female directors and writers

by nadinefischer | created - 10 months ago | updated - 6 months ago | Public

1. 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 ...

2. 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 ...

3. 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 ...

4. 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 ...

5. 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, ...

6. 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...

7. 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.

8. 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).

9. 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).

10. 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 ...

11. Jennifer Kent

Director | The Babadook

Jennifer Kent is an actress and director, known for The Babadook (2014), The Nightingale (2018) and Monster (2005).

12. 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 ...

13. Niki Caro

Director | Whale Rider

Niki Caro was born in 1967 in Wellington, New Zealand. She is a director and writer, known for Whale Rider (2002), The Zookeeper's Wife (2017) and McFarland, USA (2015).

14. 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 ...

15. Karyn Kusama

Director | The Invitation

Karyn Kusama was born on March 21, 1968 in Brooklyn, New York, USA as Karyn K. Kusama. She is a director and writer, known for The Invitation (2015), Girlfight (2000) and Æon Flux (2005).

16. 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 Todd McFarlane's Spawn (1997).

17. 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.

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. 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 ...

20. 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 ...

21. 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 ...

22. Debra Granik

Director | Leave No Trace

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 ...

23. 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).

24. 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.

25. 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), ...

26. Gina Prince-Bythewood

Writer | Shots Fired

Gina Prince-Bythewood wrote and directed the widely acclaimed feature film Love & Basketball (2000) which premiered at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival. She won an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature and a Humanitas Prize for her work on the film. Her other directing credits include ...

27. 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), Can You Ever Forgive Me? (2018) and Please Give (2010). She was previously married to Benjamin Allanoff.

28. 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 1985, ...

29. Penelope Spheeris

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 ...

30. Lina Wertmüller

Writer | Pasqualino Settebellezze

Lina Wertmüller was born on August 14, 1928 in Rome, Lazio, Italy as Arcangela Felice Assunta Wertmüller von Elgg Spañol von Braueich. She is a writer and director, known for Seven Beauties (1975), The Basilisks (1963) and Swept Away (1974). She was previously married to Enrico Job.

31. 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...

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. Jill Soloway

Producer | Transparent

Jill Soloway was born on September 26, 1965 in Chicago, Illinois, USA. She is a producer and writer, known for Transparent (2014), Six Feet Under (2001) and Afternoon Delight (2013). She was previously married to Bruce Gilbert.

34. 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 ...

35. Josephine Decker

Director | Thou Wast Mild and Lovely

Josephine Decker is an actress and director, known for Thou Wast Mild and Lovely (2014), Madeline's Madeline (2018) and Collective: Unconscious (2016).

36. 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 ...

37. 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, ...

38. 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 ...

39. 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 ...

40. Michelle MacLaren

Producer | Breaking Bad

Michelle MacLaren was born in 1965 in Canada. She is a producer and director, known for Breaking Bad (2008), The Walking Dead (2010) and Game of Thrones (2011).

41. Susanna Fogel

Writer | The Spy Who Dumped Me

Susanna Fogel is a writer and producer, known for The Spy Who Dumped Me (2018), Life Partners (2014) and Booksmart (2019).

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. Desiree Akhavan

Actress | Appropriate Behavior

Desiree Akhavan was born in 1984 in New York City, New York, USA. She is an actress and writer, known for Appropriate Behaviour (2014), The Miseducation of Cameron Post (2018) and The Bisexual (2018).

44. Josie Rourke

Director | Mary Queen of Scots

Josie is the Artistic Director of the Donmar Warehouse. Her productions have transferred to Broadway, the West-End and won Olivier Awards. Her shows have been translated into live cinema broadcasts, including Coriolanus with Tom Hiddleston, Les Liaisons Dangereuses with Janet McTeer and Dominic ...

45. Thea Sharrock

Director | Me Before You

Thea Sharrock is a director and writer, known for Me Before You (2016), The Hollow Crown (2012) and The Selection.

46. 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 ...

47. Debra Granik

Director | Leave No Trace

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 ...

48. Jennifer Fox

Producer | The Tale

Jennifer Fox is a producer and director, known for The Tale (2018), Beirut: The Last Home Movie (1987) and My Reincarnation (2011).

49. 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).

50. Kelly Fremon Craig

Writer | The Edge of Seventeen

Kelly Fremon Craig is a writer and director from Whittier, California. She made her directorial debut with The Edge of Seventeen. James L. Brooks' Gracie Films acquired the project in 2012, and developed the screenplay with Fremon Craig. She graduated from UC Irvine with an English degree. Fremon ...

