Age: 34
Notable films: Away From Her (2006), Take This Waltz (2012), Stories We Tell (2013)

If Sarah Polley sounds familiar, it's probably because you remember her for her work in front of the camera in Go (1999) and Dawn of the Dead (2004). However, her most impressive film work has happened behind the camera.

Polley's strength lies in examining the difficult truths of relationships, as is the case with every notable film she's worked on. And, trust, you need a strong heart to watch them. In Away From Her, she examines an elderly couple that's falling apart (of course, that's to say nothing of the Alzheimers and other handicaps that plague them), while in Take This Waltz, she meditates on a young woman who becomes taken with a new neighbor.

Her documentaries continue this exploration. Arguably her best work, Stories We Tell is a remarkable and honest look at her own family, complete with the lies, the secrets, and the sweet memories that define them. Polley is a undoubtedly a filmmaker with evocative stories, and they're all refreshing to hear.—TA