Young filmmakers are often touted as the next Steven Spielberg, but that's usually meaningless hype drummed up by publicity teams or overeager journalists.
Yet a director whose work is featured in the Film Society of Lincoln Center and MoMA's annual New Directors/New Films fest has legitimate cause to make those claims.
Spielberg and a host of other greats have seen their feature debuts included in previous installments of the now 41-year-old celebration of the best new movies by first-time directors.
This year's edition, which kicks off today, features documentaries and narrative features culled from across the globe, including an Indonesian action film ("The Raid: Redemption"), an Argentine road-trip flick ("Las Acacias") and a drama about strong Lebanese women (opening-night feature "Where Do We Go Now?").
Here are some of the other notable films unspooling between now and April 1:
'How to Survive a Plague'
Walter Reade Theater, Sat., 9 p.m.; MoMA, Mon., 6 p.m.
Director David France depicts the rise of AIDS activism in this documentary, which utilizes never-before-seen archival footage from the '80s and '90s to tell the stories of the men and women from coalitions like ACT UP and TAG who fought the horrendous stigma surrounding the disease.
'Gimme the Loot'
WRT, Fri., 6:30 p.m.; MoMA, Sun., 2:30 p.m.
Bronx graffiti artists Malcolm and Sofia try to tag the Mets' Home Run Apple at Citi Field in this winner of the 2012 South by Southwest film festival's top prize for narrative films.
'Fear and Desire'
WRT, March 28, 6 p.m.; MoMA, March 31, 2 p.m.
The festival breaks from tradition to screen Stanley Kubrick's first film, a rarely seen military drama released in 1953, which the legendary filmmaker deemed a "bumbling amateur film exercise" and tried to hide from the public.
WRT, March 30, 6 p.m.; MoMA, April 1, 1:30 p.m.
The post-Communist Russian psyche provides the fodder for this offbeat, hallucinatory satire about a man tasked with translating Western advertising campaigns for the Russian public. The official New Directors/New Films press notes describe this film as "a metaphysical 'Mad Men' from the go-go 1990s."
If you go: New Directors/New Films runs today through April 1. Most screenings will be held at the Walter Reade Theater, 165 W. 65th St., and MoMA, 11 W. 53rd St. Tickets are $14 for the general public. For the full schedule, go to filmlinc.com.