Continuing the successes we’ve written about in the past, alumnus Justin Simien has received a broader kind of acclaim for his recent film, Dear White People.

Simien has been recognized at festivals across the country, for his unique brand of scathing wit, a trend that surely suggests even bigger things are on the horizon.  Most recently, Dear White People was selected to premiere at the Sundance Film Festival!  But it’s not just Sundance celebrating his success; if Variety has anything to say about it, it’s time to start watching the horizon – now!

Variety has chosen its 10 Directors to Watch for 2013.

At a time when many have criticized the entertainment industry for the absence of female directors, it’s worth noting that five of the 11 directors on the list (one entry consists of a pair) are women.

They are:

Variety will also recognize John Lee Hancock (“Saving Mr. Banks.”) with the Creative Impact in Directing award and actor Jonah Hill (“The Wolf of Wall Street”) with the Creative Impact in Acting Award.

The Dec. 17 issue of Variety will include profiles of the directors and Creative Impact honorees, who will also be honored at a brunch on Jan. 5 at the Parker Palm Springs.

Mercedes-Benz is the presenting sponsor of the brunch and of the Creative Impact awards.

Variety’s 10 to Watch series spotlights emerging writers, actors, producers, directors, comics and cinematographers. The honorees are selected by a team of Variety editors, critics and reporters.

Directors who have appeared on the 10 to Watch list in years past include Ben Affleck (“Argo”), George Clooney (“The Ides of March”), Christopher Nolan (“The Dark Knight Rises”) and Benh Zeitlin (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”).

We’re thrilled to see our students receiving praise for such bold, creative projects, and even moreso that they’re being recognized by the biggest press vehicles in the industry.

Kudos, Justin!