List of directorial debuts
This is a list of film directorial debuts in chronological order. The films and dates referred to are a director's first commercial cinematic release. Many film makers have directed works which were not commercially released, for example early works by Orson Welles such as his filming of his stage production of Twelfth Night in 1933 or his experimental short film The Hearts of Age in 1934. Often these early works were not intended for commercial release either by intent, such as film school projects or inability to find distribution.
Subsequently, many directors learnt their trade in the medium of television as it became popular in the 1940s and 1950s. Notable directors who did their first directorial work in this medium include Robert Altman, Norman Jewison, Sidney Lumet, and Alfonso Cuarón. As commercial television advertising became more cinematic in the 1960s and 1970s, many directors early work was in this medium, including directors such as Alan Parker and Ridley Scott. With the success of MTV and the popularity of music videos from the early 1980s, this gave another avenue for directors to hone their skills. Notable directors whose early work was in music videos include David Fincher, Jonathan Glazer, Michel Gondry, and Spike Jonze.
The following symbols indicate where a director has worked in another medium prior to directing commercially.
♦ Indicates where a director has created other earlier works for television
# Indicates when a director's earlier work is uncredited
† Indicates when a director's earlier work has not been released in cinemas, for example film school productions, short films or music videos.
Refer to individual entries for further detail.
- Max Barbakow – Palm Springs
- Halle Berry – Bruised
- Harry Bradbeer♦ – Enola Holmes
- Gerard Bush and Christopher Renz† – Antebellum
- Brian Patrick Butler† – Friend of the World
- Eric D. Cabello Diaz – El Camino de Xico
- Dean Craig† – Love Wedding Repeat
- Joel Crawford† – The Croods: A New Age
- Jack Danini† – Ode to Passion
- Emerald Fennell† – Promising Young Woman
- Michael Fimognari† – To All the Boys: P.S. I Still Love You
- Will Forbes – John Henry
- Jeff Fowler† – Sonic the Hedgehog
- Edward Hall♦† – Blithe Spirit
- Sam Hargrave† – Extraction
- Chris Henchy† – Impractical Jokers: The Movie
- David Henrie† – This Is the Year
- Natalie Erika James† – Relic
- Anthony Jerjen† – Inherit the Viper
- Aneil Karia♦† – Surge
- Glen Keane and John Kahrs – Over the Moon
- Regina King♦† – One Night in Miami...
- Natalie Krinsky – The Broken Hearts Gallery
- Patrice Laliberté♦† – The Decline
- Andrew Lawrence – The Office Mix-Up
- Rob Lodermeier – The Willoughbys
- Viggo Mortensen – Falling
- Jekaterina Oertel – DAU. Natasha
- Prentice Penny♦† – Uncorcked
- David Prior† – The Empty Man
- Emma Seligman† – Shiva Baby
- Taylor Swift† – Folklore: The Long Pond Studio Sessions
- Remi Weekes♦ – His House
- Autumn de Wilde† – Emma
- David S. F. Wilson† – Bloodshot
- Florian Zeller♦ – The Father
- Justine Bateman† – Violet
- Ryan Bliss† – Alice Fades Away
- Mika Boorem† – Hollywood.Con
- Jonathan Butterell – Everybody's Talking About Jamie
- Enrico Casarosa – Luca
- Ryan Crego♦ – Arlo the Alligator Boy
- Bakhtyar Fatah♦ – 09
- Hamish Grieve† – Rumble
- Maggie Gyllenhaal♦ – The Lost Daughter
- Rebecca Hall – Passing
- Lisa Joy♦ – Reminiscence
- Fran Kranz – Mass
- Simon McQuoid – Mortal Kombat
- Brian Andrew Mendoza† – Sweet Girl
- Lin-Manuel Miranda – tick, tick... BOOM!
- Dasha Nekrasova – The Scary of Sixty-First
- Edson Oda – Nine Days
- Questlove† – Summer of Soul (...Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
- Diana Ringo – Quarantine
- Alessandra de Rossi – My Amanda
- Rodo Sayagues – Don't Breathe 2
- Evan Spiliotopoulos – The Unholy
- Liesl Tommy♦ – Respect
- Mattson Tomlin – Mother/Android
- Jude Weng – Finding 'Ohana
- Robin Wright†♦ – Land
- Carlson Young† – The Blazing World
- Kenya Barris♦ – You People
- Loren Bouchard♦ and Bernard Derriman†♦ – The Bob's Burgers Movie
- Reid Carolin and Channing Tatum – Dog
- John C. Donkin – The Ice Age Adventures of Buck Wild
- Jesse Eisenberg† – When You Finish Saving the World
- Tim Federle♦ – Better Nate Than Ever
- Tom George♦ – See How They Run
- Mark Gustafson – Pinocchio
- Alex Hardcastle♦ – Senior Year
- Michael B. Jordan – Creed III
- Lee Jung-jae – Hunt
- Gail Lerner†♦ – Cheaper by the Dozen
- Pierre Perifel – The Bad Guys
- Domee Shi† – Turning Red
- Goran Stolevski† – You Won't Be Alone
- Patrick Wilson – Insidious: The Dark Realm
- Jamie Foxx♦† – All-Star Weekend
- Jonathan Krisel – Untitled Sesame Street film
- Minkyu Lee – The Witch Boy
- Co-directed with Robert N. Bradbury
- Credited as Detlef Sierck
- Co-directed with Anthony Hankey
- Co-directed with Gunther von Fritsch
- Co-directed with Brian Desmond Hurst
- Co-directed with Robert Jordan Hill
- Co-directed with Yakov Bazelyan
- Credited as Derek Thomas
- Co-directed with Abe Levitow
- Co-directed with Bradley R. Swirnoff
- Co-directed with Bill Melendez
- Co-directed with Rintaro
- Co-directed with Kenneth Tsang
- Co-directed with Jesse Wells
- Co-directed with Frank Lustig
- Co-directed with David Van Taylor
- Co-directed with Peter Farrelly
- Co-directed with Quentin Lee
- Co-directed with Jim Wynorski
- Co-directed with Kevin Lima
- Co-directed with Chris Malloy and Emmett Malloy
- Co-directed with David Daniel
- Co-directed with Corey Yuen
- Co-directed with Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino
- Co-directed with Tim Johnson
- Co-directed with Vincent Paronnaud
- Co-directed with Ryan Fleck
- Co-directed with Matthew Robinson
- Co-directed with Alastair Fothergill
- Co-directed with Barry Cook
- Co-directed with Guy Jenkin
- Co-directed with Jocelyn Towne
- Credited as Declan Dale
- Co-directed with Nicholas Stoller
- Co-directed with Conrad Vernon
- Co-directed with Lee Unkrich
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