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A celebration of female filmmakers

By Admin User on March 3, 2022

March is a month to celebrate women and female empowerment, and there’s nothing like extending that appreciation to a few top female directors. Women have been powerhouses in Hollywood over the past years, inspiring others to get out and tell stories of their own. These are only a few of the original greats and ones to keep our eyes on.

Dorothy Arzner (1897-1979)

Courtesy: Platform

Directed: Dance, Girl, Dance, The Bride Wore Red, Manhattan Cocktail 

What may be an unfamiliar name to many is an essential female director to acknowledge. Dorothy Arzner was a Hollywood director from the silent film years into the early 40s. As a woman, she was prominent in storytelling at the time. Arzner got her start in what would later become Paramount Pictures. She worked as a stenographer and worked her way into scripting, editing, and ultimately directing. 

During her time in Hollywood, the span of 20 years or so, Arzner was Hollywood’s only female director. 

Kathryn Bigelow (1951- )

Courtesy: The ScriptLab

Directed: The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty, Blue Steel 

Kathryn Bigelow is known for telling action-based, thrilling stories that often have women at the forefront of that action. With her film The Hurt Locker, which won the Academy Award for Best Picture in 2010, Bigelow became the first woman to win an Oscar for Best Director, the Directors Guild of America Award for Outstanding Director and a BAFTA for Best Direction. 

In 2010, Bigelow was one on the Time 100 most influential people list. 

Patty Jenkins (1971- )

Courtesy: The Guardian/Clay Enos

Directed: Wonder Woman, Wonder Woman 1984, Monster

Patty Jenkins is a natural wonder when it comes to directing. She takes on the action and excitement and brings sincerity and feminine suave that makes her films fun to watch. Jenkins isn’t afraid of playing in the DC Universe with two Wonder Woman films under her belt and a third on the way. She doesn’t shy away from the uncomfortable truth that storytelling sometimes presents, as in her film Monster, which Jenkins wrote and directed, featuring a lead female powerhouse team of Charlize Theron and Christina Ricci. 

Jenkins will be directing Star Wars Rogue Squadron, set to come out next year. 

Sarah Polley (1979- )

Courtesy: Michael Gibson/Lionsgate Films

Directed: Away From Her, Take This Waltz, Women Talking 

Sarah Polley is a Canadian filmmaker. She brings stories to life with her realism and active view of the here-and-now of situations. Her films embrace the independent style and in-depth accounts of real people in real situations. Polley can tell a story that touches the heart unexpectedly and often leave audiences thinking about their own lives. 

Women Talking is Polley’s latest film expected to come out this year. It follows the lives of women in a Mennonite colony trying to juggle the issues of their circumstances and maintain their faith. 

Greta Gerwig (1983- )

Courtesy: The Writing Studio

Directed: Lady Bird, Little Women

Greta Gerwig is a trailblazer for up-and-coming females who dream of glorifying their personalities and showcasing creative and grand ventures. Gerwig directs with truth, fun, and inspiration. Both of her directorial films received multiple Academy nominations. In 2018 Lady Bird’s nominations included Best Picture, Best Director and Best Original Screenplay – written by Gerwig. Her 2020 adaptation of Little Women received Academy nominations for Best Actress, Lead and Supporting, and Best Adapted Screenplay – again, adapted by Gerwig and Sarah Polley. 

Gerwig has also collaborated with her partner, Noah Baumbach, in writing and acting in films like Frances Ha and Mistress America.

Chloé Zhao (1982- )

Courtesy: Variety/Searchlight Pictures

Directed: Nomadland, Eternals, Songs My Brother Taught Me 

Chloé Zhao made her film debut in 2015 with Songs My Brother Taught Me, a film about familial struggles and moral conflicts which she wrote and directed. In 2021 Zhao made waves at the Academy Awards with a Best Picture and Best Director win for the film Nomadland, which Zhao wrote, produced, edited and directed. 

She has since taken on the Marvel Universe with her direction of Eternals.



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