While bottom lines will always dominate the conversation in filmmaking circles, the current buzzword in Hollywood is “diversity.” Or, more specifically, “lack of diversity.” At the same time the hashtag-turned-movement #OscarsSoWhite is drawing attention to the fact that, for the second year in a row, not one black actor was recognized for his or her onscreen work in 2015, Idris Elba is making SAG Awards history. Not only did his historic double-win—for Best Supporting Actor in Beasts of No Nation and Best Actor in a Limited Series for Luther—make him the first male to take home two SAG Awards in one night, but the first black actor to do so.
On Jan. 22, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, via president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, announced a plan that they say will double “the number of women and diverse members of the Academy by 2020.” One week later, Nate Parker won both of the Sundance Film Festival’s top awards for his critically acclaimed Nat Turner biopic, The Birth of a Nation. Parker is just one of many filmmakers of color who will be changing the diversity conversation this year. Here’s a look at 15 Directors You Should Know Releasing Films in 2016.