropped in quality, but hopefully he'll bounce back. Favorite Film: Mr. Holland's Opus remains the most most moving.

Rob Reiner

Rob Reiner

My God. how many great films is he responsible for? Its almost ridiculous! I can't even decide which is my favorite. Gotta just list the ones I love the most: This Is Spinal Tap, The Princess Bride, Misery, and especially Stand By Me.

Robert Zemeckis

Robert Zemeckis

A big-time Hollywood hotshot who has took to making strange-looking digital kids films like A Christmas Carol and The Polar Express. Although I thought Beowulf was pretty badass, I prefer his earlier with, like, you know...real people. He's made great, popular entertainment. Favorite Film: Romancing The Stone, although the Back To The Future trilogy is legendary. BTTF 2 is one of my favorite sequels of all time and he had some balls to make a film as dark as it was.

Stephen Hopkins

Stephen Hopkins

Man, he's frustrating. He directs one of my favorite movies, Life and Death of Peter Sellers, yet he just keeps trying to direct horror films like The Reaping and Nightmare 5. At least he had a big hand in the first season of 24. Favorite Film: Duh!

Terry Gilliam

Terry Gilliam

The very definition of a visionary filmmaker, Gilliam doesn't just direct films. He creates entire worlds! A member of one of Monty Python, Gilliam co-directed the magnificent Holy Grail before following his own strange, twisted path. Favorite Film: Fear and Loathing In Las Vegas. He's made other excellent films(Brazil, Time Bandits, 12 Monkeys, The Fisher King) but I still find Fear and Loathing the most fun and viscerally exciting.

Roger Corman

Roger Corman

Responsible for more brilliant filmmakers and actors than all the film schools in the world combined! Favorite Film: Don't make me choose! Although he didn't direct them all, he's made about 3 billion films

Terry Zwigoff

Terry Zwigoff

Director of one of the most acclaimed documentaries of all time(not to mention one of the creepiest), he's gone on to make enjoyable art house flicks, but ironically, I find his studio pic, Bad Santa, to be my favorite. Favorite Film: Elf Fucker!

Thomas McCarthy

Thomas McCarthy

A great character actor, he showed unexpected depth and sensitivity in his writing/directing debut with The Station Agent, giving Peter Dinklage a rare leading role. He scored again with The Visitor, giving Richard Jenkins some much deserved recognition and an Oscar nomination. Win Win continued his winning streak. Favorite Film: The Station Agent

Trey Parker

Trey Parker

Matt Stone is the man, but I've always felt like Trey is the true guiding force behind South Park, seeing that he often directs every episode as well as writing the script and the awesome songs. He is a true genius who doesn't get the credit he deserves nearly enough. Favorite Film: Toss up between the South Park movie and Cannibal! The Musical because it has the greatest audio commentary ever recorded.

William Friedkin

William Friedkin

Anyone who says perfectionism is a bad thing has obviously never seen The Exorcist. Friedkin has consistently proven he has a talent for hard-hitting dramas and devastating horror. The French Connection is spectacular and To Live and Die In L.A., though a little heavy on the nut-kicking, is still very good. Favorite Film: Sorcerer

Wolfgang Petersen

Wolfgang Petersen

A director who went Hollywood and succeeded brilliantly. Who didn't cry when Atreyu lost Artax in the swamp of sadness? I did. A Lot. Favorite Film: Das Boot

Zhang Yimou

Zhang Yimou

the maker of beautiful films who refuses to let himself be pigeon holed into just making martial arts films. Favorite Film: Hero

Spike Jonze

Spike Jonze

An immensely clever filmmaker who continually creates fascinating worlds. His work as a music video director is legendary. Fav Film: Being John Malkovich

Wes Craven

Wes Craven

One of the masters of horror whose name comes above the title just to assure audiences that this is the real deal and you're about to get scared out of your minds! Favorite Film: The Hills Have Eyes

Werner Herzog

Werner Herzog

A cinematic badass. The most awesome, coolest, craziest bastard who's ever picked up a camera. The stories are incredible, the work with Klaus Kinski legendary, and the man is still going strong. He can even take a bullet without even stopping an interview. Favorite Film: Aguirre, The Wrath of God.

