52 Films From 52 Women Directors

500 Days Of Film Reviews 52 Films By 52 Female Directors

Ask any female film director and they will tell you that they don’t want any special treatment. They don’t want attention simply for being a woman. They would far prefer to let their work speak for itself - and in an ideal world it would. 

 

Sadly, we don’t live in an ideal world. Women film directors are woefully represented on our cinema screens and a remarkable prejudice still exists around the types of stories that women can tell and the box office potential of female led films.

 

As a result, I wanted to highlight 52 fabulous female directors that I have encountered since embarking on my 500 Days Of Film Challenge. Why 52, you may ask. Well, this list was partly inspired by Women In Film’s campaign to encourage film lovers to watch a movie from a female director every week for a year. 

 

There are, of course, many more wonderful women directors. In addition, the directors featured below have made lots of other brilliant films. Perhaps consider this list as a starting point. If it introduces you to even one new filmmaker it will have more than served its purpose.

52 Women Directors (in alphabetical order)

Choosing just one film from these 52 fabulous filmmakers has proved rather tricky. In some cases I have cheated and added some honourable mentions (apologies if I have missed films off this list - it is a work in progress!).

 

Maren Ade

Film: Toni Erdmann

Year: 2016

Genre: Comedy/Drama

Ana Lily Amirpour

Film: A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night

Year: 2015

Genre: Horror

Andrea Arnold

Film: American Honey

Year: 2016

Genre: Drama

Honourable Mentions: Fish Tank, Red Road

Amma Asante

Film: Belle

Year: 2013

Genre: Drama/Real Life

Honourable Mentions: A United Kingdom

Houda Benyamina

Film: Divines

Year: 2016

Genre: Drama 

Amy Berg

Film: West Of Memphis

Year: 2012

Genre: Documentary

Honourable Mentions: Deliver Us From Evil, Janis: Little Girl Blue

Clio Bernard

Film: The Selfish Giant

Year: 2013

Genre: Drama

Honourable Mentions: The Arbor

Kathryn Bigelow

Film: The Hurt Locker

Year: 2008

Genre: War/Drama

Honourable Mentions: Near Dark, Point Break, Zero Dark Thirty

Anna Biller

Film: The Love Witch

Year: 2017

Genre: Comedy/Horror 

Anna Boden

Film: Mississippi Grind

Year: 2015

Genre: Drama

Honourable Mentions: It's Kind Of A Funny Story

Jane Campion

Film: Bright Star

Year: 2009

Genre: Drama

Honourable Mentions: The Piano

Niki Caro

Film: Whale Rider

Year: 2002

Genre: Drama

Honourable Mentions: McFarland, USA

Lisa Cholodenko

Film: The Kids Are Alright

Year: 2010

Genre: Drama

Gabriela Coperthwaite

Film: Blackfish

Year: 2013

Genre: Documentary

Sofia Coppola

Film: Lost In Translation

Year: 2003

Genre: Drama

Honourable Mentions: The Virgin Suicides

Claire Denis

Film: Beau Travail

Year: 1999

Genre: Drama

Honourable Mentions: White Material

Julia Ducournau

Film: Raw

Year: 2017

Genre: Horror/Drama

Ava DuVernay

Film: 13th

Year: 2016

Genre: Documentary

Honourable Mentions: Selma

Nora Ephron

Film: Sleepless In Seattle

Year: 1993

Genre: Romance

Honourable Mentions: You've Got Mail, Julie & Julia

Jodie Foster

Film: Money Monster

Year: 2016

Genre: Drama/Thriller

Kelly Freemon Craig

Film: The Edge Of 17

Year: 2016

Genre: Comedy/Drama

Deniz Gamze Erguven

Film: Mustang

Year: 2016

Genre: Drama

Liz Garbus

Film: What Happened, Miss Simone?

Year: 2015

Genre: Documentary

Honourable Mentions: Bobby Fischer Against The World

Debra Granik

Film: Winter's Bone

Year: 2010

Genre: Thriller/Drama

Mia Hansen Love

Film: Things To Come

Year: 2010

Genre: Drama

Honourable Mentions: Eden

Catherine Hardwicke

Film: Miss You Already

Year: 2016

Genre: Drama

Honourable Mentions: Twilight

Mary Harron

Film: American Psycho

Year: 2000

Genre: Crime/Drama

Sian Heder

Film: Tallulah

Year: 2016

Genre: Drama

Marielle Heller

Film: The Diary Of A Teenage Girl

Year: 2015

Genre: Drama

Anna Rose Holmer

Film: The Fits 

Year: 2017

Genre: Drama

Ann Hui

Film: A Simple Life

Year: 2012

Genre: Drama

Patty Jenkins

Film: Monster

Year: 2003

Genre: Crime/Drama

Liza Johnson

Film: Elvis & Nixon

Year: 2016

Genre: Drama/Real Life

Kirsten Johnson

Film: Cameraperson

Year: 2017

Genre: Documentary

Jennifer Kent

Film: The Babadook

Year: 2014

Genre: Horror

Mimi Leder

Film: Deep Impact

Year: 1998

Genre: Action

Alice Lowe

Film: Prevenge

Year: 2016

Genre: Horror

Penny Marshall

Film: Big

Year: 1988

Genre: Comedy

Honourable Mentions: Awakenings

Rebecca Miller

Film: Maggie's Plan

Year: 2016

Genre: Comedy/Romance

Jocelyn Moorhouse

Film: The Dressmaker

Year: 2015

Genre: Comedy/Drama

Carol Morely

Film: The Falling

Year: 2015

Genre: Drama

Honourable Mentions: Dreams Of A Life

Nancy Myers

Film: The Intern

Year: 2016

Genre: Comedy/Drama

Honourable Mentions: Something's Gotta Give

Louise Osmand

Film: Dark Horse

Year: 2015

Genre: Documentary

Honourable Mentions: Versus: The Life and Films Of Ken Loach

Sarah Polley

Film: Take This Waltz

Year: 2011

Genre: Drama

Honourable Mentions: Stories We Tell, Away From Her

Laura Poitras

Film: CitizenFour

Year: 2014

Genre: Documentary

Lynne Ramsay

Film: We Need To Talk About Kevin

Year: 2011

Genre: Drama

Honourable Mentions: Morvern Caller, Ratcatcher

Kelly Reichardt

Film: Wendy And Lucy

Year: 2008

Genre: Drama

Honourable Mentions: Certain Women, Meek's Cutoff, Old Joy, Night Moves

Lorene Scafaria

Film: The Meddler

Year: 2016

Genre: Drama/Comedy

Lone Scherfig

Film: An Education

Year: 2009

Genre: Drama

Rachel Tunnard

Film: Adult Life Skills

Year: 2016

Genre: Comedy/Drama

Susanna White

Film: Our Kind Of Traitor

Year: 2016

Genre: Drama

Alice Winocour

Film: Mustang

Year: 2016

Genre: Drama

 

It's Over To You...

Creating any film list is a challenging process because there are always too many films/directors and not enough slots. For example, I am aware that I have not included grandmothers of film such as Leni Riefenstahl and Alice Guy Blaché.

 

In addition, I very much wanted to include Celine Sciamma, Chantal Akerman and Lake Bell and the work of many, many more wonderful women film directors. 

 

Who would have made your list?

 

Do let me know by leaving me your favourite female director in the comments section below!

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