Over the last decade, A24 has been collaborating with some of modern cinema’s top directors.
Since being established in August 2012, A24 has had a triumphant debut decade in the film industry, producing a vast array of critically acclaimed films and cinephile favourites. Their tenacity and commitment to delivering original stories setting them apart from the rest. Producing some of modern cinema’s top directors and prospects.
Through their unique approach to modern art house filmmaking and confidence in up-and-coming directors, A24’s ability to take risks has established the production house as one of the most ambitious to date. Financing groundbreaking stories and giving the director creative freedom, A24 has brought new hope to all aspiring artists.
Whilst Cinema has seen itself regressing over recent years with the over-saturation of franchises and superhero movies, A24 has stuck to its old-school production approach, prioritizing originality and artist integrity over profit, even if it means taking risks and not breaking even at the box office. For A24, cinema is not about the money, but the experience. Giving the audience content they can relate to and connect with.
Compiling a filmography that echoes creative freedom, the last decade of A24 has seen the production house export some of the most nostalgic and humanistic stories in modern cinema. Their stories are about more than just Good v Evil, they’re provocative, metaphorical and most of all, experimental.
Unlike the money-driven producers at Warner, Universal, Disney and Sony. A24 opts for cutting-edge filmmaking methods. They aren’t convinced by pitches guaranteeing pre-existing fan bases with franchises or adaptations, they’re convinced by passion and by those who respect the mastery of the craft.
Preferring skeleton crews over blockbusters, small casts over ensembles and stories which celebrate cinema as an art, through the direction of photography and editing finesse.
A24 has housed some of the most influential and aesthetically artistic directors to date.
Producing one of Oscar-nominated director Denis Villeneuve’s first English language features, Enemy (2014), Letting Barry Jenkins tell the Academy Award-winning story of a forgotten demographic in the intimate Moonlight (2016) — And believing in YouTube comedian Bo Burnham with his indie powerhouse debut, Eighth Grade (2018). When nobody else would.
The list is endless. But the one thing that makes A24 unique, is their continuous collaboration with some of cinema’s future auteurs.
In the simplest form, an auteur is a filmmaker whose body of work is distinguishable through their individualism on screen. This can either be, the themes in their work, the cinematic experimentation, the cast they continue to work with, or the recognizable mise-en-scene. Every piece of the auteur’s work showcases fragments of their identity.
Here are some of A24’s top directors:
The Safdie Brothers
First on our list of top directors are the filmmaker siblings Joshua Safdie and Benjamin Safdie. The Safdie’s were busy making a name for themselves in the independent film scene with releases such as Lenny Cooke (2013) and Heaven Knows What (2014), before finally joining the A24 team with their groundbreaking crime thriller Good Time (2017).
With the help of Robert Pattinson’s fan base and performance, Good Time became an instant cult classic amongst arthouse film fans. Its shoestring budget and gonzo style made it a joyride for all spectators. Twists and turns around each corner.
Their sophomore release was that of Uncut Gems (2019), which aimlessly followed the same trend. Casting an actor, often disconnected from the genre in question and showcasing their natural talent in a way no one has ever seen before. Adam Sandler’s lead performance secured an Academy Award nominee with the Brothers receiving widespread critical acclaim. The sophomore hit is their most successful release to date.
Between the duo’s naturalistic directing, writing and confidence in co-producing their own work, they have established themselves as creative tyrants who can turn anything into gold.
Praised for delivering frantic, anxiety-ridden stories, with strong atmospheres and gritty performances. The Safdie Brothers are on track to securing the title of crime thriller auteurs. Their films are instantly recognizable through the non-stop pacing and grimy characters and streets edited together in a volatile and rebellious manner. Disobeying all laws of cinematography and editing, the Safdie Brothers create pieces that will have your jaw dropping from start to finish.
Often period pieces and following themes of mythical horror and the unknown, Eggers has effortlessly mastered the art of horror. Steering away from all modern tropes of jump scares and cathartic soundscapes. Eggers focuses more on creating authenticity in the tension, through gripping dialogue and often the absurd, Eggers is able to modernize the old and create intrusive pieces that leave you shocked long after watching.
Whether it’s the 17th century The Witch (2015), 19th century The Lighthouse (2019), or the barbaric tale of The Northman (2022), Eggers’ historical pieces are proof that realism on screen can and is still more entertaining than the reliance of CGI and explosions. The art of film remains in the ability to articulately and purposefully create a script with meaning.
Next on our list of top directors is Yorgos Lanthimos. Lanthimos had created a name for himself with his previous surreal arthouse releases Dogtooth (2009) and Alps (2011). Responsible for the counter-cultural movement in European cinema known as the ‘Greek Weird Wave’.
Since joining A24 in 2015, Lanthimos was able to tell the same surreal stories but now on a larger scale, with greater budgets and western names.
Lanthimos’ A24 releases The Lobster (2015), and The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017), both feature Irish actor Colin Farrell as the leading star. Both films follow the same surrealism found in Lanthimos’ early works but this time, with more deadpan dialogue that is often sharp, blunt and darkly humorous.
Both films had little to no plot but effortlessly gained widespread critical acclaim at Cannes through the direction of photography and unique brand of dry, matter-of-fact dialogue that isn’t quite dramatic enough to be a drama, or funny enough to be a comedy. The Greek weird auteur ultimately created a new sub-genre of film.
David Lowery has a name for himself in the A24 world, as a director who delivers stories surrounding existential drama with sprinkles of fantasy.
His two A24 projects to date, A Ghost Story (2017) and The Green Knight (2021) focus on similar topics and tales — those of death, recollection and what we leave behind. Often existential with no concept of time. Lowery’s films are grim yet poetically endearing. His unorthodox direction of photography makes for a slow-burn entertainment that’ll inspire you to be experimental with your own home cameras.
Sean Baker has established himself as one of the most prolific modern filmmakers, opting for stories of realism that portray the underbelly and working class of society rather than the positives. His debut feature Tangerine (2015), was shot on just an iPhone and garnered Baker widespread acclaim.
Baker joined A24 in 2017 with his follow-up, The Florida Project, later producing his A24 sophomore Red Rocket (2021). Both films are invasive with the camera lens and show the spectator unsavoury moments mainstream cinema would never dare to. Baker’s realism and approach has made him one of A24’s top directors with the artists inspired by the outcasts of society and those with questionable morals.
His characters are instantly dislikable yet charismatic. You’ll hate them at the start, but by the time the credits roll, you’ll have witnessed an onscreen transformation — the characters come to, with Baker shining his autueristic light on them.
One of the masters of modern horror, Aster is one of the most dominant forces with his instant cult-classics, Hereditary (2018) and Midsommar (2019). Developing a name for himself as an influential folk horror director with his short-film debut The Strange Thing About the Johnsons (2011).
Aster has gone on to prove himself worthy of critical acclaim with his back-to-back A24-produced visual masterpieces. Both Hereditary and Midsommar, combine independent filmmakers with creative visual spins that together, create unsettlingly chilling atmospheres.
Now on to his third, Aster is currently in the midst of his third A24 project, Disappointment Blvd (2023). Starring Joaquin Phoenix.
Known for their absurd and refreshing brand of comedy, both of The Daniels A24 features Swiss Army Man (2016) and Everything Everywhere All At Once (2022), are incredibly unique and original, and most of all, optimistically funny. Their ability to blend the most depressing topics and themes of cynicism with wholehearted optimism makes each of their films profound and impressionistic. Both A24 releases are sensational hits that have gained huge cult followings and solidified The Daniels as the Safdies of surreal comedy and mishap adventure.