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Top-10-Directors-Who-Made-it-Big-at-SundanceCelebrating its thirtieth year back in January, the success of Sundance is perhaps most impressively illustrated in its ability to cross the Atlantic for the third year running, bringing Sundance London to our shores once more next month.

This morning Sundance London announced there were screening a series of films from the Sundance Collection, details of which can be found here. Showing films which were discovered at the festival, and those films including the early work of Christopher Nolan and Quentin Tarantino among others, is testament to the importance of the festival – both for audiences and directors.

Every year it’s easy to mark out the filmmakers who have gone above and beyond their peers in bringing some of the finest work to the festival, but it’s not always quite so easy to see who among them will continue to tell greater and greater stories. This year, for example, Maya Forbes and Justin Simien have been eyed as directors to watch for their respective films, Infinitely Polar Bear and Dear White People.

Damien Chazelle’s sophomore feature, Whiplash, won both the Grand Jury and Audience Awards, and was quickly acquired by Sony for international distribution, and the early reviews very much suggest Chazelle is also one to watch in the years to come.

As the 3rd Sundance London Film Festival fast approaches, we turn the clocks back to take a look at the top 10 directors who made it big at Sundance.

Sundance London ticket packages are on sale at and you can follow them on Twitter @sundancefestUK

Derek Cianfrance

10. Derek Cianfrance – Blue Valentine (2010)

After more than a decade’s absence at the helm of narrative features, Derek Cianfrance finally returned to the director’s chair in 2010 to bring Blue Valentine to Sundance.

From the word go, it was almost universally beloved, going on to earn a slew of awards and nominations, culminating in a Best Actress nod for Michelle Williams’ performance opposite Ryan Gosling.

The writer-director went on to reunite with Ryan Gosling on last year’s The Place Beyond the Pines, which is easily one of my favourite films in recent years, and I was fortunate enough to be at its world debut out in Toronto. The reception it was received with there was spectacular, cementing Cianfrance’s status as one of the finest filmmakers of his generation.

Last year, we heard that he’d become attached to direct the adaptation of M.L. Steadman’s The Light Between Oceans, and I can’t wait to see his take for what promises to be a fantastic fourth feature.

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