Lars Von Trier

Lars Von Trier

A powerhouse director who plays by no one's rules but his own. He's such an autocrat he made up his own rules, literally! Dogma. I remember seeing Dogville in a sold out theatre at a small town art house in the midwest. Unbelievably, no one left, and I realized I had to see everything this crazy Dane has ever and will ever produce. Favorite Film: Dancer in the Dark

Vincent Gallo

Vincent Gallo

He may act like a dick sometimes, but there's no denying his vision and just try to not feel elated at the end of Buffalo '66. Favorite Film: See Above. Duh! You think I'd say The Brown Bunny? Please.

Tood Solondz

Tood Solondz

The director of my favorite film of all time. Happiness. He is my idol.

The Gang

The Gang

Spielberg, Scorsese, DePalma, Lucas, Coppola

Takashi Miike

Takashi Miike

A filmmaking machine. By the time I finish this brief description, he's likely to have directed about 3 more films. His output is unbelievable, and yet the quality of his work rarely suffers. Favorite Film: Ichi The Killer, although Audition is a brilliant piece of work perfectly directed. And 13 Assassins is incredible.

Jan Svankmejer

Jan Svankmejer

Spectacular filmmaker who melds stop motion animation with surrealistic nightmares to create truly original and terrifying movies. Favorite Film: Little Otik

Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg

The most successful filmmaker of all time. Favorite Film: Empire of the Sun

Steve James

Steve James

Maybe one of the greatest documentary filmmakers of the last 30 years. Hoop Dreams is a masterpiece.

Sam Raimi

Sam Raimi

Before he hit directing mega-stardom with his Spider-Man series, he was the cult director of one of the most beloved horror-comedy series in existence: The Evil Dead Trilogy. Along with frequent collaborators Scott Spiegel and alter-ego/Coolest Actor Ever Bruce Campbell, he fashioned completely original and absolutely bonkers horror flicks that played just as well for laughs while still delivering the gory goods. Favorite Film: Evil Dead II

Samuel Fuller

Samuel Fuller

A granddaddy of independent cinema who was able to make dark and beautiful films about subjects that weren't even believed to be real in the 50's and 60's, let alone filmed. Favorite Film: White Dog. Seems like an odd choice, but although I adore The Naked Kiss, Pick Up On South Street, Shock Corridor, and The Big Red One, I can't help but be entertained by such a simple, great story.

Roman Polanski

Roman Polanski

His life has been frought with tragedy and scandal, but he's still a damn talented director. Favorite Film: Chinatown

Martin Scorsese and Robert DeNiro

Martin Scorsese and Robert DeNiro

There may be other worthy cinematic duos, but for me, their films remain the greatest director/actor collaborations of all time.

Robert Altman

Robert Altman

The phoenix that rose from the ashes. A maverick who never fit at the studios and was summarily cast out of Hollywood and was adrift for over a decade before blasting back onto the scene stronger than ever. Favorite Film: 3 Women. But if you get a chance, check out his classic 70's films during his golden age. Also, if you can, try and get your hands on Streamers. Not available on DVD, but occasionally shows up on TV. Awesome.

Ridley Scott

Ridley Scott

An epic filmmaker. He'd probably have been happy working in the 50's and 60's making gigantic films. Luckily, he's here now and creates meticulous, highly entertaining films. Favorite Film: Alien.

Paul Thomas Anderson

Paul Thomas Anderson

A wunderkind whose privacy could be off-putting if he didn't turn out such amazingly accomplished pieces of work after taking years to develop them. Favorite Film: Magnolia But I did see There Will Be Blood 3 times in the theatre.

Peter Greenaway

Peter Greenaway

With collaborators like Sacha Vierny and Michael Nyman, its hard to screw things up, and Greenaway has proven he's a master filmmaker who makes films like no other. His use of dolly shots have inspired me to no end. Favorite Film: The Cook, The Thief, His Wife, and Her Lover

Peter Jackson

Peter Jackson

Who would've thought that the director of low budget gorefests would become a multiple Oscar winning director who may as well be the king of New Zealand? Thank God for Hobbits! Favorite Film: Meet The Feebles

