Women Writers & Directors

by jradelet | created - 17 Jul 2012 | updated - 18 Jul 2012 | Public

1. Courtney Hunt

Director | Frozen River

Courtney Hunt was born in 1964 in Memphis, Tennessee, USA. She is a director and writer, known for Frozen River (2008), The Whole Truth (2016) and Fear the Walking Dead (2015).

2. Jenny Lumet

Writer | Rachel Getting Married

Jenny Lumet was born on February 2, 1967 in New York City, New York, USA. She is an actress and writer, known for Rachel Getting Married (2008), The Mummy (2017) and Deathtrap (1982). She has been married to Alexander Weinstein since 2008. They have one child. She was previously married to Bobby ...

3. Sofia Coppola

Director | Lost in Translation

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 (2010), Lost in Translation (2003) and Marie Antoinette (2006). She has been married to Thomas Mars since August 27, 2011. They have two children. She was ...

4. 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 ...

5. Robin Swicord

Writer | The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Robin Swicord was born in 1952 in Columbia, South Carolina, USA. She is a writer, known for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008), Memoirs of a Geisha (2005) and Little Women (1994). She has been married to Nicholas Kazan since 1984. They have two children.

6. Sarah Polley

Actress | Dawn of the Dead

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 ...

7. Lynn Shelton

Director | Humpday

Lynn Shelton is a director and actress, known for Humpday (2009), Laggies (2014) and Your Sister's Sister (2011).

8. Phyllida Lloyd

Director | Mamma Mia!

Phyllida Lloyd was born on June 17, 1957 in Bristol, England as Phyllida Christian Lloyd. She is known for her work on Mamma Mia! (2008), The Iron Lady (2011) and Gloriana (2000).

9. 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...

10. Loveleen Tandan

Casting_director | Slumdog Millionaire

Loveleen Tandan is an India based filmmaker and Casting Director. Her career highlights include her work as Co-Director (India) of multi award winning Slumdog Millionaire (2008) and Casting Director of award winning features like Monsoon Wedding (2001), Slumdog Millionaire (2008), Brick Lane (2007)...

11. Lina Wertmüller

Writer | Pasqualino Settebellezze

Lina Wertmüller was born on August 14, 1928 in Rome, Lazio, Italy as Arcangela Felice Assunta Job Wertmüller von Elgg Espanol von Brauchich. She is a writer and director, known for Seven Beauties (1975), Travolti da un insolito destino nell'azzurro mare d'agosto (1974) and I basilischi (1963). She ...

12. Catherine Hardwicke

Director | Thirteen

Catherine Hardwicke was born on October 21, 1955 in Cameron, Texas, USA as Helen Catherine Hardwicke. She is a director and production designer, known for Thirteen (2003), Twilight (2008) and Red Riding Hood (2011).

13. Melissa Rosenberg

Producer | Jessica Jones

Melissa Rosenberg was born on August 28, 1962 in Marin County, California, USA as Melissa Anne Rosenberg. She is a producer and writer, known for Jessica Jones (2015), Dexter (2006) and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1 (2011). She has been married to Lev L. Spiro since 1995.

14. Catherine Johnson

Writer | Mamma Mia!

Catherine Johnson was born on October 14, 1957 in Suffolk, England. She is a writer and producer, known for Mamma Mia! (2008), Dappers (2010) and Love in the 21st Century (1999).

15. Julie Taymor

Director | Frida

Julie Taymor is an Academy Award-nominated director, known for such films as Frida (2002) and Across the Universe (2007).

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 ...

16. Nia Vardalos

Actress | My Big Fat Greek Wedding

Nia Vardalos was born on September 24, 1962 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada as Antonia Eugenia Vardalos. She is an actress and writer, known for My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002), I Hate Valentine's Day (2009) and Connie and Carla (2004). She has been married to Ian Gomez since September 5, 1993. They ...

17. Leni Riefenstahl

Actress | Das blaue Licht

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...

18. Mary Harron

Director | American Psycho

Mary Harron was born on January 12, 1953 in Bracebridge, Ontario, Canada. She is a director and writer, known for American Psycho (2000), I Shot Andy Warhol (1996) and Alias Grace (2017). She has been married to John Walsh since August 15, 1998. They have two children.

19. Patty Jenkins

Director | Wonder Woman

Patty Jenkins is a writer/director best known for directing Wonder Woman, the Warner Bros./DC Comics blockbuster of 2017, and her debut feature Monster. Patty also works in television where she is best known for the pilot and finale episode of AMC's hit show The Killing.

Patty began her career as a ...