51. Anna Foerster

Director | Underworld: Blood Wars

Anna Foerster is known for her work on Underworld: Blood Wars (2016), Outlander (2014) and The Day After Tomorrow (2004).

52. Ry Russo-Young

Director | You Wont Miss Me

Ry Russo-Young was born on November 16, 1981 in New York City, New York, USA. She is a director and actress, known for You Wont Miss Me (2009), Babes in Toyland (2003) and Nobody Walks (2012). She has been married to Colin Spoelman since June 7, 2014.

53. Stella Meghie

Director | Jean of the Joneses

Stella Meghie is a director and writer, known for Jean of the Joneses (2016).

54. Angela Robinson

Writer | D.E.B.S.

Angela Robinson was born on February 14, 1971 in Chicago, Illinois, USA. She is a producer and writer, known for D.E.B.S. (2004), D.E.B.S. (2003) and Professor Marston and the Wonder Women (2017). She is married to Alexandra Kondracke. They have one child.

55. Sara Colangelo

Director | Little Accidents

Sara Colangelo is an award-winning writer and director. Her first film, the short documentary Halal Vivero, was a National Finalist at the 2006 Student Academy Awards, and her narrative short, Un Attimo di Respiro, screened at over fifteen national and international film festivals including Tribeca...

56. Bethany Ashton Wolf

Writer | Forever My Girl

Wolf, born and raised in Louisiana, has been a working screenwriter and feature film director in Los Angeles for the past 15 years. She began pursuing her career as a female filmmaker quite young, going against the grain in Hollywood for that choice at the time. She began working in the indie world...

57. Deniz Gamze Ergüven

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 ...

58. 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 ...

59. 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).

60. Anne Fontaine

Writer | Coco avant Chanel

Anne Fontaine was born on July 15, 1959 in Luxembourg as Anne Sibertin-Blanc. She is an actress and writer, known for Coco Before Chanel (2009), The Innocents (2016) and Reinventing Marvin (2017). She is married to Philippe Carcassonne. They have one child.

61. Kate Dennis

Cliffhanger

Kate Dennis is known for her work on Cliffhanger (1993), The Handmaid's Tale (2017) and Secrets & Lies (2014).

62. Kari Skogland

Director | Fifty Dead Men Walking

Award-winning director and show runner Kari Skogland is CEO of Mad Rabbit, a joint venture between her and Red Arrow Entertainment Group. As CEO, Skogland is committed to producing high-end one-hour dramas for the international market for the company, which launched in Spring 2016.

Named by ...

63. Harry Wootliff

Writer | Nits

Harry Wootliff was born in Leeds, Yorkshire, England. She is a writer and director, known for Nits (2004), Only You (2018) and Coming Up (2003).

64. Nicole Taylor

Writer | Three Girls

Nicole Taylor is a writer, known for Three Girls (2017), Scott & Bailey (2011) and The Hour (2011).

65. Amy Sherman-Palladino

Writer | The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

An only child, Amy Sherman-Palladino is daughter to comedian Don Sherman & dancer Maybin Hewes.

Originally a dancer herself, Palladino had initially received a callback to the musical Cats, while also having a possible writing position on the staff of Roseanne in rotation. When she and writing ...

66. Katarzyna Klimkiewicz

Director | La isla

Film & TV director. Her short HANOI-WARSAW was named Best Short by the European Film Academy in 2010. Kasia's feature debut FLYING BLIND, starring Helen McCrory, premiered at the Edinburgh Film Festival.

Her second short LA ISLA won Golden Danzante at Huesca Film Festival and Tiger Award for Short ...

68. Christina Choe

Director | Nancy

Christina Choe is an American filmmaker whose 2011 short film, I am John Wayne, won the Grand Jury Prize at the Slamdance Film Festival and screened at dozens of festivals around the world. Choe's documentary series Welcome to the DPRK, a personal portrait of North Korea, was recently acquired and ...

69. Dominga Sotomayor Castillo

Writer | De Jueves a Domingo

Dominga Sotomayor Castillo was born in 1986 in Chile. She is a producer and writer, known for Thursday Till Sunday (2012), Too Late to Die Young (2018) and La isla (2013).

71. 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 ...

72. Niki Caro

Director | Whale Rider

Niki Caro was born in 1967 in Wellington, New Zealand. She is a director and writer, known for Whale Rider (2002), The Zookeeper's Wife (2017) and McFarland, USA (2015).



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