by yrnej | created - 21 Sep 2016 | updated - 25 Sep 2016 | Public

While the mainstream directing world has not been particularly inclusive of women, they have made more inroads with documentary features. Which of these celebrated female documentarians has done the most compelling work?

Discuss the list here

1. 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.

No Home Movie Down There From the Other Side Sud From the East Les années 80 News from Home Hôtel Monterey

2. Amy Berg

Producer | Deliver Us from Evil

Amy Berg was born in Los Angeles, California, USA. She is a producer and director, known for Deliver Us from Evil (2006), West of Memphis (2012) and Janis: Little Girl Blue (2015).

Janis: Little Girl Blue Prophet's Prey An Open Secret Every Secret Thing West of Memphis Deliver Us from Evil

3. Joan Churchill

Camera_department | Soldier Girls

Joan Churchill is known for her work on Soldier Girls (1981), Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer (2003) and Lily Tomlin (1986). She is married to Alan Barker. She was previously married to Nick Broomfield.

Sarah Palin: You Betcha! Aileen: Life and Death of a Serial Killer Juvenile Liaison 2 Lily Tomlin Soldier Girls Tattooed Tears Juvenile Liaison

4. Deborah Dickson

Director | Ruthie and Connie: Every Room in the House

Deborah Dickson is a director and producer, known for Ruthie and Connie: Every Room in the House (2002), America Undercover (1983) and Christo in Paris (1990).

The Lost Bird Project Ruthie and Connie: Every Room in the House Suzanne Farrell: Elusive Muse Letting Go: A Hospice Journey Christo in Paris Dancing for Mr. B: Six Balanchine Ballerinas

5. Heidi Ewing

Director | The Boys of Baraka

Heidi Ewing is a director and producer known for Jesus Camp (2006), The Boys of Baraka (2005), Detropia (2012) ,12th &Delaware (2010), Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You (2016), One of Us (2017) and Freakonomics (2010). She is currently completing her (currently untitled) first narrative ...

Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You Detropia Freakonomics 12th & Delaware Jesus Camp The Boys of Baraka

6. Connie Field

Producer | The Life and Times of Rosie the Riveter

Academy Award nominated and Emmy winning director Connie Field is a pioneering social documentary filmmaker. Before getting involved in film she worked as an organizer in many social and human rights organizations where she established her commitment to progressive social change which she has ...

Al Helm: Martin Luther King in Palestine Have You Heard From Johannesburg Salud Freedom on My Mind

Wagner's Dream Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare LaLee's Kin: The Legacy of Cotton Concert of Wills: Making the Getty Center Letting Go: A Hospice Journey Soldiers of Music Christo in Paris Horowitz Plays Mozart

8. Liz Garbus

Producer | The Farm: Angola, USA

Liz Garbus was born as Elizabeth Freya Garbus. She is a producer and director, known for The Farm: Angola, USA (1998), What Happened, Miss Simone? (2015) and Girlhood (2003).

Nothing Left Unsaid: Gloria Vanderbilt & Anderson Cooper What Happened, Miss Simone? Love, Marilyn There's Something Wrong with Aunt Diane Bobby Fischer Against the World Shouting Fire: Stories from the Edge of Free Speech Coma Yo soy Boricua, pa'que tu lo sepas! Girlhood The Nazi Officer's Wife The Execution of Wanda Jean The Farm: Angola, U.S.A.

9. Rachel Grady

Director | The Boys of Baraka

Rachel Grady is a director and producer, known for The Boys of Baraka (2005), Jesus Camp (2006) and Detropia (2012).

Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You The Education of Mohammad Hussein Detropia Freakonomics 12th & Delaware Jesus Camp The Boys of Baraka

10. Chris Hegedus

Director |

Chris Hegedus was born in 1952 as Christine Louise Hegedus. She is a director and editor, known for (2001), Unlocking the Cage (2016) and The War Room (1993). She has been married to D.A. Pennebaker since April 3, 1982. They have two children.

