10 (More!) Famous Filmmakers Everyone Should Know

One of the most important aspects of growing in a creative field is examining the work of others who have already found success in that field. For aspiring filmmakers, researching the lives and work of famous filmmakers is a valuable tool that will help both inform and inspire. We recently gathered a list of 10 of our favorite filmmakers that we feel everyone should learn more about. Today, we have gathered a 10 more inspiring filmmakers for you to research.

In the Digital Media program at FIDM/Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising, students learn technical skills such as 3-D modeling, sound design, editing, motion graphics, and more. These core skills provide the necessary foundation for their careers as digital media professionals. Digital Media students work on many real-world projects while in school ranging from television and film to FIDM’s annual DEBUT Runway Show.


David Fincher

Director David Fincher

NAME: David Fincher
BIRTH DATE: August 28, 1962 (Age: 51)
PLACE OF BIRTH: Denver, Colorado
FULL NAME: David Andrew Leo Fincher
AKA: David Fincher
MOST KNOWN FOR: “Fight Club” (1999), “Se7en” (1995), “The Social Network” (2010), “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (2008)
AWARDS: Nominated for two Academy Awards®. Another 37 various wins and 34 nominations
QUOTE:  “People will say, ‘There are a million ways to shoot a scene,’ but I don’t think so. I think there’re two, maybe. And the other one is wrong.”

Brief Bio Courtesy of Biography.com

Born in Colorado in 1962, David Fincher made his directorial debut with “Alien” in 1992. Thereafter, he continued directing music videos and commercials, winning a Grammy Award in 1994 for the Rolling Stones video “Love Is Strong.” Fincher found controversy with “Fight Club”, but the film went on to huge cult success. He found more success in 2010 with “The Social Network”, which won three Academy Awards® and was up for five others.


Jean-Luc Godard

Director Jean Luc Godard


NAME: Jean-Luc Godard
OCCUPATION: Film Critic, Director, Producer, Screenwriter
BIRTH DATE: December 03, 1930 (Age: 82)
PLACE OF BIRTH: Paris, France
ZODIAC SIGN: Sagittarius
MOST KNOWN FOR: “Vivre Sa Vie” (1962), “Breathless” (1960), “Pierrot le Fou” (1965), “Alphaville” (1965)
AWARDS: Thirty four various wins and 32 nominations
QUOTE:  “There is no point in having sharp images when you’ve fuzzy ideas.”

Brief Bio Courtesy of Biography.com

Jean-Luc Godard was born on December 3, 1930, in Paris, France. He began his career as a critic, writing for the influential film journal Cahiers du cinéma but soon became a filmmaker himself and leader of the “French New Wave” during the 1950s and 1960s. His work– including the groundbreaking “Breathless” (1960)–draws on existentialism, absurdity and a deep knowledge film history. Godard continues to make provocative and controversial films to this day.

Christopher Nolan

Director Christopher Nolan


NAME: Christopher Nolan
OCCUPATION: Director, Screenwriter
BIRTH DATE: July 30, 1970 (Age: 43)
EDUCATION: Hailey Bury College, University College London
PLACE OF BIRTH: London, United Kingdom
FULL NAME: Christopher Jonathan James Nolan
AKA: Chris Nolan
AKA: Christopher Nolan
MOST KNOWN FOR: “The Dark Knight” (2008), “The Dark Knight Rises” (2012), “Inception” (2010), “Batman Begins” (2005)
AWARDS: Nominated for three Academy Awards®. Another 91 various wins and 88 nominations.
QUOTE: “… If you picture the story as a maze, you don’t want to be hanging above the maze, watching the characters make the wrong choices because it’s frustrating. You actually want to be in the maze with them, making the turns at their side … I quite like to be in that maze.”

Brief Bio Courtesy of Biography.com

Born on July 30, 1970 in London, England, Christopher Nolan received attention for his early films, “Following” (1998) and “Memento” (2000). After directing “Insomnia“, Nolan’s next film was “Batman Begins“, a relaunch of the comic-book franchise that became a worldwide hit. The film’s sequel, “The Dark Knight”, broke box office records, and Nolan’s heady sci-fi thriller, “Inception“, became another blockbuster two years later. In 2012 he produced the third film of his Batman saga, “The Dark Knight Rises.”


