Female Directors

by popcornazucar | created - 05 Aug 2012 | updated - 05 Aug 2012 | Public

1. 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 ...

2. 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...

3. 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), ...

4. 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).

5. 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 ...

6. 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 ...

7. 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 ...

8. 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, ...

9. Melanie Mayron

Actress | Thirtysomething

Melanie Mayron was born on October 20, 1952 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. She is an actress and director, known for Thirtysomething (1987), Girlfriends (1978) and Harry and Tonto (1974).

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. 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), Please Give (2010) and Friends with Money (2006). She was previously married to Benjamin Allanoff.

12. Catherine Hardwicke

Director | Thirteen

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 Thirteen (2003), Twilight (2008) and Red Riding Hood (2011).

13. 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), ...

14. 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.

15. Vera Farmiga

Actress | Up in the Air

Vera Farmiga is an American actress who received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Up in the Air (2009) and a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her role in Bates Motel (2013).

She was born Vera Ann Farmiga, the ...

16. Dee Rees

Director | Mudbound

Dee Rees is a director and writer, known for Mudbound (2017), Pariah (2011) and Pariah (2007).

17. Lorene Scafaria

Actress | Coherence

Lorene Scafaria is a writer and actress, known for Coherence (2013), Seeking a Friend for the End of the World (2012) and The Meddler (2015).

18. 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 ...

19. Phyllida Lloyd

Director | Mamma Mia!

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

20. Debra Granik

Director | Winter's Bone

Debra Granik was born on February 6, 1963 in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. She is a director and writer, known for Winter's Bone (2010), Down to the Bone (2004) and Stray Dog (2014).

21. 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).

22. 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 ...

23. 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 ...

24. Susanna White

Director | Bleak House

Susanna White was born in 1960 in the UK. She is a director and producer, known for Bleak House (2005), Parade's End (2012) and Generation Kill (2008).

25. Lesli Linka Glatter

Director | Homeland

Lesli Linka Glatter is a director of film, network, cable and premium cable television drama, with both pilots and episodes to her credit. Lesli's TV work includes Homeland (2011), The Newsroom (2012), The Walking Dead (2010), Justified (2010), Ray Donovan (2013), Masters of Sex (2013), Nashville (...

26. 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....

27. 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).

28. 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 ...

29. 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 and director, 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.

30. 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).

31. Kristina Lloyd

Director | Driving by Braille

Kristina Lloyd is known for her work on Driving by Braille (2011), The Room (2016) and 11-44 (2009).

32. Gina Prince-Bythewood

Writer | Love & Basketball

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 ...

33. Allison Anders

Director | Gas, Food Lodging

Anders weathered a rough childhood and young adult life which not only encouraged an escapist penchant for making up characters but also an insider's sympathy for the strong but put-upon women who people her films. Growing up in rural Kentucky, Anders would always remember hanging onto her father's...

34. Jodie Foster

Actress | The Silence of the Lambs

Alicia Christian Foster was born in Los Angeles on November 19, 1962. She is the daughter of Evelyn Ella "Brandy" (Almond) and Lucius Fisher Foster III, an Air Force lieutenant colonel and later real estate broker. Brandy had filed for divorce in 1959 after having three children with Lucius, but ...

35. 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 ...

36. Asia Argento

Actress | Land of the Dead

Asia Argento was born in Rome, Italy, into a family of actors and filmmakers, both occupations which she has herself pursued. She made her debut when she was only nine years old in Sergio Citti's Sogni e bisogni (1985). In 1988 she had the leading role in Cristina Comencini's first film, Zoo (1988)...

37. Jamie Babbit

Director | But I'm a Cheerleader

Jamie Babbit was born on November 16, 1970 in Shaker Heights, Ohio, USA as Jamie Merrill Babbit. She is a director and producer, known for But I'm a Cheerleader (1999), Silicon Valley (2014) and Girls (2012). She has been married to Karey Dornetto since 2014.

38. Marleen Gorris

Director | Antonia

Marleen Gorris was born on December 9, 1948 in Roermond, Limburg, Netherlands. She is a director and writer, known for Antonia's Line (1995), The Luzhin Defence (2000) and Gebroken spiegels (1984).

39. Dennie Gordon

Director | Bloodline

After graduating from Yale's School of Drama in Directing, Gordon first gained recognition when her script for a Hard Rain was chosen by Showtime's Discovery Program. Thanks to Steven Spielberg, a rough cut of her film attracted the attention of George Lucas who donated the film's mix at Skywalker ...

40. Susanne Bier

Director | Hævnen

Susanne Bier was born on April 15, 1960 in Copenhagen, Denmark. She is a director and writer, known for In a Better World (2010), Efter brylluppet (2006) and Brødre (2004). She is married to Jesper Winge Leisner. She was previously married to Philip Zandén.

41. Lucile Hadzihalilovic

Writer | Innocence

Lucile Hadzihalilovic was born on May 7, 1961 in Lyon, Rhône, France as Lucile Emina Hadzihalilovic. She is a writer and director, known for Innocence (2004), Évolution (2015) and La bouche de Jean-Pierre (1996).

42. Mary Harron

Director | American Psycho

Mary Harron was born on January 12, 1953 in Bracebridge, Ontario, Canada. She is a director and writer, 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.

43. Barbara Peeters

Director | Bury Me an Angel

Writer/director Barbara Peters was one of the few female filmmakers who specialized in entertainingly trashy low budget drive-in exploitation fare in the 70s and early 80s. Peters often worked for Roger Corman's B-flick studio New World Pictures. She made her feature debut as co-writer and ...

44. 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, ...

45. 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).