Unlocking the Cage Kings of Pastry Al Franken: God Spoke Only the Strong Survive Down from the Mountain Moon Over Broadway The War Room Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock Branford Marsalis: The Music Tells You Depeche Mode: 101 Jimi Plays Monterey Rockaby DeLorean Town Bloody Hall

11. Rory Kennedy

Producer | American Hollow

Rory Kennedy was born on December 12, 1968 in Washington, District of Columbia, USA as Rory Elizabeth Katherine Kennedy. She is a producer and director, known for American Hollow (1999), Ghosts of Abu Ghraib (2007) and Last Days in Vietnam (2014). She has been married to Mark Bailey since August 2,...

Last Days in Vietnam Ethel Ghosts of Abu Ghraib A Boy's Life American Hollow

12. 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).

Miss Sharon Jones! We the Economy: 20 Short Films You Can't Afford to Miss Running from Crazy Shut Up & Sing My Generation Wild Man Blues American Dream - Oscar winner Harlan County, USA - Oscar winner

13. Kim Longinotto

Director | Sisters in Law

Kim Longinotto was born in 1952 in London, England. She is a director and cinematographer, known for Sisters in Law (2005), Gaea Girls (2000) and Pink Saris (2010).

Dreamcatcher Love Is All: 100 Years of Love & Courtship Salma Pink Saris Rough Aunties Hold Me Tight, Let Me Go Sisters in Law The Day I Will Never Forget Runaway Gaea Girls Divorce Iranian Style Shinjuku Boys

14. Freida Lee Mock

Producer | Return with Honor

Freida Lee Mock is a producer and director, known for Return with Honor (1998), Anita (2013) and Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision (1994). She is married to Terry Sanders.

Anita G-Dog Wrestling with Angels: Playwright Tony Kushner Return with Honor Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision - Oscar winner

15. Jehane Noujaim

Producer | Control Room

Jehane Noujaim was born on May 17, 1974 in Cairo, Egypt. She is a producer and director, known for Control Room (2004), (2001) and The Square (2013).

The Square Rafea: Solar Mama Control Room

16. Michèle Ohayon

Director | Colors Straight Up

Michele Ohayon is an award winning director, writer and producer. Born in Casablanca and raised in Israel, Michele graduated from Tel Aviv University (Film & Television), after serving in the army. Her critically acclaimed feature documentaries include: It was a Wonderful Life (1987, narrated by ...

Steal a Pencil for Me Cowboy del Amor Colors Straight Up It Was a Wonderful Life

17. Laura Poitras

Producer | Citizenfour

Laura Poitras was born on February 2, 1964 in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. She is a producer and cinematographer, known for Citizenfour (2014), The Oath (2010) and My Country, My Country (2006).

Risk Citizenfour - Oscar winner The Oath My Country, My Country Flag Wars

Missing Young Woman Corpus The Devil Never Sleeps Las madres de la Plaza de Mayo

19. 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...

Victory of the Faith Triumph of the Will Olympia Part One: Festival of the Nations Olympia Part Two: Festival of Beauty

20. Nina Rosenblum

Director | America and Lewis Hine

Daughter of Walter Rosenblum, photographer and World War II Signal Corps cameraman, and Naomi Rosenblum, photographic historian, and daughter-in-law of actress Maureen Stapleton.

Lock-Up: The Prisoners of Rikers Island Liberators: Fighting on Two Fronts in World War II Through the Wire America and Lewis Hine

21. Ondi Timoner

Director | Mapplethorpe

ONDI TIMONER has the rare distinction of winning the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival twice - for her 2004 documentary, DIG!, and her 2009 top prize-winner, WE LIVE IN PUBLIC. Other award-winning features include: THE NATURE OF THE BEAST (1994), JOIN US (2007), COOL IT (2010) and ...

Brand: A Second Coming Cool It We Live in Public Join Us Dig!

22. 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.

The Beaches of Agnès Cinévardaphoto The Gleaners and I: Two Years Later The Gleaners & I The World of Jacques Demy Les demoiselles ont eu 25 ans Mur murs Daguerréotypes

23. Lucy Walker

Director | The Crash Reel

Lucy Walker was born in London, England. She is a director and producer, known for The Crash Reel (2013), Waste Land (2010) and Blindsight (2006).

The Crash Reel The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom Countdown to Zero Waste Land Blindsight Devil's Playground

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