20. Rashida Jones

Actress | Parks and Recreation

Rashida Jones was born in Los Angeles, the younger daughter of media mogul, producer, and musician Quincy Jones and actress Peggy Lipton. She has an older sister, Kidada Jones, and five half-siblings by her father's other relationships. Her father is African-American, and also has Welsh ancestry. ...

21. Betty Thomas

Self | Howard Stern

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...

22. Malgorzata Szumowska

Director | W imie...

One of the most prominent Polish directors of today, Malgorzata Szumowska was born in Kraków in 1973. She's been directing, writing and producing feature and documentary films. Her movies have received many awards, for example Silver Leopard at the Locarno Film Festival for "33 Scenes from Life" or...

23. Julie Delpy

Actress | Trois couleurs: Blanc

Julie Delpy was born in Paris, France, in 1969 to Albert Delpy and Marie Pillet, both actors.

She was first featured in Jean-Luc Godard's Détective (1985) at the age of fourteen. She has starred in many American and European productions since then, including Disney's The Three Musketeers (...

24. Lauren Greenfield

Director | The Queen of Versailles

Lauren Greenfield is a director and producer, known for The Queen of Versailles (2012), Generation Wealth (2018) and Thin (2006).

25. Jenny Deller

Producer | Future Weather

Jenny Deller was born on December 8, 1975 in Murphysboro, Illinois, USA. She is a producer and director, known for Future Weather (2012), Law & Order (1990) and Save the Future (2009).

26. Tanya Wexler

Director | Hysteria

Tanya Wexler was born on August 6, 1970 in Chicago, Illinois, USA. She is a director and producer, known for Hysteria (2011), Ball in the House (2001) and Finding North (1998). She is married to Amy Zimmerman. They have four children.

27. Lucy Mulloy

Producer | Una noche

Lucy Mulloy is known for her work on Una noche (2012), This Morning (2005) and Baby (2010).

28. Leslye Headland

Writer | Sleeping with Other People

Leslye Headland was born on November 26, 1980 in Los Angeles, California, USA as Leslye Ann Headland. She is a writer and director, known for Sleeping with Other People (2015), Bachelorette (2012) and Terriers (2010). She has been married to Rebecca Henderson since September 18, 2016.

29. Katie Aselton

Actress | The Freebie

Katie Aselton was born on October 1, 1978 in Milbridge, Maine, USA as Kathryn Anne Aselton. She is an actress, known for The Freebie (2010), Black Rock (2012) and The Gift (2015). She has been married to Mark Duplass since August 26, 2006. They have two children.

30. Agnieszka Holland

Director | Pokot

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 ...

31. Coline Serreau

Director | 3 hommes et un couffin

Coline Serreau was born on October 29, 1947 in Paris, France. She is a director and writer, known for Three Men and a Cradle (1985), Chaos (2001) and Pourquoi pas! (1977). She was previously married to Benno Besson.

32. Lisa Cholodenko

Director | The Kids Are All Right

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...

33. Mimi Leder

Producer | The Leftovers

Mimi Leder was born on January 26, 1952 in New York City, New York, USA as Miriam Leder. She is a producer and director, known for The Leftovers (2014), Deep Impact (1998) and Pay It Forward (2000). She is married to Gary Werntz. They have one child.

34. 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 ...

35. Agnès Varda

Director | Sans toit ni loi

Agnès Varda was born on May 30, 1928 in Brussels, Belgium as Arlette Varda. She is a director and writer, known for Vagabond (1985), Le Bonheur (1965) and Les plages d'Agnès (2008). She was previously married to Jacques Demy.

36. Dee Rees

Director | Mudbound

Dee Rees is a director and writer, known for Mudbound (2017), Pariah (2011) and Pariah (2007).

37. Ava DuVernay

Producer | Selma

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 ...

38. 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 ...

39. Margarethe von Trotta

Director | Rosenstrasse

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 ...

40. Debra Granik

Director | Winter's Bone

Debra Granik was born on February 6, 1963 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. She is a director and writer, known for Winter's Bone (2010), Down to the Bone (2004) and Leave No Trace (2018).

41. Jill Sprecher

Writer | Thirteen Conversations About One Thing

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 ...

42. Kasi Lemmons

Actress | The Silence of the Lambs

Kasi Lemmons was born on February 24, 1961 in St. Louis, Missouri, USA as Karen Lemmons. She is an actress, known for The Silence of the Lambs (1991), Candyman (1992) and Eve's Bayou (1997). She has been married to Vondie Curtis-Hall since 1995. They have two children.

43. Jodie Foster

Actress | The Silence of the Lambs

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 ...

44. Nora Ephron

Writer | Julie & Julia

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 (1983), ...

45. Sam Taylor-Johnson

Director | Nowhere Boy

Sam Taylor-Johnson was born on March 4, 1967 in London, England as Samantha Louise Taylor-Wood. She is a director and producer, known for Nowhere Boy (2009), Fifty Shades of Grey (2015) and Love You More (2008). She has been married to Aaron Taylor-Johnson since June 21, 2012. They have two ...

