Variety announces 10 Directors to Watch for 2023, Palm Springs film fest to honor them

Eva Longoria, Charlotte Wells and Elegance Bratton are among Variety's 10 Directors to Watch for 2023 who will be honored on Jan. 6 at the Palm Springs International Film Festival.

The lineup represents a diverse mix of up-and-coming directors whose films — all first or second features — already made a splash this year or are set to premiere in 2023.

The 10 directors are:

  • Maggie Betts (”The Burial”)

  • Elegance Bratton (“The Inspection”)

  • Elijah Bynum (“Magazine Dreams”)

  • Alice Diop (“Saint Omer”)

  • Eva Longoria (“Flamin’ Hot”)

  • Nida Manzoor (“Polite Society”)

  • Laurel Parmet (“The Starling Girl”)

  • Saim Sadiq (“Joyland”)

  • Jingyi Shao (“Chang Can Dunk”)

  • Charlotte Wells (“Aftersun”)

Director Elegance Bratton, from left, and actors Gabrielle Union and Jeremy Pope attend the premiere for "The Inspection," at Alice Tully Hall during the 60th New York Film Festival, Friday, Oct. 14, 2022, in New York. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP) ORG XMIT: NYAK105
Director Elegance Bratton, from left, and actors Gabrielle Union and Jeremy Pope attend the premiere for "The Inspection," at Alice Tully Hall during the 60th New York Film Festival, Friday, Oct. 14, 2022, in New York. (Photo by Andy Kropa/Invision/AP) ORG XMIT: NYAK105

“It’s a thrill to partner with Variety to put the spotlight on some of today’s most exciting emerging storytellers — directors who leave you excited for what’s to come,” Palm Springs International Film Festival Artistic Director Lili Rodriguez said in a statement. “Even more, we’re delighted to welcome them in Palm Springs to kick off the festival year.”

Diop’s “Saint Omer” and Sadiq’s “Joyland” were selected to represent their home countries, France and Pakistan, respectively, in the best international feature film category at the upcoming Academy Awards. Cannes Film Festival jury prize winner “Aftersun,” directed by Wells, and Toronto International Film Festival breakout “The Inspection” from Bratton, have earned nominations at the Gotham and Film Independent Spirit awards, with Wells winning the Breakout Director Award at the former.

Films coming out next year include “Desperate Housewives” star Longoria’s directorial debut, “Flamin’ Hot,” an inspirational story about the man whose tongue-scorching Cheetos recipe earned Frito-Lay a fortune. Bynum follows up his debut film, “Hot Summer Nights” starring Timothée Chalamet, with “Magazine Dreams," in which Jonathan Majors plays a competitive bodybuilder with serious social anxiety.

A few films also celebrate directors' cultural heritage. Manzoor’s “Polite Society” follows a British Pakistani teen who’s determined to sabotage her older sister’s wedding, while Shao’s “Chang Can Dunk" is about a vertically challenged Chinese American high school athlete who gets himself in trouble after making a wager that he can dunk by season’s end.

In “The Starling Girl,” writer-director Parmet focuses on the sexual awakening of a Southern girl raised in a conservative religious community and her relationship with her youth pastor. Betts’ sophomore feature, "The Burial," is a courtroom drama starring Jamie Foxx and Tommy Lee Jones.

The Palm Springs International Film Festival will take place Jan. 5-16.

Ema Sasic covers entertainment and health in the Coachella Valley. Reach her at ema.sasic@desertsun.com or on Twitter @ema_sasic.

This article originally appeared on Palm Springs Desert Sun: Palm Springs film fest 2023 to honor Variety's 10 Directors to Watch