Peter Bogdanovich

Peter Bogdanovich

I would not trade places with this man for the world. A director with a golden touch who delivered a one, two, three punch of hit films, then crashed and burned, declared bankruptcy, embarked on a legendary affair, had to live through the brutal murder of his girlfriend, and then work his way back up through the dreks of tv movies. You might remember him as Lorraine Bracco's therapist on The Sopranos. Favorite Film: Targets

Sam Peckinpah

Sam Peckinpah

A director who fought his personal demons just as much as he fought the studios for creative control. His use of slow motion and multiple cameras has never been equaled. Favorite Film: Straw Dogs

Paul Verhoeven

Paul Verhoeven

Anyone who has the humility to show up and accept his worst director Razzie for Showgirls is cool with me. That's not to say his other films aren't great. Au contraire! His films are fast, furious, devilishly satirical and great fun! Favorite Film: Total Recall and RoboCop. I like Starship Troopers as well. It's grown better with age.

Paul Mazursky

Paul Mazursky

Began as an actor, even appearing in Kubrick's first film, then tried his hand at screenwriting until finally landing as a gifted and unique writer/director with a definite focus on getting great acting performances. He still pops up as an actor. The cameos in his own movies are fabulous, but you may recognize him as a poker buddy on The Sopranos. Favorite Film: An Unmarried Woman, but Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice contains some amazingly raw, powerful moments and Harry & Tonto is lovely.

Otto Preminger

Otto Preminger

Known as "the man you love to hate" not only for his numerous tv and movie appearances, but for his extremely harsh treatment of actors. But, love him or hate him, his films were often far ahead of their time and he was not afraid to say and do things that had never been done on film before. He was also a master of the long take, often allowing for incredible single takes that would showcase the power of his actors. Favorite Film: Anatomy of a Murder.

Orson Welles

Orson Welles

The original bad boy. A tragic actor/director who merely wanted to tell stories but was sidelined by bad luck and vindictive enemies. He still managed to produce and occasionally finish some great works. Favorite Films: The Trial and Touch of Evil

Oliver Hirschbiegel

Oliver Hirschbiegel

Damnit! He made me feel bad for Nazi's! Favorite Film: Das Experiment and Downfall. Downfall is more powerful, but Experiment is badass.

Nick Broomfield

Nick Broomfield

The craziest documentarian I know. He's a fearless searcher of the truth. Favorite Film: Biggie and Tupac

Nicholas Ray

Nicholas Ray

A real life rebel who took every opportunity to make daring, thought provoking works in an era of repression and seemingly nascent domesticity. Favorite Film: Bigger Than Life

Neil Jordan

Neil Jordan

A dynamite director who has been able to make great films out of some of the strangest material ever written. Favorite Film: The Butcher Boy

Hayao Miyazaki

Hayao Miyazaki

The Japanese Disney. His films are beautiful, original, and powerful. Favorite Film: Spirited Away, but I also adore Nausicaa.

Milos Forman

Milos Forman

Spectacular director whose boundless energy has resulted in brilliant examinations of extraordinary people. My favorite aspect of most of his films is his ability to recreate eras and time periods with such precision. Favorite Film: Amadeus

Mario Bava

Mario Bava

The Maestro of the Macabre! He found the beauty in horror. Favorite Film: Black Sunday

Lloyd Kaufman

Lloyd Kaufman

The guiding light and force behind Troma and the reason I can enjoy Cannibal! The Musical in comfort of my home. Favorite Film: The Toxic Avenger, although his work as a producer and cultivator of films remains more distinguished.

Akira Kurosawa

Akira Kurosawa

Without Kurosawa, many of the greatest films would never have been made. He's influenced a generation and even after nearly losing all his sight, he was still churning out film after film. Seeing Ran on the big screen was my first experience watching a film of his, and I've never looked back. Favorite Film: Seven Samurai

Stanley Kubrick

Stanley Kubrick

The reason I became a filmmaker. I saw "Stanley Kubrick: A Life In Pictures" and knew I had to do this. He. Is. The. Man. Favorite Film: A Clockwork Orange

Kathryn Bigelow

Kathryn Bigelow

A daring director who has never let the male-dominated field of directing stop her from making great films. Favorite Film: The Hurt Locker. I hate to pick the most obvious, but it is awesome. Near Dark and Blue Steel are pretty cool too.

