Why him: The indie filmmaker who produced last year's Sundance hit James White gets behind the camera to direct the true story of Christine Chubbuck (Rebecca Hall), a TV news reporter who committed suicide on live television in 1974. The film is playing in competition.
Clea DuVall ("The Intervention")
Why her: The veteran actress best known for roles in "Argo" and HBO's "Carnivale" moves behind the camera for the Big Chill homage starring an ensemble that includes Cobie Smulders and Natasha Lyonne. She also wrote, produced and co-stars in the competition entry.
Riley Keough ("The Girlfriend Experience")
Why her: Elvis Presley's granddaughter shows she can play sexy and smart as the star of this racy TV series, based on Steven Soderbergh's 2009 film, about a law firm underling who moonlights as a high-end escort. Starz will unveil the first four episodes at the festival.
Jason Lew ("The Free World")
Why him: The actor-writer adds director to his résumé with the competition drama about a recently released former convict (Narcos' Boyd Holbrook) who becomes involved with a married woman (Elisabeth Moss). Lew also wrote the film, which co-stars Octavia Spencer.
Morgan Saylor ("White Girl")
Why her: Fans of "Homeland" know her as troubled teen Dana Brody from the Showtime series' first three seasons. But here Saylor is all grown up as a hard-partying college girl who falls for a Puerto Rican drug dealer. When he gets arrested, she is left with a cache of cocaine.