30 Day Film Challenge Reboot Day 28: Rising Star

This piece was written by Sir Simon Milligan

As we near the end of this month’s challenge, I wanted to focus on prompts that are more future-facing. More and more folks enter the film industry every day, hoping to add unique talents and perspectives both in front of and behind the camera. These up-and-coming filmmakers are vital for keeping the industry fresh and exciting. One of my happiest recent discoveries has been Jim Cummings, who helmed and starred in one of my favorite films of 2018, Thunder Road. I also enjoyed Cummings’ follow-up, 2020’s The Wolf of Snow Hollow, though he mostly played the same character as in Thunder Road. His next film, The Beta Test, is scheduled to be released this year.

But my top choice for this prompt is Radha Blank. Blank’s directorial debut was 2020’s The Forty-Year-Old Version, a semi-autobiographical tale about a struggling middle-aged African-American playwright who decides to start a second career as a rapper. I found the film authentic and hilarious and enjoyed that it told a story from a perspective that doesn’t always get much attention in Hollywood. The film won numerous awards, including the U.S. Dramatic Competition Directing Award at 2020’s Sundance Film Festival. Blank has only added to the ever-growing diversity of the industry and I look forward to seeing what she does next.

Prompt: Who is your favorite up-and-coming director/actor/actress/etc. in film?”