Age: 30
Notable films: The Vicious Kind (2009), Celeste and Jesse Forever (2012)

What's lamer in Hollywood than a run-of-the-mill, studio-backed romantic comedy? Well, nothing, really. Still, we like to watch love blossom and/or disintegrate amidst laughter on the big screen—doing so makes our own romantic triumphs and defeats feel all the more real.

Thus, it's a good thing that filmmakers like Lee Told Krieger exist. Working far below Hollywood's major studio system, Krieger has a penchant for making the anti-rom-com. In The Vicious Kind, Adam Scott (Parks and Recreation) falls in love with his brother's no-good new girlfriend, with often humorous but always unflinchingly raw results. The same kind of honesty powers Celeste and Jesse Forever, last year's underrated indie about a divorced couple (co-writer Rashida Jones and funnyman Andy Samberg) trying to adjust to being just friends.

Both films include numerous moments of genuine hilarity, yet never at the expense of story, character, or credibility. Krieger's not a fan of cheap laughs. —MB