From Movie Maker Magazine February 8, 2016
Lily Gladstone, actress, Certain Women
Gladstone was the first and only candidate to play “the Rancher” in Kelly Reichardt’s Certain Women, a character who anchors the third and longest chapter of the feature (and who, in Maile Meloy’s original short story, is actually male). It’s evident why. As a lonely Montana ranch hand who finds herself drawn to the company of a young teacher (Kristen Stewart), Gladstone barely has any lines, but there’s an immense yearning in her body language—slow, stoic—and her large, expressive eyes. The actress, who grew up on Montana’s Blackfeet Reservation, has a background in theater, but is garnering indie cred working with directors like Arnaud Desplechin and Sarah Adina Smith. –Kelly Leow
A happy year at Sundance offers forth not a spring of fresh blood, but a geyser.
This was one of those years, where categories were populated with more unheralded faces than usual. Good news for cinema’s next generation; bad news for writers on the ground (like Carlos Aguilar, Maddy Kadish, Kelly Leow and Jeff Meyers), trying to narrow down an annual “Breakthroughs” list.
Shiny new names abound amongst the following 12 entries, but this time around we sprinkled in a handful of what we’re calling “level-uppers”—people whose names film fans already know, but whose work this year constitutes a major step up, a dramatic change of course, or, simply, resounding confirmation of a previously detected well of talent.
Some candidates we considered who didn’t make the final cut were young actors Royalty Hightower (The Fits) and Markees Christmas (Morris from America), director Agnieszka Smoczyńska of Polish genre-bender The Lure, actress Morgan Saylor from White Girl, and actor Lucas Hedges fromManchester by the Sea. Though we had full intentions of include below-the-line contributors, directors and actors as they are obnoxiously wont, monopolized the spotlight this year. We were impressed, though, by people like The Fits’ writer/editor Saela Davis, Christine writer Craig Shilowich and musician Maica Armata, who composed and sang the haunting score for Tim Sutton’sDark Night (and appears in a couple of memorable scenes). Lastly, though we managed to catch a lot, there was much more we didn’t get to see that would’ve certainly yielded up more candidates for this list.
All that said and done, we’re very excited about the following talents. Look out for them in 2016 and beyond.