46. Nancy Meyers

Writer | It's Complicated

Nancy Meyers was born on December 8, 1949 in Pennsylvania, USA as Nancy Jane Meyers. She is a writer and producer, known for It's Complicated (2009), Something's Gotta Give (2003) and The Holiday (2006). She was previously married to Charles Shyer.

47. Andrea Arnold

Director | American Honey

Andrea Arnold was born on April 5, 1961 in Dartford, Kent, England as Andrea P. Arnold. She is an actress and director, known for American Honey (2016), Fish Tank (2009) and Red Road (2006).

48. Catherine Breillat

Writer | À ma soeur!

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....

49. Ida Lupino

Actress | High Sierra

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 (1932). Ida, a bleached blonde, came to Hollywood in 1934 and played small and insignificant parts. Peter Ibbetson (...

50. Lynne Ramsay

Director | We Need to Talk About Kevin

Lynne Ramsay was born on December 5, 1969 in Glasgow, Strathclyde, Scotland. She is a director and writer, known for We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011), You Were Never Really Here (2017) and Morvern Callar (2002).

51. Susanne Bier

Director | Hævnen

Susanne Bier was born on April 15, 1960 in Copenhagen, Denmark. She is a director and writer, known for In a Better World (2010), After the Wedding (2006) and Brødre (2004). She is married to Jesper Winge Leisner. She was previously married to Philip Zandén.

52. 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 ...

53. Miranda July

Writer | Me and You and Everyone We Know

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 ...

54. Kimberly Peirce

Director | Boys Don't Cry

Kimberly Peirce was born on September 8, 1967 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA. She is a director and writer, known for Boys Don't Cry (1999), Stop-Loss (2008) and Carrie (2013).

55. 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 (1982), and people started to take notice. In 1987, ...

56. Valerie Faris

Director | Little Miss Sunshine

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 ...

57. Rebecca Miller

Writer | Personal Velocity: Three Portraits

Rebecca Miller was born on September 15, 1962 in Roxbury, Connecticut, USA as Rebecca Augusta Miller. She is an actress and writer, known for Personal Velocity (2002), Maggie's Plan (2015) and Angela (1995). She has been married to Daniel Day-Lewis since November 13, 1996. They have two children.

58. Anne Fletcher

Actress | The Proposal

Anne Fletcher was born on May 1, 1966 in Detroit, Michigan, USA. She is known for her work on The Proposal (2009), Step Up (2006) and Hairspray (2007).

59. Mira Nair

Director | Salaam Bombay!

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 ...

60. Nancy Savoca

Director | True Love

Director 'Nancy Savoca' received critical acclaim for her first feature film, True Love (1989) which won the Grand Jury Prize at the 1989 Sundance Film Festival and was hailed as one of the best films of the year by both Janet Maslin and Vincent Canby of the New York Times. Savoca was nominated for...

61. 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), ...

62. Lexi Alexander

Director | Hooligans

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 ...

63. Gurinder Chadha

Writer | Bend It Like Beckham

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...

64. Elaine May

Actress | Small Time Crooks

Elaine May was born on April 21, 1932 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA as Elaine Iva Berlin. She is an actress and writer, known for Small Time Crooks (2000), A New Leaf (1971) and Ishtar (1987). She was previously married to David L. Rubinfine, Sheldon Harnick and Marvin May.

65. Nicole Holofcener

Director | Enough Said

Nicole Holofcener was born on March 22, 1960 in New York City, New York, USA. She is a director and writer, known for Enough Said (2013), Please Give (2010) and Friends with Money (2006). She was previously married to Benjamin Allanoff.

66. Kirsten Sheridan

Writer | In America

Kirsten Sheridan was born on July 14, 1976 in Dublin, Ireland. She is a writer and director, known for In America (2002), Patterns (1999) and Disco Pigs (2001).

67. Maya Deren

Director | Meshes of the Afternoon

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 ...

68. Nina Menkes

Director | Phantom Love

Called "Brilliant, one of the most provocative artists in film today" by The Los Angeles Times, Nina Menkes synthesizes inner dream-worlds with harsh, outer realities. Her eight films (six full-length features) are a body of work Sight and Sound has called "Controversial, intense and visually ...

69. Jennifer Westfeldt

Actress | Kissing Jessica Stein

Jennifer is an American actress and filmmaker, who is perhaps best known for writing and starring in the indie hits, Kissing Jessica Stein (2001) and Friends with Kids (2011).

A graduate from Yale University, Jennifer started her career as a New York-based theater actor, starring in over 25 ...