Céline Sciamma

French director Céline Sciamma first impressed audiences with her directorial debut, "Water Lilies" (2007). The independent drama dealt with a team of teenage girls on a synchronized swimming team whose developing sexualy creates confusion, elation, and fear. Sciamma, a graduate of Paris' prestigious Le Femis screenwriting program, was intensely interested in the fluidity of sexuality, as well as the unique perspective of youth, infusing these ideas into "Water Lilies," which was chosen for screening in the Un certain regard section at the Cannes Film Festival, and went on to be nominated for three Cesar Awards. The filmmaker's next move was directing a short film for the French government's anti-homophobia campaign called "Pauline" (2009). Soon, Sciamma was moving on to further explore similar themes in her next feature film "Tomboy" (2011), following the story of a nine-year-old girl who chooses to begin living her life as a boy. The film's uniquely sparse directorial style, insight into gender identity, and incisive depiction of childhood earned Sciamma comparisons to greats like Francois Truffaut. Sciamma wasted no time developing her next feature, "Girlhood" (2014), a film inspired by the groups of teenage girls she would often see loitering in public places around Paris like the Metro station or the the Les Halles shopping centre, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in 2015.