David Lynch

Director David Lynch


NAME: David Lynch
BIRTH DATE: January 20, 1946 (Age: 67)
PLACE OF BIRTH: Missoula, Montana
MOST KNOWN FOR:Mulholland Dr.” (2001), “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me” (1992), “The Elephant Man” (1980), “Blue Velvet” (1986)
AWARDS: Nominated for 4 Academy Awards®. Another 43 various wins & 38 nominations.
QUOTE:  “It makes me uncomfortable to talk about meanings and things. It’s better not to know so much about what things mean. Because the meaning, it’s a very personal thing, and the meaning for me is different than the meaning for somebody else.”

Brief Bio Courtesy of Biography.com

David Lynch studied art in Europe and began experimenting with film in the late 1960s. In 1977 he made his first feature, “Eraserhead“, which became a cult favorite. He next directed “The Elephant Man“, for which he received two Academy Award nominations. Lynch has also directed “Blue Velvet“, “Wild at Heart” and several other films and created the offbeat TV series “Twin Peaks” (1990–1991).


Akira Kurosawa

Director Akira Kurosawa


NAME: Akira Kurosawa
OCCUPATION: Painter, Director
BIRTH DATE: March 23, 1910
DEATH DATE: September 06, 1998
 Tokyo, Japan
PLACE OF DEATH: Tokyo, Japan
MOST KNOWN FOR:Yojimbo” (1961), “Seven Samurai” (1954), “Ran” (1985), “Rashomon” (1950)
AWARDS: Nominated for 1 Academy Awards. Another 64 various wins & 18 nominations.
QUOTE: “For me, film-making combines everything. That’s the reason I’ve made cinema my life’s work. In films painting and literature, theatre and music come together. But a film is still a film.”

Brief Bio Courtesy of Biography.com

In 1943 Kurosawa was promoted to director and made his first feature film from his own scenario; this story of Japanese judo masters of the 1880s scored a great popular success. In 1944 he made his second film. In 1951 his film “Rashomon” was shown at the Venice Film Festival and was awarded the Grand Prix. In 1960 he set up Kurosawa Productions. His last three films were not as well received.


François Truffaut

Director François Truffaut


NAME: François Truffaut
OCCUPATION: Film Critic, Director, Producer, Journalist
BIRTH DATE: February 06, 1932
DEATH DATE: October 21, 1984
PLACE OF BIRTH: Paris, France
PLACE OF DEATH: Neuilly-sur-Seine, France
MOST KNOWN FOR: “The 400 Blows” (1959), “The Last Metro” (1980), “Shoot the Pianist” (1960), “Jules and Jim” (1962)
AWARDS: Nominated for three Academy Awards®. Another 31 various wins and 23 nominations.
QUOTE: “If, as I’m sometimes reproached, my films are in contradiction with the age I live in, it’s perhaps in the sympathy I have for anybody who must struggle to enter a world from which he’s been excluded.”

Brief Bio Courtesy of Biography.com

Born on February 6, 1932, in Paris, France, François Truffaut becamme a leading figure in the New Wave movement with acclaimed films like “The 400 Blows” and “Jules and Jim”. His 1973 film “Day for Night” won an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and subsequent works included “Small ChangeThe Last Metro” and “The Woman Next Door.”  Truffant was an actor and critic as well.


Ingmar Berbman

Director Ingmar Bergman


NAME: Ingmar Bergman
OCCUPATION: Director, Producer, Television Producer, Screenwriter
BIRTH DATE: July 14, 1918
DEATH DATE: July 30, 2007
EDUCATION: Stockholm University
PLACE OF BIRTH: Uppsala, Sweden
PLACE OF DEATH: Fårö, Sweden
FULL NAME: Ernest Ingmar Bergman
MOST KNOWN FOR:The Seventh Seal” (1957), “Wild Strawberries” (1957), “Persona” (1966), “Fanny and Alexander” (1982)
AWARDS: Nominated for nine Academy Awards®. Another 76 various wins and 18 nominations.
QUOTE: “The theater is like a faithful wife. The film is the great adventure — the costly, exacting mistress.”

