Women Filmmakers

by eh_coghlan | created - 01 Oct 2015 | updated - 26 Feb 2017 | Public

1. 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.

2. 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).

3. Céline Sciamma

Writer | Bande de filles

Céline Sciamma was born on November 12, 1980 in Pontoise, Val-d'Oise, France. She is a writer and director, known for Bande de filles (2014), Naissance des pieuvres (2007) and Tomboy (2011).

4. 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).

5. 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 ...

6. 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...

7. Chantal Akerman

Director | Un divan à New York

Chantal Akerman was born on June 6, 1950 in Brussels, Belgium as Chantal Anne Akerman. She was a director and writer, known for Un divan à New York (1996), Je, tu, il, elle (1974) and Les rendez-vous d'Anna (1978). She was married to Sonia Wieder-Atherton. She died on October 5, 2015 in ...

8. Sofia Coppola

Actress | The Godfather: Part III

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 ...

9. Jennifer Phang

Director | Advantageous

A Berkeley-born daughter of Chinese-Malaysian and Vietnamese heritage, Jennifer Phang is a graduate of the MFA Directing program at the American Film Institute.

Her sophomore feature Advantageous won a Jury Prize at Sundance 2015 and was based on her award winning Futurestates short Advantageous (...

10. 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 ...

11. Alante Kavaite

Writer | Sangailes vasara

Alante Kavaite was born in 1973 in Vilnius, Lithuanian SSR, USSR as Alante Kavaliauskaite. She is a writer and director, known for Sangailes vasara (2015), Écoute le temps (2006) and Évolution (2015).

12. Ana Lily Amirpour

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).

13. Gia Coppola

Director | Palo Alto

Gia Coppola was born on January 1, 1987 in Los Angeles, California, USA as Giancarla Coppola. She is a director and actress, known for Palo Alto (2013), Somewhere (2010) and New York Stories (1989).

14. Sarah Gavron

Director | Suffragette

Sarah Gavron is a director, known for Suffragette (2015), Brick Lane (2007) and Losing Touch (2000).

15. 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 ...

16. 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 ...

17. 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 ...

18. Mary Harron

Director | American Psycho

Mary Harron was born on January 12, 1953 in Bracebridge, Ontario, Canada. She is a director and producer, known for American Psycho (2000), I Shot Andy Warhol (1996) and The Moth Diaries (2011). She has been married to John Walsh since August 15, 1998. They have two children.

19. 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).

20. 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 ...

21. 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, ...

22. Gillian Robespierre

Director | Obvious Child

Gillian Robespierre was born on June 29, 1978 in Brooklyn, New York, USA. She is a director and writer, known for Obvious Child (2014), Landline (2017) and Untitled Divorce Comedy.

23. Robin Wright

Actress | Forrest Gump

Robin Gayle Wright was born in Dallas, Texas, to Gayle (Gaston), a national director at Mary Kay, and Freddie Wright, a pharmaceutical executive. She grew up in San Diego, California. She started her professional career as a model in 1980 at age 14, and worked both in Paris and Japan. After ...

24. Athina Rachel Tsangari

Producer | Attenberg

Athina Rachel Tsangari was born on April 2, 1966 in Athens, Greece. She is a producer and director, known for Attenberg (2010), Chevalier (2015) and The Slow Business of Going (2000).

25. Crystal Moselle

Director | The Wolfpack

Crystal Moselle was born on August 1, 1980 in San Francisco, California, USA as Sierra Ditson Moselle. She is a director and producer, known for The Wolfpack (2015), Skate Kitchen (2018) and Frida (2002).

26. 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 ...

27. 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.

28. 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 ...

29. 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 ...

30. 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 ...

31. Julie Dash

Director | Daughters of the Dust

Julie Dash was born on October 22, 1952 in Queens, New York, USA. She is a director and writer, known for Daughters of the Dust (1991), The Rosa Parks Story (2002) and Funny Valentines (1999).

32. 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...

33. Claire Denis

Director | Beau travail

Claire Denis was born on April 21, 1946 in Paris, France. She is a director and writer, known for Beau travail (1999), 35 Shots of Rum (2008) and Nenette and Boni (1996).

34. 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.

35. 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 ...

36. 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...

37. 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), ...

38. Penny Marshall

Actress | Laverne & Shirley

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 ...

39. Dorothy Arzner

Writer | Breed of the Border

Dorothy Arzner, the only woman director during the "Golden Age" of Hollywood's studio system--from the 1920s to the early 1940s and the woman director with the largest oeuvre in Hollywood to this day--was born January 3, 1897 (some sources put the year as 1900), in San Francisco, California, to a ...

40. Naomi Kawase

Director | An

Naomi Kawase was born on May 30, 1969 in Nara, Japan. She is a director and writer, known for Sweet Bean (2015), Futatsume no mado (2014) and Mogari no mori (2007). She was previously married to Takenori Sentô.

41. Mika Ninagawa

Director | Herutâ sukerutâ

Mika Ninagawa was born on October 18, 1972 in Chofu, Japan. She is known for her work on Herutâ sukerutâ (2012), Sakuran (2006) and Innocento warudo (1998).

42. Angelina Jolie

Actress | Maleficent

Angelina Jolie is an Academy Award-winning actress who became popular after playing the title role in the "Lara Croft" blockbuster movies, as well as Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005), Wanted (2008), Salt (2010) and Maleficent (2014). Off-screen, Jolie has become prominently involved in international ...

43. Phyllida Lloyd

Director | Mamma Mia!

Leading British theatre director, particularly praised for her work in opera.

44. 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. 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 ...

47. Jennifer Lee

Writer | Frozen

Jennifer Lee was born on October 22, 1971 in Barrington. Rhode Island, USA as Jennifer Michelle Rebecchi. She is known for her work on Frozen (2013), Wreck-It Ralph (2012) and Zootopia (2016).

48. Jennifer Yuh Nelson

Director | Kung Fu Panda 2

Jennifer Yuh Nelson was born on May 7, 1972 in South Korea. She is known for her work on Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011), Kung Fu Panda (2008) and Dark City (1998).

49. Gabriela Cowperthwaite

Producer | Blackfish

Gabriela Cowperthwaite is a producer and director, known for Blackfish (2013), Megan Leavey (2017) and City Lax: An Urban Lacrosse Story (2010).