Best female Directors

by danny-chr-jensen | created - 25 Dec 2014 | updated - 08 Feb 2015 | Public

If you ever had any doubts about the ability of females to direct films, this list should set you straight.

One of my favorites on the list is Lotte Reiniger- An Animation Pioneer.

Good luck with your prejudices.

1. Lotte Reiniger

Director | Silhouetten

Lotte Reiniger was born on June 2, 1899 in Berlin, Germany as Charlotte Reiniger. She is known for her work on Silhouetten (1936), The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926) and Here and There (1949). She was married to Carl Koch. She died on June 19, 1981 in Dettenhausen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany.

2. 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 ...

3. 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), Suzaku (1997) and Still the Water (2014). She was previously married to Takenori Sentô.

4. 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 ...

5. 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...

6. 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...

7. 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, ...

8. 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.

9. Debra Granik

Director | Winter's Bone

Debra Granik (born February 6, 1963) is an American New York City-based independent film and documentary film director and screenwriter. She is most known for 2004's Down to the Bone, which starred Vera Farmiga, 2010's Winter's Bone, which starred Jennifer Lawrence in her breakout performance and ...

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. 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), ...

12. 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...

13. 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 ...

14. 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 ...

15. 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 ...

16. Ann Hui

Director | Nu ren si shi

Born in China in 1947, Ann Hui moved to Hong Kong when she was still in her youth. After graduating in English and Comparative Literature from Hong Kong University, she spent two years at the London Film School. Returning to Hong Kong, she worked as an assistant to director King Hu before joining ...

17. 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).

18. Mary Harron

Director | American Psycho

Mary Harron (born January 12, 1953) is a Canadian filmmaker and screenwriter. She gained recognition for her role in writing and directing several independent films, including I Shot Andy Warhol (1996), American Psycho (2000), and The Notorious Bettie Page (2005). She co-wrote American Psycho and ...

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. 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 ...

21. Pernille Fischer Christensen

Director | En familie

Pernille Fischer Christensen was born on December 24, 1969 in Copenhagen, Denmark. She is a director and writer, known for A Family (2010), A Soap (2006) and Someone You Love (2014).

22. Niki Caro

Director | Whale Rider

Niki Caro is a New Zealand film director and screenwriter, born in 1967. Caro was born in Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand. She was educated first at the Kadimah College in Auckland, and then the Diocesan School for Girls in Auckland. The School is a private girls' school, and ranks ...

23. 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 ...

24. Torill Kove

Animation_department | The Danish Poet

Torill Kove is known for her work on The Danish Poet (2006), My Grandmother Ironed the King's Shirts (1999) and Me and My Moulton (2014).

25. 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 ...

26. 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 ...

27. 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 ...

28. Paprika Steen

Actress | Applaus

In Okay (2002), director and actress Paprika Steen shows off her multi- faceted acting talent as the loud-mouth control-freak Nete. It is Paprika Steen's first major part for which she has already been nominated for The Best Actress Award from the European Film Academy. The actress has won the ...

29. 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...

30. Astrid Henning-Jensen

Director | Vinterbørn

Astrid Henning-Jensen was born on December 10, 1914 in Copenhagen, Denmark as Astrid Smahl. She was a director and writer, known for Winterborn (1978), The Moment (1980) and Boy of Two Worlds (1959). She was married to Bjarne Henning-Jensen. She died on January 5, 2002 in Copenhagen.

31. Rie Rasmussen

Actress | Angel-A

Rie Rasmussen was born in Denmark in 1976 to an artist mother and an Economist father. She was raised in the Danish country in an extended family with nine brothers and sisters. She moved to New York at the age of 15 to paint and has continued to travel ever since. She lived in Huntington Beach ...

32. Claire Denis

Director | High Life

Claire Denis was born on April 21, 1946 in Paris, France. She is a director and writer, known for High Life (2018), Beau travail (1999) and 35 Shots of Rum (2008).

33. 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.

34. Catherine Hardwicke

Director | Twilight

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 Twilight (2008), Thirteen (2003) and Lords of Dogtown (2005).

35. Brit Marling

Actress | Another Earth

Brit Heyworth Marling was born in Chicago, Illinois, to Heidi (Johnson) and John Marling, both of whom work in real estate. She graduated from Georgetown University, with a bachelor's in economics, and was offered a job with Goldman Sachs, which she turned down in favour of a career as an artist.

...

36. 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).

37. 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 ...

38. 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....

39. Lucrecia Martel

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...

40. 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), A Couch in New York (1996) and The Meetings of Anna (1978). She was married to Sonia Wieder-Atherton. She died on October 5, 2015 in Paris, France.

41. 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), Todd McFarlane's Spawn (1997) and Kung Fu Panda (2008).

42. 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 Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018).

43. Haifaa Al-Mansour

Director | Wadjda

Haifaa Al Mansour is the first female filmmaker in Saudi Arabia and is regarded as one of the most significant cinematic figures in the Kingdom. She finished her bachelor's degree in Literature at the American University in Cairo and completed a Master's degree in Directing and Film Studies from ...

44. Barbara Kopple

Director | American Dream

Barbara Kopple was born on July 30, 1946 in New York City, New York, USA. She is a director and producer, known for American Dream (1990), Harlan County U.S.A. (1976) and Shut Up & Sing (2006).

45. Marina de Van

Writer | Dans ma peau

Marina de Van was born in France in 1971, her father being a musicologist. She studied at the Lycée Henri IV and at the Sorbonne University where she earned a degree in philosophy. Then, in 1993 she became a student at the FEMIS, the French school for cinematic studies, where she graduated in 1996....

46. Claudia Llosa

Director | La teta asustada

Claudia Llosa was born on November 15, 1976 in Lima, Peru. She is a director and writer, known for The Milk of Sorrow (2009), Madeinusa (2006) and Loxoro (2012).

47. Phie Ambo

Director | Så meget godt i vente

Phie Ambo (born 1973) was trained at the National Film School of Denmark, graduating as a documentary film director in 2003. Famous for her feature length documentary films true to the tradition of poetic, personal and cinematic language, Ambo deals with essential topics such as family relations, ...

48. Zana Briski

Director | Born Into Brothels: Calcutta's Red Light Kids

Zana Briski was born on October 25, 1966 in London, England. She is a director and writer, known for Born Into Brothels: Calcutta's Red Light Kids (2004), The 77th Annual Academy Awards (2005) and The WIN Awards 2006 (2006).

50. 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).

51. Larisa Shepitko

Director | Voskhozhdenie

Larisa Shepitko was born on January 6, 1938 in Artyomovsk, Ukrainian SSR, USSR as Larisa Yefimovna Shepitko. She was a director and writer, known for The Ascent (1977), Heat (1963) and You and Me (1971). She was married to Elem Klimov. She died on July 2, 1979.

52. Ágnes Hranitzky

Editor | A torinói ló

Ágnes Hranitzky was born on July 4, 1945 in Derecske, Hungary. She is known for her work on The Turin Horse (2011), Werckmeister Harmonies (2000) and The Man from London (2007). She is married to Béla Tarr.

53. Nanette Burstein

Director | On the Ropes

Nanette Burstein was born on May 23, 1970 in Buffalo, New York, USA. She is a director and producer, known for On the Ropes (1999), American Teen (2008) and Going the Distance (2010). She is married to Scott Anderson (XV).



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