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5 Non-Traditional Must-See Movies for Film Students

There are countless lists of must-see movies for film lovers and others that want to enter the field of film making. Recognizable, industry-changing directors like Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg appear on these lists over and over again along with classic films that everyone has seen. There are, however, many newer films that provide interesting perspectives for film students that do not appear on these lists. Some of these films will likely make it on to these lists eventually, but even lesser known films can provide learning opportunities.

  • Life of Pi

The story of a boy and a tiger stranded at sea, this gorgeous film from director Ang Lee is nothing short of a masterpiece. Nominated for more than 125 awards, including eleven Oscar nominations, this 2013 film allowed Lee to take home the Oscar for Best Achievement in Directing, Claudio Mirando to take home the Oscar for Best Achievement in Cinematography, and the Visual Effects team to take home an Oscar in that category, as well. Nominations in Film Editing, Sound Mixing, and Sound Editing make this film an all-around primer for how to impress The Academy.

  • It Follows

This 2014 horror film directed by David Robert Mitchell takes us on a journey into a world where a haunting can be passed like an STD. This low-budget film was nominated for 29 awards at film festivals around the globe and took home a stunning 20 wins. The cinematography and editing are top notch. Be prepared to sleep with the lights on after you watch this new classic horror film.

  • The Revenant

Directed by Alejandro Inarritu, after viewing this film there is no doubt why it swept last year’s Oscars nominations with twelve total nominations including Best Achievement in Visual Effects, Production Design, Sound Editing, Sound Mixing, Film Editing, and Cinematography, to name a few. The extreme landscape in which this movie was film only adds to the legend behind its production. There is little doubt this film will stand the test of time.

  1. Interstellar

A 2014 sci-fi film directed by Christopher Nolan surprisingly starring the often unpolished Matthew McConaughey as an astronaut traveling through space to ensure the survival of humanity, this film is a site to behold. Winner of the 2015 Oscar for Best Achievement in Visual Effects, it was also nominated for Best Achievement in Sound Mixing, Sound Editing, and Production Design. The breathtaking way this film handles entirely fictional settings is a sight to see.

  1. The Maze Runner

Based on a young adult novel of the same name, this film is the first in a series that explore a dystopian society where groups of youth undergo unimaginably horrible physical trials. Though not recognized critically for its achievements, this film utilizes many of the same techniques in sound mixing, editing, and cinematography as those listed above and does so extremely well for its genre. Enjoyable and suspenseful, this film shows that even films that don’t reach the heights of critical acclaim can still teach students about creating a successful film franchise that audiences of all ages enjoy.