Women (Narrative) Directors + Showrunners to Watchby johnson-andrea-m | created - 27 Sep 2015 | updated - 17 Jul 2017 | Public
1. 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 ...
Seen: Falling Leaves, La vie du Christ
2. Amma Asante
Director | Belle
Amma Asante is a screenwriter and director, known for Belle (2013), and A Way of Life (2004). She is a former child actress, who began her writing career at the age of 23 with a script deals from both Channel 4 in the UK and BBC. Her first movie, A Way of Life, which she wrote and directed won her ...
3. Ava DuVernay
Producer | Queen Sugar
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 ...
Writer | Edward Scissorhands
Caroline Thompson was born on April 23, 1956 in Washington, District of Columbia, USA. She is a writer and producer, known for Edward Scissorhands (1990), The Addams Family (1991) and Corpse Bride (2005). She is married to Steve Nicolaides. She was previously married to Henry Bromell.
Seen: Black Beauty
Director | Call the Midwife
She has an English mother and Chinese Jamaican father.
Seen: Call the Midwife [TV]
7. Heidi Thomas
Writer | Call the Midwife
Heidi Thomas was born in 1962 in Liverpool, Merseyside, England. She is a writer and producer, known for Call the Midwife (2012), Cranford (2007) and Lilies (2007). She is married to Stephen McGann. They have one child.
Seen: Ballet Shoes, Call the Midwife [TV]
Director | The Governess
Has directed many major commercials for Absolute Vodka, The Observer, Philips, Evian, Wella, Johnny Walker and Baileys. She also directed various arts documentaries for the BBC series 'Building Sights' and two documentaries on the world of boxing for Channel Four. She wrote and directed her first ...
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...
Seen: Bright Star, The Piano
10. Jenji Kohan
Producer | 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 producer and writer, 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.
Seen: Orange is the New Black [TV]
11. Jennifer Lee
Writer | Frozen
12. Juliet May
Director | Miranda
Seen: Call the Midwife [TV]
13. 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 ...
Seen: K-9 The Widowmaker
Writer | Durham County
Films/TV Seen: Strange Empire [TV]
15. Marielle Heller
Director | The Diary of a Teenage Girl
Marielle Heller is a writer, director and actor. She was selected as a 2012 Sundance Screenwriting Fellow and 2012 Sundance Directing Fellow, and was honored with the Lynn Auerbach Screenwriting Fellowship, and The Maryland Film Festival Fellowship. Her writing credits include pilots for ABC and ...
16. Mimi Leder
Director | On the Basis of Sex
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 On the Basis of Sex (2018), The Leftovers (2014) and Deep Impact (1998). She is married to Gary Werntz. They have one child.
Seen: The Peacemaker, Deep Impact
17. Minkie Spiro
Director | Rat Women
Minkie is a Fulbright scholar who graduated with a First Class Honours degree from Central St. Martins School in London. She began her professional life as a photographer, her work being exhibited internationally. She would go on to complete a Masters degree in Film Directing at the Royal College ...
Seen: Call the Midwife [TV]
18. 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 ...
Seen: The Killing [TV], Monster
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 ...
Seen: The Killing [TV], Copying Beethoven
20. Veena Sud
Producer | The Killing
Seen: The Killing [TV]
21. Thea Sharrock
Director | Me Before You
Seen: The Hollow Crown (Henry V) [TV], Call the Midwife [TV]
22. 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 ...
Seen: Little Miss Sunshine
23. Lana Wachowski
Writer | The Matrix
Lana Wachowski and her sister Lilly Wachowski, (also known as 'The Wachowskis') are the duo behind ground-breaking movies such as The Matrix (1999) and Cloud Atlas (2012). Born to mother Lynne, a nurse, and father Ron, a businessman of Polish descent, Wachowski grew up in Chicago and formed a tight...
Seen: The Matrix, Jupiter Ascending, Sense8 [TV]
24. 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, ...
25. Marianna Palka
Actress | Good Dick
Multi award-winning multi hyphen Palka was born and brought up in Glasgow and moved to New York City at age 17 to study at the Atlantic Theater Company. She studied Suzuki movement for actors, knows how to do any accent, has theater voice projection and is known for being the kindest most ...
27. 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 ...
31. Deepa Mehta
Director | Fire
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 ...
32. 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 ...
33. 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 ...
34. 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), The Notorious Bettie Page (2005) and Alias Grace (2017). She has been married to John Walsh since August 15, 1998. They have two children.
36. 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 ...
39. Maren Ade
Producer | Toni Erdmann
Maren Ade was born in Karlsruhe on 12 December 1976 to a couple of teachers.She studied cinema at Munich's Hochschule für Fernsehen und Film. As of 2001 she co-founded, together with Janine Jackowski, a fellow graduate from HFF, the "Komplizen" film company. It is through Komplizen that Maren would...
43. Megan Griffiths
Director | Lucky Them
Megan Griffiths is a writer/director working in film and television. She recently directed two episodes of the Duplass Brothers' HBO anthology series Room 104 and an episode of the Epix comedy Graves, starring Nick Nolte. Prior to this, she wrote and directed the thriller The Night Stalker, ...
45. Zoya Akhtar
Writer | Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara
Born in Mumbai on 14th October 1972, Zoya Akhtar hails from one of the most talented film families in the country. After completing a diploma in filmmaking from NYU, she assisted directors like Mira Nair, Tony Gerber, and Dev Benegal, before turning Writer-Director in her own right.
She has directed...
51. 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 (...
52. 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 ...
