Female Directors

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1.
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...
 
2.
Jane Campion
Writer, The Piano
Jane Campion was born in Wellington, New Zealand, and now lives in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Having graduated with a BA in Anthropology from Victoria University of Wellington in 1975, and a BA, with a painting major, at Sydney College of the Arts in 1979, she began filmmaking in the early 1980s...
 
3.
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...
 
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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...
 
6.
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.
 
7.
Penny Marshall
Penny Marshall was born Carole Penny Marshall in the Bronx, New York, on October 15, 1943. The Libra is 5' 6 1/2", with brown hair and green eyes. She is the daughter of Marjorie (Ward), a tap dance teacher, and Anthony "Tony" Marshall, an industrial film director. She is the younger sister of filmmakers Garry Marshall and Ronny Hallin...
 
8.
Amy Heckerling
Writer, Clueless
Amy Heckerling studied Film and TV at New York University and got a Masters Degree in Film from The American Film Institute. Despite this education she couldn't get a break in Hollywood. However, in 1982, she made Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and people started to take notice. In 1987, while Amy was pregnant, she got the idea for Look Who's Talking...
 
10.
Julie Taymor
Julie Taymor is an Academy Award-nominated director, known for such films as Frida and Across the Universe. She was born on December 15, 1952, in Newton, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston. Her father, Melvin Lester Taymor, was a gynecologist. Her mother, Elizabeth Bernstein, was a teacher of political science...
 
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Nora Ephron
Nora Ephron was educated at Wellesley College, Massachusetts. She was an acclaimed essayist (Crazy Salad 1975), novelist (Heartburn 1983), and had written screenplays for several popular films, all featuring strong female characters, such as anti-nuclear activist Karen Silkwood (Silkwood, co-written...
 
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Vera Farmiga
Actress, The Conjuring
Vera Farmiga is an American actress who received an Academy Award nomination for best performance in her supporting role, opposite George Clooney, in Up in the Air. She was born Vera Ann Farmiga, second of seven children, on August 6, 1973, in Clifton (Passaic County), New Jersey, USA, to Ukrainian parents...
 
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Dee Rees
Director, Bessie
 
18.
Patty Jenkins
Director, Monster
Patty Jenkins is a writer/director best known for her debut feature Monster, based on the life of convicted serial killer Aileen Wuornos, helming the pilot episode of AMC's hit show The Killing and as the director of the upcoming Wonder Woman for Warner Brothers. Patty began her career as a painter at The Cooper Union in New York City...
 
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Phyllida Lloyd
Director, Mamma Mia!
Leading British theatre director, particularly praised for her work in opera.
 
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Lexi Alexander
A former World Karate and Kickboxing Champion, Lexi Alexander found her calling to become a filmmaker while traveling around the world competing and teaching martial arts seminars. Born in Mannheim, Germany, Lexi dreamed of eventually moving to Hollywood and made it a point to attend every karate tournament that took place in the United States...
 
23.
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...
 
25.
Lesli Linka Glatter
Director, Now and Then
Lesli Linka Glatter is a director of film, network, cable and premium cable television drama, with both pilots and episodes to her credit. Lesli's TV work includes Homeland, The Newsroom, The Walking Dead, Justified, Ray Donovan, Masters of Sex, Nashville, Boss, True Blood...
 
26.
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...
 
28.
Kelly Reichardt
Director, Wendy and Lucy
Kelly Reichardt was born and raised in Miami-Dade Country, Florida, to a family of police officers. She had an interest in photography from a very young age. She started by using her father's camera, which he used for photographing crime scenes. She went to the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston...
 
31.
Kristina Lloyd
Director, 11-44
 
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Gina Prince-Bythewood
Gina Prince-Bythewood wrote and directed the widely acclaimed feature film Love & Basketball which premiered at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival. She won an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature and a Humanitas Prize for her work on the film. Her other directing credits include the HBO film Disappearing Acts...
 
33.
Allison Anders
Director, Four Rooms
Anders weathered a rough childhood and young adult life which not only encouraged an escapist penchant for making up characters but also an insider's sympathy for the strong but put-upon women who people her films. Growing up in rural Kentucky, Anders would always remember hanging onto her father's leg at age five as he abandoned her family...
 
34.
Jodie Foster
Alicia Christian Foster was born in Los Angeles on November 19, 1962. She is the daughter of Evelyn Ella "Brandy" (Almond) and Lucius Fisher Foster III, an Air Force lieutenant colonel and later real estate broker. Brandy had filed for divorce in 1959 after having three children with Lucius, but the exes had a brief re-encounter in 1962 which resulted in Alicia's birth...
 
