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The 16 Biggest and Best Film Breakthroughs of 2016

From "Moonlight" to "The Fits," Barry Jenkins to Taylor Sheridan, 2016 has launched some of indie film's biggest rising stars to a new level. Here are our favorites.

From “Moonlight” to “The Fits,” “Loving” to “Hell or High Water,” “The Witch” to “Arrival” and plenty in between, 2016 offered up a number of chances for some of the indie film world’s most impressive rising stars to break out in a major way.

And we’re not just talking on-screen talents — though any year that provides room for Mahershala Ali to dominate the awards space while also introducing us to newbies like Sasha Lane and Royalty Hightower is worthy of its own special accolades — but also writers, directors and producers, people who have spent years working to perfect their craft and bring it to the masses.

READ MORE: The Best of 2016: IndieWire’s Year in Review Bible

These aren’t just our newest stars, they’re the next generation of creators. Get to know them now.

Check out our gallery of biggest and best film breakthroughs of the year up top.

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