Seen: Arrow [TV]
53. Drew Barrymore
Producer | Never Been Kissed
Since melting audiences' hearts - at the age of six - in Steven Spielberg's beloved sci-fi blockbuster, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), Drew Barrymore has emerged as one of the most endearing and talented actresses of her generation.
Drew Blyth Barrymore was born in Culver City, California, to ...
55. 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 and director, 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.
58. Phyllida Lloyd
Director | Mamma Mia!
Seen: Mamma Mia!
59. 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), ...
60. Allison Anders
Director | Gas, Food Lodging
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...
63. Daina Reid
Seen: Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries [TV]
Producer | Breaking Bad
Seen: Game of Thrones [TV]
65. Debbie Allen
Actress | Fame
Deborah Kaye Allen was born in Houston, Texas, to African-American parents, Vivian Elizabeth (Ayers), a poet and art director, and Andrew Arthur Allen, an orthodontist. As a child, Debbie, her older brother, Andrew (called Tex), and her older sister, actress Phylicia Rashad, lived in Mexico to ...
Seen: How to Get Away With Murder [TV]
66. Patricia Riggen
Director | The 33
Patricia Riggen was born on June 2, 1970 in Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico. She is a director and producer, known for The 33 (2015), La milpa (2002) and Girl in Progress (2012). She is married to Checco Varese. They have one child.
Seen: Miss Representation
67. Larysa Kondracki
Director | The Whistleblower
Larysa Kondracki was born in Toronto and studied English and theater at McGill University. She received an M.F.A. in film direction from Columbia University and directed the short film VIKO (2008) which played mainly at film festivals to widespread acclaim. The WHISTLEBLOWER is her first feature ...
Seen: The Whistleblower
68. Mary McGuckian
Producer | Best
Born and brought up in Northern Ireland during the 'troubles', Mary McGuckian completed her formal education in the Republic of Ireland at Trinity College Dublin, where she took a degree in engineering. During this time that she became involved with 'Trinity Players', appearing in over 30 ...
Seen: Man On the Train
69. Patricia Rozema
Director | Into the Forest
Seen: Mansfield Park
70. 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 ...
Seen: Vanity Fair
Director | A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Ana Lily Amirpour was born on July 25, 1976 in Margate, Kent, England. She is a director and writer, known for A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014), The Bad Batch (2016) and A Little Suicide (2012).
Seen: A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night
Director | One for the Money
Julie Anne Robinson is a BAFTA and Golden Globe-nominated director. Julie Anne has directed various network pilots that have gone to series, including "The Middle" and "Selfie".
Her American television credits include a variety of episodic work including "Nurse Jackie", "Brooklyn Nine-Nine", "...
Seen: One for the Money, Orange is the New Black [TV]
73. Sharon Maguire
Director | Bridget Jones's Baby
Sharon Maguire was born on November 28, 1960 in Aberystwyth, Cardiganshire, Wales. She is a director and producer, known for Bridget Jones's Baby (2016), Bridget Jones's Diary (2001) and Incendiary (2008).
Seen: Bridget Jones's Diary
Director | My Brilliant Career
Gillian Armstrong was born on December 18, 1950 in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia as Gillian May Armstrong. She is a director and producer, known for My Brilliant Career (1979), Not Fourteen Again (1996) and Little Women (1994). She is married to John Pleffer. They have two children.
Seen: Little Women
77. Letia Clouston
Director | The Midwife's Deception
Letia Clouston is a native of Paducah, KY. After receiving a BFA in Theatre at Stephens College and being classically trained at the British American Dramatic Academy at Oxford University, Letia moved to Los Angeles to earn an MFA in Directing at the American Film Institute, where she directed ...
78. S.J. Clarkson
Director | The Defenders
Seen: Jessica Jones [TV]
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.
Seen: Twilight, Jessica Jones [TV]
80. Sian Heder
Writer | Orange Is the New Black
Seen: Orange is the New Black [TV]
82. Susanne Bier
Director | Hævnen
Though Academy Award®, Golden Globe Award and Emmy Award winning writer and director Susanne Bier's films often play out against a wide-reaching global backdrop, their focus is intimate, carefully exploring the explosive emotions and complexities of familial bonds. This unique combination is part ...
Seen: The Night Manager [TV]
83. Susanna White
Director | Bleak House
Seen: Bleak House (BBC mini-series) [TV], Jane Eyre [TV]
84. Anna Foerster
Director | Underworld: Blood Wars
Seen: Call the Midwife [TV]
Director | Mad Men
Seen: The Killing [TV], How to Get Away With Murder [TV], Agent Carter [TV], Orange is the New Black [TV]
86. Nicole Kassell
Director | The Woodsman
Nicole Kassell received a BA from Columbia University in Art History and an MFA from NYU's Film Program, where she was honored with full scholarships for two years. Her short film, "Jaime," won the DGA student female filmmaker prize, and her thesis film, "The Green Hour," premiered at the Sundance ...
Seen: The Killing [TV]
87. Sanaa Hamri
Director | Empire
Sanaa Hamri is a renowned film director from Tangier, Morocco. Her feature directorial debut was the romantic comedy Something New for Focus Features in 2006, followed by her second directorial effort, the sequel to the Warner Bros.' hit The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, then onto the Fox ...
Seen: Elementary [TV]
88. Aisling Walsh
Director | Song for a Raggy Boy
Aisling Walsh studied Fine Art at the Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art Design and Technology. There was no film course there at that time but there was a film appreciation society that she joined and through this she developed an interest in filmmaking and started making her own short movies. The ...
Seen: Wallander [TV], Fingersmith [TV]