35.
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...
 
36.
Asia Argento
Actress, xXx
Asia Argento was born in Rome, Italy, into a family of actors and filmmakers, both occupations which she has herself pursued. She made her debut when she was only nine years old in Sergio Citti's Sogni e bisogni. In 1988 she had the leading role in Cristina Comencini's first film, Zoo, and was part of the cast of The Church...
 
39.
Dennie Gordon
Director, Bloodline
After graduating from Yale's School of Drama in Directing, Gordon first gained recognition when her script for a Hard Rain was chosen by Showtime's Discovery Program. Thanks to Steven Spielberg, a rough cut of her film attracted the attention of George Lucas who donated the film's mix at Skywalker Ranch...
 
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Barbara Peeters
Barbara Peeters is still directing under her new banner of SilverFoxx Films. She's moved her company to Southern Oregon where for the last seven years she has been creating business and music promotional videos and has been researching the subject of domestic abuse for the last three years. She is now...
 
44.
Amy Heckerling
Writer, Clueless
Amy Heckerling studied Film and TV at New York University and got a Masters Degree in Film from The American Film Institute. Despite this education she couldn't get a break in Hollywood. However, in 1982, she made Fast Times at Ridgemont High, and people started to take notice. In 1987, while Amy was pregnant, she got the idea for Look Who's Talking...
 
46.
Colette Burson
Writer, Hung
Colette Burson is a writer/producer/director known for creating "Hung" (HBO, 2009-2011) and "The Riches" (FX, 2007) with her husband/writing partner Dmitry Lipkin. She directed episodes of "Hung", as well as the short film "Little Black Boot" (Sundance, 2004; PlanetOut Grand Prize Winner, 2004; Logo Television Best Short Film Award...
 
47.
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...
 
51.
Gurinder Chadha
Gurinder Chadha was born in Kenya, and grew up in Southall, London, England. She began her career as a news reporter with BBC Radio, directed several award winning documentaries for the BBC, and began an alliance with the British Film Institute (BFI) and Channel Four. In 1990, Chadha set up her own production company: Umbi Films.
 
52.
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.
 
53.
Stephanie Rothman
Writer/director Stephanie Rothman was one of the few female filmmakers who specialized in low-budget drive-in exploitation fare in the '60s and '70s. Her movies are distinguished by gutsy, strong-willed and sympathetic women main characters and a radical libertarian feminist point of view. Stephanie was born on November 9...
 
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Sarah Kernochan
Sarah Kernochan was born in New York City. Educated at Rosemary Hall and Sarah Lawrence, she achieved early success by winning the Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary, at age 27, for her film "Marjoe." Her next move was to record two RCA albums as a singer-songwriter. Two years later her novel "Dry Hustle" was published...
 
56.
Penelope Spheeris
Director, Wayne's World
Spheeris is often referred to as a 'rock 'n roll anthropologist'. In 1974 she formed the first Los Angeles music video production company, ROCK 'N REEL. She concluded her music video work with the Grammy-nominated, "Bohemian Rhapsody" video for "Wayne's World". Spheeris' feature film debut was the 1979 documentary on the Los Angeles punk scene...
 
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60.
Barbra Streisand
Actress, Funny Girl
Barbra Streisand is an American singer, actress, director and producer and one of the most successful personalities in show business. She is the only person ever to receive all of the following: Oscar, Tony, Emmy, Grammy, Golden Globe, Cable Ace, National Endowment for the Arts, and Peabody awards,...
 
61.
Martha Coolidge
Coolidge's diverse project range has given her a reputation for eclectic taste. Among a long list of working with Hollywood's finest, Coolidge also discovered great talents like Nicolas Cage (Valley Girl), Val Kilmer (Real Genius) and James GandolfiniAngie). In addition to working with talented artists...
 
63.
Betty Thomas
Betty Thomas was born July 27, 1948, in St. Louis, Missouri, graduating from Ohio University with a BA in fine arts. Initially sidetracked, Betty first taught school in Chicago but found herself restricted and needing more of an open forum for self-expression than a classroom. She found herself drawn inextricably to comedy...
 
64.
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...
 
68.
Valerie Faris
Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris have built an impressive body of work by perpetually seeking innovative projects in a variety of mediums. After introducing bands such as REM and The Red Hot Chili Peppers on their ground breaking MTV show The Cutting Edge, Jonathan and Valerie continued to work in music television directing music videos and documentaries for bands such as The Smashing Pumpkins...
 
69.
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...