Film Independent DIRECTORS CLOSE-UP is back! SAGindie returns as a sponsor of the annual series featuring filmmaker and actor talks, all leading up to the 2024 Film Independent Spirit Awards. DCU 2024 is a hybrid virtual and in-person event, running from January 17 – March 1. Check out the full schedule and video highlights below!

[UPDATED 2/29/24]



January 17 – Maiden Voyage: Best First Feature


  • Tomás Gómez Bustillo (Chronicles of a Wandering Saint)
  • Raven Jackson (All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt)
  • Savanah Leaf (Earth Mama)
  • AV Rockwell (A Thousand and One)
  • Alejandro Rojas (Upon Entry)
  • Juan Sebastián Vásquez (Upon Entry)
  • Moderated by Shelby Stone (Executive Producer, The Chi)


January 17 – Small Screen, Big Picture: Best Scripted Series


  • Zoe Lister-Jones (Slip)
  • Boots Riley (I’m a Virgo)
  • Adjani Salmon (Dreaming Whilst Black)
  • Jake Schreier (Beef)
  • Jake Szymanski (Jury Duty)
  • Moderated by Wendy Calhoun (writer/producer, Prodigal Son; Empire)


January 24 – The Spirit of Cassavetes: Low Budget Filmmaking


  • Babak Jalali (Fremont)
  • Justin Lerner (Cadejo Blanco)
  • Morrisa Maltz (The Unknown Country)
  • Franklin Ritch (The Artifice Girl)
  • Moderated by Lisa Kennedy (freelance journalist; The New York Times; Variety)


January 24 – Page to Screen: Best First Screenplay


  • Samy Burch (May December)
  • Tomás Gómez Bustillo (Chronicles of a Wandering Saint)
  • Molly Gordon (Theater Camp)
  • Nick Lieberman (Theater Camp)
  • Alex Mechanik (May December)
  • Laurel Parmet (The Starling Girl)
  • Alejandro Rojas (Upon Entry)
  • Juan Sebatián Vásquez (Upon Entry)
  • Moderated by Fran Kranz (writer/director, Mass)


January 31 – Reel Life: Best Documentary


  • Joe Brewster (Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project)
  • Kaouther Ben Hania (Four Daughters)
  • Asmae El Moudir (The Mother of All Lies)
  • D. Smith (Kokomo City)
  • Lina Soualem (Bye Bye Tiberias)
  • Michèle Stephenson (Going to Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project)
  • Moderated by Shrihari Sathe (producer, Stay Awake)


January 31 – A New Kind of Narrative: Best Non-Scripted Series


  • Razelle Benally (Murder in Big Horn)
  • Matthew Galkin (Murder in Big Horn)
  • Amanda Hollis-Brusky (Deadlocked: How America Shaped the Supreme Court)
  • Ryan O’Dowd (Wrestlers)
  • Dawn Porter (Deadlocked: How America Shaped the Supreme Court)
  • Greg Whiteley (Wrestlers)
  • Moderated by Diane Becker (producer, Navalny)


February 7 – The World’s a Stage: International Storytellers


  • Lila Avilés (Tótem)
  • C.J. “Fiery” Obasi (Mami Wata)
  • Hlynur Pálmason (Godland)
  • Moderated by Alison Dickey (producer, The Sisters Brothers; Terri)


February 7 – More Than Words: The Craft of Screenwriting


  • David Heminson (The Holdovers)
  • Laura Moss (Birth/Rebirth)
  • Brendan J. O’Brien (Birth/Rebirth)
  • Emma Seligman (Bottoms)
  • Celine Song (Past Lives)
  • Moderated by Daniel Waters (writer, Heathers)


February 12 – Cord Jefferson: Making Fiction a Reality

Directors Guild of America, Los Angeles, CA


  • Cord Jefferson (writer/director, American Fiction)
  • Jeffrey Wright (actor, American Fiction)
  • Erika Alexander (actor, American Fiction)
  • Cristina Dunlap (director of photography, American Fiction)
  • Laura Karpman (composer, American Fiction)
  • Hilda Rasula (editor, American Fiction)
  • Moderated by Darrien Michele Gipson (executive director, SAGindie)


February 14 – The Spirit of Independence


  • Minhal Baig (writer/director, We Grown Now)
  • Andrew Haigh (actor, All of Us Strangers)
  • William Oldroyd (director, Eileen)
  • Moderated by Josh Welsh (president, Film Independent)


February 21 – Don’t Look Behind You: Directing Genre

Directors Guild of America, Los Angeles, CA


  • Patrick Brice (director, Creep)
  • Mimi Cave (director, Fresh)
  • J.D. Dillard (director, The Outsider)
  • Nikyatu Jusu (director, Nanny)
  • Moderated by Imani Davis (writer/producer/film programmer)


March 1 – Lulu Wang and Expats: Storytelling on a Large Canvas

Directors Guild of America, Los Angeles, CA

  • Lulu Wang (writer/director, Expats)
  • Dani Melia (producer, Expats)
  • Yong Ok Lee (production designer, Expats)
  • Moderated by Karyn Kusama (director, Yellowjackets)

Film Independent Directors Close-Up 2024 is sponsored by SAGindie, Directors Guild of America, and IMDbPro.


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