FAVORITE Female Directors:

By Michelle.
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1.
Deborah Kaplan
Writer/director Deborah Kaplan met partner, writer/director Harry Elfont, at NYU's Tisch School of the Arts' prestigious film school. In a strange coincidence, they discovered that their parents were friends and that they both attended neighboring high schools in Philadelphia. Kaplan had spent time abroad in high school at a film production program at Oxford University in England...
 
2.
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...
 
3.
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.
 
4.
Tamra Davis
Director, Billy Madison
Began her career directing music videos for acts like Tone Loc, Depeche Mode, NWA and Sonic Youth and made her first feature in 92 with Guncrazy starring Drew Barrymore. Ms Barrymore received a Golden Globe Nomination. She then went on to direct feature films starring Chris Rock, Adam Sandler, Dave Chappelle and Britney Spears...
 
5.
Sarah Polley
Sarah Polley is an actress and director renowned in her native Canada for her political activism. Blessed with an extremely expressive face that enables directors to minimize dialog due to her uncanny ability to suggest a character's thoughts, Polley has become a favorite of critics for her sensitive portraits of wounded and conflicted young women in independent films...
 
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“ No, not because of Twilight. I haven't even seen Twilight. I like her mainly because of Thirteen. ” - Michelle_Gills
 
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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...
 
8.
Mei Hu
Director, Kong Zi
 
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Betty Thomas
Betty Thomas was born July 27, 1947 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...
 
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Jennifer Yuh Nelson
Animation Department, Kung Fu Panda
 
15.
Phyllida Lloyd
Director, Mamma Mia!
Leading British theatre director, particularly praised for her work in opera.
 
16.
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...
 
17.
Lisa Cholodenko
Lisa Cholodenko earned an MFA at Columbia University Film School where she made an award-winning short film Dinner Party (1997) Her feature High Art (1998) won the National Society of Film Critics award for Ally Sheedy's performance and The Waldo Salt Screenwriting award at Sundance. Both "High Art" and Laurel Canyon (2002) premiered at Cannes Director's Fortnight.
 
20.
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...
 
22.
Fina Torres
FINA TORRES is currently a director/producer who brings experience from all areas of filmmaking to the role. After studying design, photography and journalism in Venezuela, Torres moved to Paris, where she earned a Bachelor's degree in cinematography from the Institute de Hautes Etudes Cinematographiques...
 
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Jill Sprecher
After graduating from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in philosophy and literature, she moved to NewYork to study film and has since made Manhattan her home. She has worked as a coordinator, production manager and line producer on both studio and independent features. She studied film directing with Robert Wise and...
 
25.
Lone Scherfig
Director, An Education
Writer/director Lone Scherfig graduated from The National Film School of Denmark in 1984. Her first feature film, THE BIRTHDAY TRIP (1990), was selected for Panorama in Berlin, the New Directors section at MOMA in New York and won the Grand Jury Prix in Rouen. Her next film, ON OUR OWN (1998), received the Grand Prix in Montreal and the Cinekid Prize in Amsterdam...
 
26.
Beeban Kidron
She came to prominence with the much lauded adaptation of Jeanette Winterson's autobiographical novel 'Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit'. Since then she's directed feature films, television dramas and documentaries. In 2008, she founded the charity called Filmclub with Lindsay Mackie. It has since grown to be one of the largest and most influential after-school clubs in the UK...
 
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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...
 
38.
Jennifer Westfeldt
Jennifer is an American actress and filmmaker, who is perhaps best known for writing and starring in the indie hits, Kissing Jessica Stein and Friends with Kids. A graduate from Yale University, Jennifer started her career as a New York-based theater actor, starring in over 25 off-Broadway and regional productions...
 
39.
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...
 
40.
Patty Jenkins
Director, Wonder Woman
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...
 
41.
Vicky Jenson
Director, Shrek
Vicky Jenson's career spans more than two decades in both animation and live action, and crosses the spectrum from TV to feature films to shorts including a commercial campaign for Old Navy of more than 40 spots with Anonymous Content and was at that time the only female feature film director they represented...
 
42.
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...
 
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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...
 
46.
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...
 
47.
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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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...
 
54.
Lucille Ball
Actress, I Love Lucy
The woman who will always be remembered as the crazy, accident-prone, lovable Lucy Ricardo was born Lucille Desiree Ball on August 6, 1911 in Jamestown, New York. Her father died before she was four, and her mother worked several jobs, so she and her younger brother were raised by their grandparents...
 
55.
Anne Bancroft
Actress, The Graduate
Anne Bancroft was born on September 17, 1931 in the Bronx, the daughter of Michael Italiano (1905-2001), a dress pattern maker, and Mildred DiNapoli (1908-2010), a telephone operator. She made her cinema debut in Don't Bother to Knock in 1952 and over the next five years appeared in a lot of undistinguished movies as a supporting actress...
 
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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...
 
59.
Adrienne Shelly
Actress, Waitress
The late Adrienne Shelley was born in Queens, New York, to Sheldon Levine and Elaine Langbaum. After graduating Jericho High School, located in Jericho, New York, she enrolled at Boston University, and majored in film production. After her junior year, she dropped out and moved to Manhattan where she made a name for herself in independent films...
 
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Joan Chen
Born into a family of doctors and educated in China at the Shanghai Film Academy and the Shanghai Institute of Foreign Languages, Joan Chen was discovered by veteran Chinese director Jin Xie while observing a filming with a school group. Her performance in Xiao hua (A.K.A. "The Little Flower") won China's Best Actress award...
 
63.
Martha Coolidge
Director, Valley Girl
Martha Patterson Coolidge was born on August 17, 1946 in New Haven Connecticut. She studied illustration at Rhode Island School of Design, but changed majors, becoming the first film major at the school. She attended and graduated from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, where she received her Master's degree in Fine Arts...
 
65.
Andrea Arnold
Actress, No 73
 
66.
Ava DuVernay
Writer, 13th
A director, producer, writer, marketer and film distributor, Ava DuVernay made her feature film debut with the documentary This in the Life (2008), a history on hip hop movement that flourished in Los Angeles in the 1990's. This was followed by series of television music documentaries which included My Mic Sounds Nice (2010) which aired on BET...
 
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