Thomas Bidegain (Director, "Les Cowboys")
What’s Next: This fall brings more Bidegain-penned screenplays, including "A Stormy Summer Night" from Fabrice Camoin and Joachim Lafosse’s "The White Knights." Should "Les Cowboys" spark with a new festival audience, however, Bidegain will likely be able to find a new directorial project soon.
Katherine Waterston (Actress, "Steve Jobs")
Why You May Know Her: Waterston has already broken out at NYFF, thanks to her eye-popping turn in last year’s premiere "Inherent Vice," and her recent work in Alex Ross Perry’s "Queen of Earth" has earned her further accolades from the indie scene, but the big-budget "Steve Jobs" poses a brand new challenge to the seemingly instant indie it girl (in truth, Waterston has been working steadily for nearly a decade).
What She’s Bringing to NYFF: In Danny Boyle’s "Steve Jobs," Waterston is tasked with bringing emotion and reality to the wildly creative (and sometimes just wild) Apple brain, played by Michael Fassbender. In the film, Waterston plays Chrisann Brennan, Jobs’ long-time girlfriend and the father of his first child. The two had an acrimonious breakup, and it appears that the passion behind it will pop up in full force in the course of the film. It’s the biggest stage for Waterston yet.
What’s Next: Waterston stars in the upcoming indies "Manhattan Romance" and "Fluidic," but the big project is the "Harry Potter" prequel, "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them," which will see her starring alongside Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne.
Jacob Bernstein (Director, "Everything is Copy")
Why You May Know Him: Bernstein is a first-time filmmaker, but Nora Ephron super-fans might recognize him as the filmmaker’s son, which is convenient, because…
What He’s Bringing to NYFF: Bernstein made a film about his dearly departed mother, alongside co-director Nick Hooker. Titled after an Ephron-ism, "Everything is Copy" promises to be a warts and all look at Ephron’s work in Hollywood and her life outside of it. That Bernstein would find his first feature in something so personal speaks to his own mother’s belief that everything makes for material, though some stuff is certainly better than others.
What’s Next: The film will soon premiere on HBO, a major platform for Bernstein’s debut.
Emory Cohen (Actor, "Brooklyn")
Why You May Know Him: Cohen’s first role was in Antonio Campos’ unnerving "Afterschool," and the feature has set the pace for his dramatic career. Most recognizable for his turn in "The Place Beyond the Pines," Cohen has also had roles in "The Gambler" and the well-regarded indie "Beneath the Harvest Sky." He’s a reliable performer, but he’s also one who is poised to break out.
What He’s Bringing to NYFF: Cohen’s big NYFF offering, John Crowley’s Sundance and TIFF favorite "Brooklyn," affords him the opportunity to try something new: an emotionally resonant role in a well-made and keenly observed period piece. Cohen stars opposite Saoirse Ronan as recent immigrant Eilis Lacey as the fiery and energetic Tony. The pair fall in love in the New York-set feature — lots of dancing, lots of dreamy clothes — but their romance is threatened by Eilis’ old life in Ireland. Will true love prevail? And will Cohen finally get the chance to show his chops as a romantic lead?
What’s Next: Cohen recently finished shooting on both Kieran Darcy-Smith’s Texas Ranger-focused "By Way of Helena," co-starring Woody Harrelson and Liam Hemsworth, and Christopher Smith’s "Detour," which features the talents of other fast-rising stars Tye Sheridan and Bel Powley. He’s currently filming Ric Roman Waugh’s action-heavy "Shot Caller," a crime-tinged film about gang violence in Los Angeles. How’s that for range?
Theophile Baquet and Ange Dargent (Actors, "Microbe & Gasoline")
Why You May Know Them: For his newest feature, the ever-whimsical Michel Gondry picked two newcomers to lead his quirky comedy about a pair of teenagers who go on the road in a makeshift vehicle of their own creation. It’s the first film for Dargent, and it’s only the second feature Baquet has ever appeared in.
What They’re Bringing to NYFF: Gondry took a bit of a break after 2013’s "Mood Indigo," but "Microbe & Gasoline" is said to be a return to form for the cheeky filmmaker. (It already opened in France.) The film centers on a pair of creative teens who set out on a road trip cross France in a strange vehicle of their own making. Sargent and Baquet of course play the teens, meaning that the newbies are leading a Michel Gondry picture for pretty much their first shot out of the gate. Not too shabby.
What’s Next: There’s nothing on the slate for either actor just yet, but a strong showing at NYFF could change that.
Athina Rachel Tsangari (Writer and director, "Chevalier")
Why You May Know Her: Plenty of indie film fans are already acquainted with multi-hyphenate Tsangari, thanks to her directorial outings "Attenberg" and "The Slow Business of Going" and her producer work on films like "Dogtooth" and "Before Midnight" (where she had a cameo), but NYFF is poised to be her biggest coming out ever. Picked as the festival’s Filmmaker in Residence, Tsangari will be all over this year’s event, and cinephiles will be able to catch her at an official talk and a special screening of her latest feature, which has already screened to acclaim at a handful of other festivals, including the well-regarded Locarno International Film Festival.
What She’s Bringing to NYFF: Tsangari’s "Chevalier," already a favorite at Locarno, is a razor-sharp send-up of male machismo that should help clue audiences into her unique point of view and biting humor.
What’s Next: To be determined.
Why You May Know Him: The Hungarian filmmaker has a handful of shorts under his belt, but he grabbed headlines (and attentions) with his first feature, "Son of Saul," which won big time at Cannes, pulling in the FIPRESCI Prize, the François Chalais Award and the Grand Jury Prize for his emotional and ambitious look at the Holocaust.
What He’s Bringing to NYFF: Nemes finishes up a sterling festival run with "Son of Saul," making its New York debut at NYFF. Set in Auschwitz, the gripping features follows Saul (Géza Röhrig) as he is tasked with the hellish job of delivering his fellow Jews to the gas chamber, a job that leads him on a journey that has been classified as a modern descent into Hell, a modern day "Inferno" that leaves its audience changed.
What’s Next: Sony Pictures Classics will release the film, timed for awards season, on December 18.
The 53rd New York Film Festival runs from September 25 until October 11.