By Nigel M Smith | Indiewire December 26, 2012 at 10:16AM
Breakout Film: "My First Crush"
Why We Profiled Her: London-raised, New York-based animator Julia Pott's brilliant animations have received over a million hits on YouTube, thanks largely in part to her web breakout "My First Crush." The film sets Pott's signature hand-drawn animals to recordings of people discussing their awkward histories with their first crushes.
What She's Up To: She hit the festival circuit this year with her heartbreaking coming-of-age friendship story "Belly."
Breakout Film: "30 Beats"
Why We Profiled Her: To theater buffs, Condola Rashad (daughter to actress Phylicia Rashad) is a known name, having snagged a recent Tony nomination for her Broadway debut in drama "Stick Fly." But for cinemagoers, Rashad is a fresh face whose big screen debut in "30 Beats," a loose and heated adaptation of Arthur Schnitzler's "La Ronde," finally opened this summer after a long journey to the big screen. She also appeared in Lifetime's remake of the 1989 weeper "Steel Magnolias," alongside an all-African-American cast that includes Queen Latifah, Alfre Woodard, Phylicia Rashad, Jill Scott and "Pariah" breakout Adepero Oduye. Rashad played bride-to-be Shelby, the role made famous by Julia Roberts in the original.
Profession: Writer, director
Breakout Film: "Young & Wild"
Why We Profiled Her: Chilean writer-director Marialy Rivas raised eyebrows at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival with her sexually provocative debut, “Young & Wild.” Rivas, an award-winning short filmmaker (her short "Blokes" screened at the festival last year), walked away from this year's edition with the World Cinema Screenwriting Award, which she shared with co-writers Camila Gutiérrez, Pedro Peirano and Sebastián Sepúlveda.
What She's Up To: Rivas told Indiewire that she has just finished another script with Gutiérrez titled “Princess.” She describes it as a religious drama based on a true story that's centered on an 11-year-old girl and set in the south of Chile. "It’s kind of like ‘Rosemary’s Baby,’ in a way,” she said.
Profession: Actor, singer
Breakout Film: "Filly Brown"
Why We Profiled Her: In the Sundance U.S. Dramatic Competition contender "Filly Brown," from directors Youssef Delara and Michael D. Olmos, Gina Rodriguez gave a commanding turn as the titular young hip-hop artist. Previously, the NYU Tisch School of the Arts graduate was best known for her brassy performance in the teen dance comedy "Go for It!" Indomina acquired "Filly" shortly following its Sundance run.
What She's Up To: Rodriguez, who recently signed a talent deal with ABC, is currently in talks to appear in Olmos' next project, an untitled boxing bio pic. "Michael had approached me after 'Filly Brown,' talking about an autobiography of this girl who was a boxer," Rodriguez said. "She grew up poor with a single dad and boxing was their connection. She just now became a professional. Her story’s just really beautiful. Little did Michael know, my father was a boxing referee. I started boxing at the age of three and it’s what brought him and I together. My dad’s my best friend."
Profession: Writer, director
Breakout Film: "FOUR"
Why We Profiled Him: Joshua Sanchez's debut feature film "FOUR," based on the play of the same name by the playwright Christopher Shinn, was one the big hits on the festival circuit this year, culminating in a Spirit Award nomination for its lead star Wendell Pierce ("The Wire"). In the drama, he stars as a middle-aged man, Joe, married to a woman, who goes on a date with a young man he met on the internet. Back at the Los Angeles Film Festival, the film's four stars jointly won the festival's acting award.
What He's Up To: He's starting work on his own feature-length screenplay, set in south Texas, inspired by his growing up near the border.