50 Greatest Female Directors

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“ female presence in French Nouvelle Vague ” - BaalMan78
 
3.
Agnieszka Holland
Director, Europa Europa
Agnieszka Holland was born 28 of November 1948 in Warsaw but went to Czechoslovakia to study film directing at FAMU in Prague. She began her film career working in Poland with Krzysztof Zanussi as assistant director, and Andrzej Wajda as her mentor. She wrote several scripts with Wajda before directing her own films...
 
4.
Alice Guy
Generally considered to be the world's first female director, French-born Alice Guy entered the film business as a secretary at Gaumont-Paris in 1896. The next year Gaumont changed from manufacturing cameras to producing movies, and Guy became one of its first film directors. She impressed the the company...
“ First female diretor ever ” - BaalMan78
 
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Ana Carolina
Director, Amélia
 
6.
Andrea Arnold
Actress, No 73
 
7.
Anne-Marie Miéville
Anne-Marie Mieville began her career as a singer in the 60s, but moved on to filmmaking. In 1972, she met Jean-Luc Godard, and they began their extremely prolific collaborative career. They have produced numerous films together, and continue to do so.
 
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Catherine Breillat
Catherine Breillat is a Paris based filmmaker and writer who became famous for her distinctively personal films on sexuality, gender trouble and sibling rivalry. Accused of being a "porno auteuriste", Breillat allowed for an unbiased view of sexuality and extended the language of mainstream movies. She is also a best-selling novelist and wrote her first novel...
 
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Deepa Mehta
Director, Water
Deepa Mehta is a transnational artist and a screenwriter, director, and producer whose work has been called "courageous", "provocative" and "breathtaking". Her visually lush and emotionally resonating films have played at every major international film festival; receiving numerous awards and accolades...
 
18.
Dorothy Arzner
Dorothy Arzner, the only woman director during the "Golden Age" of Hollywood's studio system--from the 1920s to the early 1940s and the woman director with the largest oeuvre in Hollywood to this day--was born January 3, 1897 (some sources put the year as 1900), in San Francisco, California, to a German-American father and a Scottish mother...
“ the only US female director in the 1930s ” - BaalMan78
 
20.
Germaine Dulac
The daughter of a cavalry captain, she was raised by a grandmother in Paris, where she studied various forms of art with an emphasis on music and the opera. In 1905 she married engineer-novelist Marie-Louis Albert-Dulac and under his influence veered toward journalism. As one of the leading radical feminists of her day...
“ female presence in French Impressionism from 1920s ” - BaalMan78
 
21.
Ida Lupino
Ida was born in London to a show business family. In 1933, her mother brought Ida with her to an audition and Ida got the part her mother wanted. The picture was Her First Affaire. Ida, a bleached blonde, came to Hollywood in 1934 and played small and insignificant parts. Peter Ibbetson was one of her...
 
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Kathryn Bigelow
Director, The Hurt Locker
A very talented painter, Kathryn spent two years at the San Francisco Art Institute. At 20, she won a scholarship to the Whitney Museum's Independent Study Program. She was given a studio in a former Offtrack Betting building, literally in an old bank vault, where she made art and waited to be critiqued by people like Richard Serra...
 
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Leni Riefenstahl
Leni Riefenstahl's show-biz experience began with an experiment: she wanted to know what it felt like to dance on the stage. Success as a dancer gave way to film acting when she attracted the attention of film director Arnold Fanck, subsequently starring in some of his mountaineering pictures. With Fanck as her mentor, Riefenstahl began directing films...
 
30.
Liv Ullmann
Actress, Persona
Liv Ullmann's father was a Norwegian engineer who used to work abroad, so as a child she lived in Tokyo, Canada, New York and Oslo. In the mid-'50s she made her stage debut and in 1957 made her film debut. She really became successful, however, when she began to work for Swedish director Ingmar Bergman in such films as Persona...
 