Ken Russell

Ken Russell

The Enfant Terrible of cinema. He wanted to piss people off. And he did. Favorite Film: The Devils

Keith Gordon

Keith Gordon

A former actor who turned his back on a successful career to make personal indy flicks that may not make money, but they certainly remain elegant works of art. Favorite Films: Toss up between A Midnight Clear and The Chocolate War

Joseph H. Lewis

Joseph H. Lewis

Master of making a lot from a little, this Poverty Row filmmaker never hit the big time, but his direction of films like Gun Crazy show he was something special. Favorite Film: Terror in a Texas Town

Jonathan Demme

Jonathan Demme

An unassuming director who seems to just casually direct great films while focusing on odd, fascinating documentaries. Favorite Film: the Silence of the Lambs

John Cassavetes

John Cassavetes

The OG. A brilliant personal filmmaker who had a perfect balance of working big budget acting gigs to finance his small independent projects. Favorite Films: A Woman Under The Influence

John Waters

John Waters

Ha Ha! I have his autograph, have read all of his books, seen all of his films that are actually available to be seen, and have subjected my friends to the horrific delights of his sick, twisted, and deliciously hilarious oeuvre. Favorite Film: I adore Pink Flamingos, but Serial Mom has always been a personal favorite. WEAR! YOUR! SEATBELT!

John Carpenter

John Carpenter

The man that launched a thousand slashers. A visionary filmmaker who created the slasher film upon which all other slasher films are compared, Halloween. Favorite Film: The Thing

John Sayles

John Sayles

Started out writing schlock with brains, ended up following his own path to gorgeous, personal works of extreme power. Favorite Film: Toss up between Eight Men Out and Lone Star. Matewan is brilliant too.

Alejandro Jodorowsky

Alejandro Jodorowsky

A balls-out insane filmmaker. Coming from an experimental avant-garde theatre troupe and creating a sensation with El Topo, this dude refuses to play by anyone's rules and has produced a unique body of work unlike any other. My one regret is that he wasn't able to produce his version of Dune, which, according to some, were an inspiration for George Lucas in his creation of Tatooine. Favorite Film: El Topo

Jim Jarmusch

Jim Jarmusch

You remember him? He was that guy at Sundance on The Simpsons! OK, now you remember? Good! A God in Europe and a King of Independent Cinema, his films are funny, poignant, and downright excellent. Favorite Film: Dead Man. I realize this could be a controversial choice since its very much unlike his early work, which I also love, but I just love seeing my wife react to a shooting death by saying "Awesome."

Jean-Pierre Jeunet

Jean-Pierre Jeunet

I really should include Marc Caro in this mix, but it seems that Jeunet has moved beyond his partner to create imaginative and stunning worlds the likes of which we've never seen before. Favorite Film: Delicatessen

James Cameron

James Cameron

He can go to his grave knowing he made two of the greatest sequels of all time. His temper is legendary, his cost overruns enormous, but man, can this guy make a movie. Favorite Film: Aliens

Darren Aronofsky

Darren Aronofsky

With a kinetic style and a penchant for outsiders, his films remain as arresting as they are beautiful. Favorite Film: Requiem For A Dream

Edgar Wright

Edgar Wright

A fanboy living the dream. His films are hilarious and wonderful. Favorite Film: Hot Fuzz

Alfred Hitchcock

Alfred Hitchcock

The original master of suspense. Used the rigid nature of studio filmmaking to his advantage to scare the living crap out of his audiences and his mastery of the craft remains impressive even today. He is the reason pre-production remains as important as it is. Favorite Film: Shadow of a Doubt

Harmony Korine

Harmony Korine

Off-putting, uncompromising, and truly unpredictable, this is one wild ass filmmaker. Am stunned that he actually had a genuine box office hit with Spring Breakers. Never would've imagined people besides myself would go to see his film. Favorite Film: Julian Donkey Boy

Gus Van Sant

Gus Van Sant

Wonderfully talented director who has been able to make successful independent films while still dipping his toes in the shark-infested waters of mainstream cinema. Favorite Film: Milk

