Overlooked Directors: Female Storytellers to Noteby sarahyim | created - 05 Apr 2018 | updated - 16 Apr 2018 | Public
Often underrated creators that have weaved widely appreciated narratives of entertainment and craft.
Last updated: Apr-2018
1. 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, ...
Director & Writer, Pariah (2011)
Director | The Babadook
Director & Writer, The Babadook (2014).
3. Greta Gerwig
Writer | Lady Bird
Greta Gerwig is an American actress, playwright, screenwriter, and director. She has collaborated with Noah Baumbach on several films, including Greenberg (2010), Frances Ha (2012), for which she earned a Golden Globe nomination, and Mistress America (2015). Gerwig made her solo directorial debut ...
Director & Writer, Lady Bird (2017).
4. Jennifer Lee
Writer | Frozen
Co-director & Screenwriter, Frozen (2013).
5. 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 ...
Director, I Will Follow (2010); Middle of Nowhere (2012); Selma (2014); 13th (2016); A Wrinkle in Time (2018).
Director | Kung Fu Panda 2
Director, Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011). Co-director, Kung Fu Panda 3 (2016).
Director | Mamma Mia!
Director, Mamma Mia! (2008); The Iron Lady (2011).
Writer | Brave
Brenda Chapman was born on November 1, 1962 in Beason, Illinois, USA. She is known for her work on Brave (2012), The Prince of Egypt (1998) and The Lion King (1994). She is married to Kevin Lima. They have one child.
Co-director, The Prince of Egypt (1998); Brave (2012).
Actress | The Hunger Games
Elizabeth Banks was born Elizabeth Mitchell in Pittsfield, a small city in the Berkshires in western Massachusetts near the New York border, on February 10, 1974. She is the daughter of Ann (Wallace), who worked in a bank, and Mark P. Mitchell, a factory worker. Elizabeth describes herself as ...
Director, Pitch Perfect 2 (2015).
10. Anne Fletcher
Director | The Proposal
Director, Step Up (2006); 27 Dresses (2008); The Proposal (2009).
11. 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 ...
Director, I Shot Andy Warhol (1996); American Psycho (2000); The Notorious Bettie Page (2005).
12. Vicky Jenson
Director | Shrek
Vicky Jenson's career spans more than two decades in both animation and live action, and crosses the spectrum from TV to feature films to shorts including a commercial campaign for Old Navy of more than 40 spots with Anonymous Content and was at that time the only female feature film director they ...
Co-director, Shrek (2001); Shark Tale (2004).
13. 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.
Director & Writer, Ratcatcher (1999). Director & Screenwriter, You Were Never Really Here (2017). Director & Co-screenwriter, Morvern Callar (2002); We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011).
14. Clio Barnard
Director | The Selfish Giant
Director & Writer, The Selfish Giant (2013); Dark River (2017).
15. Lynn Shelton
Director | Humpday
Director & Writer, Humpday (2009); Your Sister's Sister (2011). Director & Co-writer, Outside In (2017). Director, Laggies (2014).
16. Jodie Foster
Actress | The Silence of the Lambs
Jodie Foster started her career at the age of two. For four years she made commercials and finally gave her debut as an actress in the TV series Mayberry R.F.D. (1968). In 1975 Jodie was offered the role of prostitute Iris Steensma in the movie Taxi Driver (1976). This role, for which she received ...
Director, Little Man Tate (1991); The Beaver (2011).
17. 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 ...
Director & Writer, Tiny Furniture (2010). Creator/Director/Writer, Girls (TV, 2012-2017).
18. 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 ...
Director & Co-writer, Near Dark (1987). Director, Strange Days (1995); The Hurt Locker (2008); Zero Dark Thirty (2012); Detroit (2017).
19. 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.
Director, Deep Impact (1998); Pay It Forward (2000).
20. 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, ...
Director & Writer, Look Who's Talking (1989); Clueless (1995). Director, Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982).
21. 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...
Director, Doctor Dolittle (1998); John Tucker Must Die (2006).
22. Chloé Zhao
Director | The Rider
Chloé Zhao or Zhao Ting (born March 31, 1982) is a Chinese film director, screenwriter, and producer. Her debut feature film, Songs My Brothers Taught Me (2015), premiered at Sundance Film Festival. Her second feature film, The Rider (2017), was critically acclaimed and received several accolades ...
Director & Writer, Songs My Brothers Taught Me (2015); The Rider (2017).