31.
Lone Scherfig
Director, An Education
Lone Scherfig graduated from the Danish Film School in 1984. In her native Denmark, Lone Scherfig began her career directing award-winning commercials and television dramas. Her first feature as director, The Birthday Trip, premiered at the 1991 Berlin Festival and won several awards at festivals worldwide. Her second feature, On Our Own, won the Grand Prize at the Montreal Film Festival...
 
34.
Lucrecia Martel
Director, La Ciénaga
Born in 1966 in Salta in the North of Argentina,Lucrecia Martel settled down in Buenos Aires where she studied communication sciences. She started by directing a few shorts among which Dead King, which garnered several awards in the international film festival circuit. From 1995 to 1998, she made a series of documentaries for TV as well as a children's TV programme...
 
35.
Margarethe von Trotta
Director, Hannah Arendt
Margarethe von Trotta was born in Berlin in 1942. In the 1960s she moved to Paris where she worked for film collectives, collaborating on scripts and co-directing short films. She also pursued an acclaimed acting career, starring in films by well known German directors such as Rainer Werner Fassbinder, and Volker Schlöndorff...
 
36.
Marguerite Duras
Ms. Duras was born in southern Vietnam and lost her father at age 4. The family savings of 20 years bought the family a small plot in Cambodia, but everything was lost in a single season's flooding. The disaster killed her mother as a result. After high school in Saigon, Ms. Duras left Indochina to study law in Paris...
 
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Maya Deren
Maya Deren came to the USA in 1922 as Eleanora Derenkowsky. Together with her father, a psychiatrist, and her mother, an artist, she fled the pogroms against Russian Jews. She studied journalism and political science in at Syracuse University in New York, finishing her BA at NYU in June 1936 and then received her MA in English literature from Smith in 1939...
 
40.
Mira Nair
Director, Monsoon Wedding
Accomplished Film Director/Writer/Producer Mira Nair was born in India and educated at Delhi University and at Harvard. She began her film career as an actor and then turned to directing award-winning documentaries, including So Far From India and India Cabaret. Her debut feature film, Salaam Bombay...
 
41.
Miranda July
Filmmaker Magazine rated her #1 in their "25 New Faces of Indie Film" in 2004! She is a performance artist and published short story writer. Since becoming a filmmaker, her debut feature, Me and You and Everyone We Know (2005) has won several film awards. Daughter of Lindy Hough and Richard Grossinger, writers and publishers who founded North Atlantic Books.
 
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Sally Potter
Director, Orlando
Sally Potter made her first 8mm film aged fourteen. She has since written and directed seven feature films, as well as many short films (including THRILLER and PLAY) and a television series, and has directed opera (Carmen for the ENO in 2007) and other live work. Her background is in choreography, music...
 
46.
Samira Makhmalbaf
Director, September 11
Born in Tehran, Samira is the daughter of director Mohsen Makhmalbaf. She got her first taste of the cinema when she was eight, playing a cameo role as a little girl in her father's film The Cyclist. After leaving school at 15 because she found the teachers incompetent, she began learning to make films...
“ As far I know, the only female arab/persian director ” - BaalMan78
 
47.
Sofia Coppola
Writer, Somewhere
Sofia Coppola was born on May 14, 1971 in New York City, New York, USA as Sofia Carmina Coppola. She is a director, known for Somewhere, Lost in Translation and Marie Antoinette. She has been married to Thomas Mars since August 27, 2011. They have two children. She was previously married to Spike Jonze.
 
48.
Su Friedrich
Director, Sink or Swim
Su Friedrich is a New York-based filmmaker who writes, directs, photographs and edits. She currently teaches film and video production at Princeton University.
 
50.
Vera Chytilová
Director, Daisies
Vera Chytilová was born on February 2, 1929, in Ostrava, Czechoslovakia (now Czech Republic). She studied philosophy and architecture in Brno for two years, then worked as a technical draftsman, a designer, a fashion model, a photo re-toucher, then worked as a clapper girl for Barrandov Film Studios in Prague. There she continued as a writer, actress, and assistant director...