Breakthrough Artists: Aldis Hodge, Camila Morrone, Lulu Wang

For the past eighteen years, HIFF has focused on emerging acting talent and highlights a dynamic class of actors each year. Since 2002, past honorees have included many future award winners and nominees, including award-winning actors Emily Blunt, Brie Larson, Adam Driver, Jessica Chastain, Mahershala Ali, Riz Ahmed, Alicia Vikander, Lupita Nyong’o, Emma Stone, Elisabeth Moss, Rooney Mara, Oscar Isaac, and more.

This year’s three breakthrough artists are thrilling new talents whose stars are solidly on the rise. Two of the three are appearing in films at the festival, and we are delighted to welcome them to HIFF 2019.

“With our Breakthrough Artist signature program, we are pleased to recognize the talent of Camila Morrone, Aldis Hodge, Lulu Wang, three artists whose work on the screen has been stunning.”

Meet the Breakthrough Artists at our Winick Talk on Saturday, October 12.


Aldis Hodge is an award-winning actor who is best known for his roles in films and television series such as Underground, Leverage, STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON, and HIDDEN FIGURES. This year, he starred as the title character in the film BRIAN BANKS, in addition to the Paramount Pictures film WHAT MEN WANT opposite Taraji P. Henson. Currently, Aldis is starring opposite Kevin Bacon in the critically acclaimed Showtime series City on a Hill. Earlier this year, Hodge’s film CLEMENCY (HIFF 2019) won the Dramatic Grand Jury prize at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, and will be released in December by NEON.

Hodge has earned National Board of Review, Screen Actors Guild and Palm Springs Film Festival awards for his acting work. In 2017, Hodge was asked to join the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences. In addition to acting, he is developing projects for film and television, designs luxury timepieces, and is an avid artist and painter.


An affecting and charismatic actress, Camila Morrone is quickly making a name for herself as one of Hollywood’s most talented performers. Upcoming, Morrone will star as the titular ‘Mickey’ in Annabelle Attanasio’s MICKEY AND THE BEAR (HIFF 2019). The film follows a determined Montana teenager (Morrone) as she maneuvers a turbulent relationship with her veteran father (James Badge Dale). The critically-acclaimed drama made its world premiere debut at the 2019 SXSW Film Festival and later played to sold-out crowds at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival.

Morrone’s additional film credits include A24’s comedy NEVER GOIN BACK, which premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival; Eli Roth’s remake of DEATHWISH, opposite Bruce Willis; and James Franco’s biopic BUKOWSKI.


Chinese-American director Lulu Wang wrote and directed her second feature film THE FAREWELL, which A24 released this summer. The story follows Billi (Awkwafina), a young woman who returns to China after decades in America to join her relatives as they gather to say goodbye to the family’s elderly matriarch. While Billi’s story is unique to her Asian-American experience, it is entirely relatable in its heartwarming depiction of love within a family. The film had its world premiere at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. Variety also named Wang among its “Top Ten Directors To Watch in 2019.”

For her first film POSTHUMOUS (2014), an indie romantic comedy starring Brit Marling and Jack Huston, Wang was awarded the Chaz and Roger Ebert Directing Fellowship at the 2014 Film Independent Spirit Awards. She also earned a 2014 Film Independent Project Involve Directing fellowship. Wang’s 2015 short film TOUCH premiered at the Palm Springs International ShortsFest..

Born in Beijing, raised in Miami and educated in Boston, Wang originally trained as a classical pianist. However, her love for writing eventually paved the way to her success as a storyteller, with her diverse background reflected and emphasized in the global sensibility of her films. Lulu is currently developing her next feature.