77. Federico Alvarez

Film Director

A young Uruguayan filmmaker spends just $500 to shoot a five-minute, special-effects-heavy video called “Panic Attack!” about an alien invasion in Montevideo, posts it on YouTube, and it’s so good that he’s hired to make a multimillion-dollar film less than two weeks later. If Federico Alvarez’s story were a movie, no one would believe it. “I thought this was common,” he says of his instant success. “I had no idea.” Alvarez, 32, is now working under Sam Raimi’s Ghost House Pictures, with a $30 million budget. “It’s an alien-invasion movie, but totally different,” he says. “An American comes down to Uruguay where he’s the alien. He doesn’t understand the people or the language, and then the real invasion happens.”