Joe Dante

Joe Dante

A hardcore film nerd, he started out under the auspices of the legendary Roger Corman and established a reputation for sophisticated, tongue-in-cheek horror flicks like Piranha and The Howling before breaking through with Gremlins. I love the constant references to his favorite films and his repeat use of great actors like Dick Miller and Kevin McCarthy. Favorite Film: Gremlins. I've enjoyed his other films and his segment in the Twilight Zone movie, but the original Gremlins(the sequel is q

George Stevens

George Stevens

He exposed more film and shot more angles than a hundred directors combined, but it was all worth it. Favorite Film: Shane

Gaspar Noe

Gaspar Noe

Hoo man! What a crazy dude! He can go to his grave knowing he truly made the most harrowing, realistic and horrible rape scene ever filmed. Dunno if he should really be that proud of this fact, but he's still a great filmmaker. Favorite Film: Irreversible

Jim Jarmusch and Samuel Fuller

Jim Jarmusch and Samuel Fuller

Two masters of the independent film.

Frank Darabont

Frank Darabont

Probably the best adapter of Stephen King stories, I've never understood how he just seemingly came out of nowhere to become such a force. Favorite Film: The Green Mile. Shawshank is great and the Mist was awesome, but I still tear up whenever I walk the mile.

Francois Truffaut

Francois Truffaut

I would've loved to have had a conversation with him. He was a true lover of cinema and a leader of the French New Wave. His guerrila style of filmmaking influenced an entire generation of directors. Favorite Film: Day For Night

Francis Ford Coppola

Francis Ford Coppola

The original godfather of the movie brats, he's the one who first broke through the studio system and dreamed of a place where filmmakers could follow their own vision and create original, honest pieces of work. Favorite Film: Captain Eo, nah! Just kidding. Apocalypse Now.

John Ford

John Ford

A totally excellent filmmaker who refused to explain his actions. He let his films do the talking. Favorite Film: The Searchers

David Lean

David Lean

Say what you will, you can't deny his talent as an epic filmmaker. After finally watching all of Lawrence of Arabia, I felt I'd witnessed a true master at work. Favorite Film: Bridge on the River Kwai

David Lynch

David Lynch

A Mad Genius who is one of the main reasons I'm a filmmaker. I'd be terrified to walk around in this guys head, but man, would it be worth it! Favorite Film: Toss up between Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive.

David Fincher

David Fincher

After a rocky start with Alien 3(which I don't even really blame him for its (artistic) failure, he's proven to be a near psychotic perfectionist in the vein of Friedkin, and you'd better get the hell outta his way. Watching behind the scenes footage of him, you can see his prep work and commitment to filmmaking is impeccable. Favorite Film: Fight Club, although Seven, The Game, The Social Network, and Panic Room are all great works.

Dario Argento

Dario Argento

One of the premier masters of horror, I had my first experience with his film Deep Red at Retrofantasma, a fantastic monthly event at the Carolina Theatre in Durham where they play two horror films back to back. Favorite Film: Suspiria. Got to meet Jessica Harper in person. Super nice lady.

David Cronenberg

David Cronenberg

The craziest canadian you will ever see! The master of body horror, he has that rare gift of being able to combine his sick and twisted obsessions into entertaining, thought provoking works that continue to be discussed and argued about to this day. And bravo to him for doing studio films his way lately. Favorite Film: The Brood.

Joel and Ethan Coen

Joel and Ethan Coen

Sometimes two really is better than one. It was a slow ascent for this dynamic duo as they cultivated a following that adored their bizarre dialogue, out of control visuals, and truly original tales of greed, corruption, suspicion, and murder...and wood chippers. It doesn't hurt that they have one of the greatest cinematographers in their employ. Favorite Film: O Brother Where Art Thou? I love many of the others and my wife's favorite film of all time is The Big Lebowski.

Larry Clark

Larry Clark

For me, he remains the most talented director of films depicting wild teens doing very, very bad things. Favorite Film: Another Day In Paradise. Contains, in my opinion, the greatest crane shot I've ever seen. I do adore Kids and Bully, however.

Charles Chaplin

Charles Chaplin

In his personal life, he was a baaaad boy, but as a filmmaker, he was meticulous, gifted, and one of the most popular actor/directors the world has ever seen. Favorite Film: The Great Dictator

Catherine Breillat

Catherine Breillat

It seems beautifully appropriate that she would play a role in Last Tango In Paris considering her reputation as one of the world's leading director's of intense sexual exploration films. Favorite Film: A Ma Soeur!