46. Colette Burson

Writer | Permanent

Colette Burson is a writer/director/producer known for "Permanent" (2017). She created "Hung" (HBO, 2009-2011) and "The Riches" (FX, 2007) with writing partner Dmitry Lipkin. She directed episodes of "Hung", as well as the short film "Little Black Boot" (Sundance, 2004; PlanetOut Grand Prize Winner...

47. Sally Potter

Director | The Tango Lesson

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, ...

48. 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), Please Give (2010) and Friends with Money (2006). She was previously married to Benjamin Allanoff.

49. Zoe R. Cassavetes

Director | Broken English

Zoe R. Cassavetes was born on June 29, 1970 in Los Angeles County, California, USA as Zoe Rowlands Cassavetes. She is a director and actress, known for Broken English (2007), Day Out of Days (2015) and The Thing Called Love (1993). She is married to Sebastien Chenut.

50. Agnès Jaoui

Actress | Comme une image

Agnès Jaoui was born on October 19, 1964 in Antony, Hauts-de-Seine, France. She is an actress and writer, known for Look at Me (2004), The Taste of Others (2000) and Family Resemblances (1996). She was previously married to Jean-Pierre Bacri.

51. 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...

52. 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 ...

53. Stephanie Rothman

Writer | Terminal Island

Writer/director Stephanie Rothman was one of the few female filmmakers who specialized in low-budget drive-in exploitation fare in the '60s and '70s. Her movies are distinguished by gutsy, strong-willed and sympathetic women main characters and a radical libertarian feminist point of view. ...

54. Sylvia Chang

Actress | Er shi san shi si shi

Sylvia Chang was born on July 22, 1953 in Chiayi, Taiwan as Ai-chia Chang. She is an actress and writer, known for Er shi san shi si shi (2004), Zui ai (1986) and Xiang ai xiang qin (2017).

55. Sarah Kernochan

Writer | Nine 1/2 Weeks

Sarah Kernochan was born in New York City. Educated at Rosemary Hall and Sarah Lawrence, she achieved early success by winning the Academy Award for Best Feature Documentary, at age 27, for her film "Marjoe." Her next move was to record two RCA albums as a singer-songwriter. Two years later her ...

56. 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 ...

57. Mary Lambert

Director | Pet Sematary

Mary Lambert was born in 1951 in Helena, Arkansas, USA. She is known for her work on Pet Sematary (1989), The Blacklist (2013) and Madonna: Like a Prayer (1989). She is married to Jerome Gary.

58. Christine Choy

Director | The Shot Heard 'Round the World

Christine Choy was born in New York City, New York, USA. She is a director and producer, known for The Shot Heard 'Round the World (1997), Who Killed Vincent Chin? (1987) and Long Story Short (2008).

59. Mimi Leder

Producer | The Leftovers

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 The Leftovers (2014), Deep Impact (1998) and Pay It Forward (2000). She is married to Gary Werntz. They have one child.

60. Barbra Streisand

Soundtrack | Funny Girl

Barbra Streisand is an American singer, actress, director and producer and one of the most successful personalities in show business. She is the only person ever to receive all of the following: Oscar, Tony, Emmy, Grammy, Golden Globe, Cable Ace, National Endowment for the Arts, and Peabody awards,...

61. Martha Coolidge

Director | Valley Girl

Martha Patterson Coolidge was born on August 17, 1946 in New Haven Connecticut. She studied illustration at Rhode Island School of Design, but changed majors, becoming the first film major at the school. She attended and graduated from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts, where she ...

62. Caroline Link

Director | Nirgendwo in Afrika

Caroline Link was born on June 2, 1964 in Bad Nauheim, Hesse, Germany. She is a director and writer, known for Nirgendwo in Afrika (2001), Beyond Silence (1996) and Annaluise & Anton (1999).

63. Betty Thomas

Self | Howard Stern

Betty Thomas was born July 27, 1947 in St. Louis, Missouri, graduating from Ohio University with a BA in fine arts. Initially sidetracked, Betty first taught school in Chicago but found herself restricted and needing more of an open forum for self-expression than a classroom. She found herself drawn...

64. Margarethe von Trotta

Director | Rosenstrasse

Margarethe von Trotta was born in Berlin in 1942. In the 1960s she moved to Paris where she worked for film collectives, collaborating on scripts and co-directing short films. She also pursued an acclaimed acting career, starring in films by well known German directors such as Rainer Werner ...

65. Jennifer Lynch

Director | Boxing Helena

Jennifer Lynch was born on April 7, 1968 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. She is a director and writer, known for Boxing Helena (1993), Chained (2012) and Surveillance (2008).

66. Maria Maggenti

Writer | Puccini for Beginners

Maria Maggenti was born in 1962. She is known for her work on Puccini for Beginners (2006), Before I Fall (2017) and Monte Carlo (2011).

67. Lina Wertmüller

Writer | Pasqualino Settebellezze

Lina Wertmüller was born on August 14, 1928 in Rome, Lazio, Italy as Arcangela Felice Assunta Job Wertmüller von Elgg Espanol von Brauchich. She is a writer and director, known for Seven Beauties (1975), Travolti da un insolito destino nell'azzurro mare d'agosto (1974) and I basilischi (1963). She ...

68. 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 ...

69. 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 Historias Breves I: Rey muerto (1995), which garnered several awards in the international film festival...

70. Darnell Martin

Director | I Like It Like That

Darnell Martin was born on January 7, 1964 in Bronx, New York, USA. She is a director and writer, known for I Like It Like That (1994), Cadillac Records (2008) and Prison Song (2001). She is married to Giuseppe Ducrot.