Female directors to watchby liginhamf | created - 19 Aug 2017 | updated - 11 months ago | Public
1. 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...
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 ...
3. 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 ...
4. Lena Dunham
Writer | Tiny Furniture
New Yorker Lena Dunham is the daughter of a painter, Carroll Dunham and Laurie Simmons, a designer and photographer. Dunham was educated at Oberlin College, Ohio, graduating with a creative writing degree. It was while at Oberlin that she began writing shorts and feature films. In 2009, Dunham ...
8. Agnès Varda
Director | Sans toit ni loi
Agnès Varda was born on May 30, 1928 in Brussels, Belgium as Arlette Varda. She was a director and writer, known for Vagabond (1985), Faces Places (2017) and Cleo from 5 to 7 (1962). She was married to Jacques Demy. She died on March 29, 2019 in Paris, France.
Director | La mujer sin cabeza
Born in 1966 in Salta in the North of Argentina,Lucrecia Martel settled down in Buenos Aires where she attended the ENERC (National Film School). She started by directing a few shorts among which Dead King (1995), which garnered several awards in the international film festival circuit. From 1995 to...
10. Reed Morano
Director | The Handmaid's Tale
Reed Morano was born on April 15, 1977 in Omaha, Nebraska, USA. She is known for directing and executive producing the pilot and episodes 1 & 2 of The Handmaid's Tale (2017) as well as directing the feature film, Meadowland (2015). As a cinematographer, Reed is known for her work on Lemonade (2016)...
11. Jenji Kohan
Writer | Orange Is the New Black
Jenji Kohan was born on July 5, 1969 in Los Angeles, California, USA as Jenji Leslie Kohan. She is a writer and producer, known for Orange Is the New Black (2013), Weeds (2005) and Tracey Takes On... (1996). She has been married to Christopher Noxon since 1997. They have three children.
14. 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 ...
15. Laís Bodanzky
Director | Chega de Saudade
Laís Bodanzky made her directorial debut with the short film Red Card, about a girl surrounded by boys discovering her sexuality. This award-winning short was selected for the New York Film Festival in 1995.
She was recognized as a filmmaker with the feature film Brainstorm (2001), a joint ...
16. Chantal Akerman
Director | Je, tu, il, elle
Chantal Akerman was born on June 6, 1950 in Brussels, Belgium as Chantal Anne Akerman. She was a director and writer, known for Je Tu Il Elle (1974), The Meetings of Anna (1978) and A Couch in New York (1996). She was married to Sonia Wieder-Atherton. She died on October 5, 2015 in Paris, France.
18. Greta Gerwig
Writer | Lady Bird
Greta Gerwig is an American actress, playwright, screenwriter, and director. She has collaborated with Noah Baumbach on several films, including Greenberg (2010), Frances Ha (2012), for which she earned a Golden Globe nomination, and Mistress America (2015). Gerwig made her solo directorial debut ...
Director | Suburbia
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 ...
20. 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 ...
21. Dee Rees
Director | Mudbound
Writer/Director Dee Rees is an alumna of New York University's graduate film program and a Sundance Screenwriting & Directing Lab Fellow.
In 2018, Dee became the first Black woman nominated for an Oscar in the Best Adapted Screenplay category for her highly-acclaimed film Mudbound (2017). The film, ...
23. 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 (...
24. Sarah Polley
Actress | The Sweet Hereafter
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 ...
Director | Mustang
In 2011 Ergüven was invited to attend the Cannes Film Festivals Atelier to help develop her project, The Kings. While there she met fellow director Alice Winocour who was there to develop her first feature film Augustine. After Ergüven was unable to find financing for her film Winocour suggested ...
28. 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, ...
29. Vera Chytilová
Director | Dedictví aneb Kurvahosigutntag
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 ...
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....
Director | Panj é asr
Samira Makhmalbaf Filmmaker
Born on February 15,1980 in Tehran. At the age of eight, she played in "The Cyclist" directed by her father, Mohsen Makhmalbaf the celebrated Iranian filmmaker.
At the age of 17, she directed her first feature titled "The Apple" and She went on to become the youngest ...
38. Lynne Ramsay
Director | You Were Never Really Here
Lynne Ramsay was born on December 5, 1969 in Glasgow, Strathclyde, Scotland. She is a director and writer, known for You Were Never Really Here (2017), We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011) and Morvern Callar (2002). She was previously married to Rory Stewart Kinnear.
40. Mai Zetterling
Actress | The Witches
Mai Zetterling was born in Sweden in 1925, and lived briefly in Australia while still a child. She's known as a director and actor and trained on the Stockholm repertory stage, she began appearing in war-era films starting in her teens. Following her debut in Lasse Maja (1941), she made quite an ...
42. Alice Guy
Director | Shadows of the Moulin Rouge
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 ...
43. 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 ...