Tim Burton

Tim Burton

A dynamic studio filmmaker whose output has been consistently solid. His strange sensibilities have proven to be popular with audiences and he's shown that one can make personal films within the oppressive studio system. With his signature style, there's no doubt in anyone's mind when you're watching a Tim Burton film. Favorite Film: Pee Wee's Big Adventure. Ed Wood is also wonderful, but I grew up with Pee Wee.

Luis Bunuel

Luis Bunuel

The man responsible for one of the most infamous shots in cinematic history, the eye cutting scene in Un Chien Andalou, was a powerhouse surrealist filmmaker who continued making great films into his old age. Favorite Film: Belle De Jour. Catherine Deneuve never looked more beautiful.

Brian DePalma

Brian DePalma

One of the original movie brats, he's stayed true to his vision and remains a daring maverick who doesn't need Hollywood to create riveting pieces of work, although when he was in Hollywood, he made some great films as well. He's been accused of misogyny and violence towards women and although these allegations have some basis, he remains a personal favorite for his dynamic visual style and his willingness to simply give everything he's got in all of his films. Fav Film: Carrie and Untouchables

Ingmar Bergman

Ingmar Bergman

A truly challenging, insightful, and brutally honest filmmaker. He possessed a true gift for digging deep into the psychology and emotions of his characters to create truly realistic drama that has never been surpassed. The ensemble of actors that he assembled and who played both personal and professional roles in his life are legendary. Favorite Film: The Virgin Spring

Barry Levinson

Barry Levinson

Here! Here's your paper! Started out as a writer for Mel Brooks and went on to make sweet, personal films and then huge, star-studded Hollywood fare. Favorite Film: The Natural

Ralph Bakshi

Ralph Bakshi

I saw my first Ralph Bakshi film at 3am at an all-night movie marathon in Durham. I'd never seen anything like it. I was hooked. Favorite Film: American Pop

Woody Allen

Woody Allen

Oh boy. Have I seen some Woody films. My first was Sleeper, which I think was a perfect one to start on because of its sheer silliness. He's dealt with astonishing controversy but he's still pumping out a film a year for his adoring fans, leaving behind a rich legacy of comedies and dramas. Favorite Film: Bullets Over Broadway, but I refuse to leave out some great ones like Hannah and her Sisters, Love and Death, Husbands and Wives, Annie Hall, What's Up Tiger Lily? and Bananas.

Alex Cox

Alex Cox

A fascinating cinephile, he blasted onto the scene with the awesome Repo Man, one of the most quotable movies of all time(Somebody piss on the floor again?), then proved his chops with Sid and Nancy. He sorta blew it with Straight to Hell, but Walker, Highway Patrolman, and Death and the Compass all have their moments. I got to see the premiere of his film Revenger's Tragedy and ask him a question in the q&a.

Jean-Luc Godard

Jean-Luc Godard

Highly Influential filmmaker who was a lover of film and a master of his craft. Definitely uncompromising. Favorite Film: Contempt

Stephen Frears

Stephen Frears

A talented director who has slowly created an impressive body of work. One of the most diverse filmmakers of all time. Fav Film: The Hit

Quentin Tarantino

Quentin Tarantino

An icon to film geeks and video store clerks alike who has comfortably transitioned from a cultural force in the mid-90's to a genuinely insightful, daring, and exciting filmmaker. I'm very proud of him for stepping away from his acting ambitions and focusing on his writing and directing, especially after his disastrous Broadway debut. Favorite Film: Inglorious Basterds, but none of his films have been anything less than excellent, with the possible exception of his segment in Four Rooms.

Todd Haynes

Todd Haynes

A difficult director to peg down, and that's just fine. His films are challenging for all the right reasons. Favorite Film: Far From Heaven

Spike Lee

Spike Lee

A polarizing filmmaker who is as famous for his films as his temper, I often think he gets overlooked as a major visual stylist because people focus on his depictions of race relations, which is fine, but there's more to his films that that. Got to see him filming in Times Square, which was pretty damn cool. Favorite Film: Do The Right Thing