Screenwriting Blog
Posted on by Victoria Lucia

Indie Filmmakers Making Their Mark in 2023

Independent filmmaking has often been able to showcase stories that might not fit into the conventional Hollywood mold and has traditionally been a rich environment for creativity and innovation.

As we look to the future of film, it's great to see a new generation of independent filmmakers making their impact on the business.

Today we're taking a look at five indie filmmakers making their mark in 2023!

Indie Filmmakers Making Their Mark

In 2023

Filmmaker Roger Ross Williams

Academy Award-winning documentarian Roger Ross Williams premiered his first narrative feature, “Cassandro,” at the Sundance Film Festival this year. “Cassandro” is a biopic based on real-life luchador Saúl Armendáriz, a gay amateur wrestler who rose to fame when he created the flamboyant "exotico" character, Cassandro. Ross Williams first explored Saúl Armendáriz's life in his 2016 documentary short, "The Man Without a Mask."

Roger Ross Williams has had quite a groundbreaking and successful career as a documentary filmmaker. His short documentary “Music by Prudence” won an Academy Award, making him the first black director to win an Oscar. His documentary “Life, Animated” won the Sundance Film Festival award for best directing, as well as three Emmy Awards. In 2019, he premiered his virtual reality documentary, “Traveling While Black,” at Sundance.

With Ross Williams' acclaimed and historical documentary film career, it'll be exciting to see what work he'll create in the future in the narrative space.

Keep an eye out for “Cassandro,” as it's expected to be released on Amazon's Prime Video sometime in the future.

Twitter: @RogerRossWill

IMDb: Roger Ross Williams

Filmmaker Raven Jackson

An award-winning filmmaker, poet, and photographer, Raven Jackson premiered her first narrative feature, All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt, at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival. All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt is an experimental drama film that spans decades in its exploration of a black woman's life in Mississippi.

Jackson's work is noted for examining the body's relationship to nature and landscapes of ill-defined experiences and emotions. Her work has been screened and honored at festivals worldwide. “All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt” was handpicked by Barry Jenkins for Indie Memphis' 2019 Black Filmmaker Residency in Screenwriting and one of five films chosen for the 2019 Ikusmira Berriak Residency in San Sebastián, Spain.

She was a participant in Film at Lincoln Center's 2019 Artist Academy during the 57th New York Film Festival.

Her short film, “Nettles,” which received the first-ever Flies Collective Film Grant, made its international debut at the 66th San Sebastián International Film Festival and went on to win the jury prize for Best Narrative Short Film at the 2018 Tacoma Film Festival.

Keep an eye out for “All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt” as it will hopefully be available on streaming soon!


IMDb: Raven Jackson (VI)

Filmmaker Corey Finley

Some might know screenwriter, playwright, and director Corey Finley from his dark comedy “Thoroughbreds,” which premiered at Sundance in 2017, or perhaps from his 2020 HBO crime drama about a fraudulent superintendent, starring Hugh Jackman, “Bad Education.”

This year he delves deeper into genre filmmaking with his sci-fi meets rom-com meets teen film, “Landscape With Invisible Hand.”

“Landscape With Invisible Hand” is based on the M.T. Anderson book of the same name. The film tells the story of two teenagers who commodify their romance for an alien species that has taken over the world and left many humans poor. The film stars Asante Blackk, Kylie Rogers, Tiffany Haddish, Josh Hamilton, and Michael Gandolfini and is expected to be released theatrically in August.

Finley's play, “The Feast,” premiered at the Flea Theater in March 2015 and was awarded the first Gurney Playwrights Fund.

IMDb: Cory Finley

Filmmaker Nida Manzoor

Nida Manzoor is a British television writer best known for her break-out Peacock/Channel 4 comedy "We Are Lady Parts," about a British punk band comprising Muslim women.

This year she premiered her feature film debut, “Polite Society” at Sundance to positive reviews.

“Polite Society” is an exciting genre mashup of Bollywood meets Kung-Fu movie, about a martial arts-obsessed teen who seeks to save her sister from her upcoming marriage. This action fantasy has been praised for its depiction of sisterhood and compared to films like “16 Candles” and “Everything Everywhere All at Once.”

Manzoor has also directed episodes of the hit show “Doctor Who” and is part of the Pillars Artist Fellowship Advisory Board.

Be sure to check out “Polite Society” in theaters; fingers crossed it'll come to streaming soon!

IMDb: Nida Manzoor(I)

Filmmaker Rachel Lambert

Following her 2016 feature, "In the Radiant City," this year Rachel Lambert premiered her latest film, "Sometimes I Think About Dying" at Sundance. A romantic dramedy, starring Daisy Ridley, the film follows an awkward office worker who fantasizes about her own death, but an unexpected relationship with a coworker forces her to reassess her life.

"Sometimes I Think About Dying" can best be described as a dreamy, poetic, and at times surreal film about the power of making connections. The film was recently picked up for distribution by Oscilloscope, and hopefully, it will be coming to theaters soon.

Also, look for Lambert who directs and stars in "I Can Feel You Walking," a dreamy, almost formless peek into the life of a woman with a broken arm who must accept care from her neighbor.

IMDb: Rachel Lambert (I)

Instagram: mlle_lambert

These five independent filmmakers are changing the face of the film industry with their creativity, passion, and authenticity. They are establishing the foundation for a new era of cinema by taking chances and presenting stories we've never seen before. I can't help but be excited about the future of independent film and the influence these filmmakers will have! Watch out for these pioneers and prepare to be inspired by their innovative works!

Ready to make your own film? Get started with SoCreate today.

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