Distill the one thing needed to propel a movie down to the absolute bare essentials what will draw people into them will always be great characters. Whether it is because they are compelling, relatable, charismatic, harrowing or all of the above, unless you have the roles and the performances to bring those characters to life you will not find an audience for your work. A director can have a one-of-a-kind unique vision and style, but in the end if he/she cannot manage performances from his/her cast then it is all for not. There is no way around it. Interesting-empathetic characters will make your story work, 100% of the time, no fail. In that spirit I have drawn up a list of the 12 filmmakers who have constantly shown their ability to create performances that have resonated throughout the early 2000's. If I were to do a straight best director's list for the 21st century, it would more than likely line up entry to entry, save a few additions. My criteria for this list was to only include a director's filmography in this century, regardless of previous works before the turn-of-the-century (i.e Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg and Michael Mann, even though they turned in some great works this century). There also must be a stand-out performance in their Filmography that is an acting showcase. It isn't good enough that their work is of constantly good quality, there needs to be a at least one highlight performance helmed by the filmmaker (i.e Wes Anderson, David Fincher, Ang Lee, and Chan Wook Park). Let's start this list with our first independent film icon, as there will be several on the list.