Breakout Film: "Searching For Sugar Man"
Why We Profiled Him: Only one day into the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, first-time director Malik Bendjelloul experienced a high most filmmakers only dream of. His World Cinema Documentary Competition contender “Searching for Sugar Man” drew rave notices after its opening-night premiere, and the next day Sony Pictures Classics, making the first buy out of the festival, snatched it up.
What He's Up To: What isn't he up to? Bendjelloul said he has over four years' worth of ideas. Which one he’ll tackle next, he doesn’t know. “Maybe I’ll do another documentary, or maybe I’ll do a narrative feature,” he said. “If I do another documentary, the story needs to be as good as this one.”
Profession: Writer, director, actor
Breakout Film: "Sleepwalk With Me"
Why We Profiled Him: Mike Birbiglia came to Park City this year as a popular comic and emerged as an acclaimed filmmaker, writer and actor following the great reception his film debut, "Sleepwalk With Me," received at Sundance. The film won the Best of NEXT Audience Award (beating out Craig Zobel's button-pushing "Compliance") and found a home at IFC Films.
What He's Up To: Birbiglia isn't messing around with the formula that brought him praise and indie-film cred. He told us that he's in the process of adapting his latest solo play "My Girlfriend's Boyfriend" into a sophomore feature. The show, which explores Birbiglia's bumbling love life, ended its successful off-Broadway run March 18, 2011 and is currently touring the States after playing around the world.
Breakout Film: "While We Were Here"
Why We Profiled Him: British actor Jamie Blackley starred alongside Kate Bosworth in the black-and-white Tribeca Film Festival World Narrative Competition contender "While We Were Here." He told Indiewire over the phone from London that his trip to New York in support of the film marked his first visit to the Big Apple. It won't be his last.
What He's Up To: The rising 20-year-old talent, best known for his supporting turn in "London Boulevard" opposite Keira Knightley and Colin Farrell, is on his way to becoming a household name after bagging the lead role in Warner Bros.'s prequel to "300," "300: Battle of Artemesia." Blackley will play Calisto, the 16-year-old leader of a small band of soldiers.
Breakout Film: "Keep the Lights On"
Why We Profiled Them: In Ira Sach's acclaimed semi-autobiographical gay relationship drama "Keep the Lights On," Danish actor Thure Lindhardt and Zachary Booth give two of the year's most impassioned performances as a troubled couple who stay together for the better part of a decade despite their destructive bond.
What They're Up To: Lindhardt can next be seen in "Byzantium," Neil Jordan's first vampire movie since "Interview with a Vampire," opposite Gemma Arterton, Sam Riley and Saoirse Ronan, that premiered to good notices in Toronto. Booth recently wrapped shooting the family drama "Last Weekend" opposite Patricia Clarkson.
Breakout Film: "Beware of Mr. Baker"
Why We Profiled Him: Jay Bulger suffered a broken nose at the hand of the subject of his first feature-length documentary, "Beware of Mr. Baker," but the injury was clearly worth it. His arresting expose on Ginger Baker, the legendary (and legendarily volatile) English drummer, best known for his work with Cream and Blind Faith, won the grand jury documentary prize at this year's SXSW film festival.
What He's Up To: "I’m doing this movie called 'The Great Mojo Revival' with Jonathan Batiste," Bulger told Indiewire a month back. "It’s a narrative-fiction movie, starring the great pianist. He’s a character. He’s an old-school musician, pianist, virtuoso -- and I’m making a movie about what it’s like to be a young, handsome, jazz-pianist master in 2012 that harks back to the old school-type of jazz musician."