Brief Bio Courtesy of Biography.com

Ingmar Bergman was a Swedish director and producer born on July 14, 1918, in Uppsala, Sweden. In 1942, the Swedish Royal Opera chose him as its director. Bergman loved the stage, but decided to also work in film. He directed his first movie, “Crisis”, in 1945. His works were known for their use of symbolism and themes of death, pain and insanity. He gained accolades for his 1956 film “The Seventh Seal”. Other major theatrical films included “Cries and Whispers” (1971) and “Autumn Sonata” (1978). Bergman died on July 30, 2007, in Faro, Sweden.


Wes Anderson

Director Wes Anderson


NAME: Wes Anderson
BIRTH DATE: May 01, 1969 (Age: 44)
EDUCATION: University of Texas at Austin
PLACE OF BIRTH: Houston, Texas
FULL NAME: Wesley Wales Anderson
MOST KNOWN FOR:Moonrise Kingdom” (2012), “The Royal Tenebaums” (2001), “Fantastic Mr.Fox” (2009), “Rushmore” (1998)
AWARDS: Nominated for three Academy Awards®. Another 33 various wins and 37 nominations.
QUOTE: “I want to try not to repeat myself. But then I seem to do it continuously in my films. It’s not something I make any effort to do. I just want to make films that are personal, but interesting to an audience. I feel I get criticized for style over substance, and for details that get in the way of the characters. But every decision I make is how to bring those characters forward.”

Brief Bio Courtesy of Biography.com

Wes Anderson is an American film director whose works feature a recurring ensemble of actors, including Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson, Bill Murray and Jason Schwartzman. He is known for quirky, comical movies with flawed characters.


Federico Fellini

Director Federico Fellini


NAME: Federico Fellini
BIRTH DATE: January 20, 1920
DEATH DATE: October 31, 1993
EDUCATION: Ginnasio Giulio Cesare
PLACE OF BIRTH: Rimini, Italy
MOST KNOWN FOR:8 ½” (1963), “La Dolce Vita” (1960), “Amarcord” (1973), “Juliet of the Spirits” (1965)
AWARDS: Nominated for 12 Academy Awards®. Another 60 various wins and 23 nominations.
QUOTE: “There is no end. There is no beginning. There is only the infinite passion of life.”

Brief Bio Courtesy of Biography.com

Federico Fellini was born January 20, 1920, in Rimini, Italy. In 1944 he met director Roberto Rossellini and joined a team of writers who created “Rome”, “Open City”, often cited as the seminal film of the Italian Neorealist movement. Fellini made his directorial debut with Variety Lights, 1951. His major works including “La Dolce Vita” and “8 ½”. He received eight Academy Awards during his lifetime.


Clint Eastwood

Director Clint Eastwood

NAME: Clint Eastwood
OCCUPATION: Actor, Director
BIRTH DATE: May 31, 1930 (Age: 83)
EDUCATION: Piedmont Junior and Senior High School, Oakland Technical High School, Seattle University
PLACE OF BIRTH: San Francisco, California
AKA: Clint Eastwood
MOST KNOWN FOR:Gran Torino” (2008), “Million Dollar Baby” (2004), “Unforgiven” (1992), “Rawhide” (1959)
AWARDS: Won 4 Academy Awards®. Another 131 various wins and 88 nominations.
QUOTE: “If you want a guarantee, buy a toaster.”

Brief Bio Courtesy of Biography.com

Born on May 31, 1930, in San Francisco, California, Clint Eastwood got his big break starring on the television western “Rawhide”. He then became immensely popular via a string of Sergio Leone movie westerns and the “Dirty Harry” franchise. In recent years, Eastwood has directed many films, including the Academy Award-winning projects “Unforgiven”,  “Mystic River”,  “Million Dollar Baby” and “The Changeling”. He’s also known as a big supporter of the Republican Party, and made headlines when he spoke at the Republican National Convention in 2012.


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Author: James Peacock

James Peacock is a Digital Marketing Specialist at FIDM in Los Angeles, California. He received his A.A. in Graphic Design from FIDM and was hired as Social Media Assistant in 2013 by his alma mater in order to help grow the institution’s social media marketing efforts. James now combines two of his passions, telling stories and solving problems by managing data-driven marketing campaigns across multiple channels that ultimately result in a positive return on investment.

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