Movie Mom

Movie Mom


List: Women Directors

posted by Nell Minow

In honor of “The Hurt Locker’s” Kathryn Bigelow, who became the first woman to win the Oscar for Best Director last night, and International Women’s Day, here’s a list of pioneering women movie directors.

1. Penny Marshall, who started as an actress (“Laverne and Shirley”), went on to direct films that included “Awakenings,” “Big,” and “A League of Their Own.”

2. Amy Heckerling is the director of “Clueless” and the neglected gem “I Could Never Be Your Woman.”

3. Betty Thomas also started as an actress (“Hill Street Blues”) and went on to direct “The Brady Bunch” and “28 Days.”

4. Nora Ephron, the daughter of successful screenwriters, began as a writer and then went on to direct films like “Julie & Julia,” and “You’ve Got Mail.”

5. Gurinder Chadha directed the international hit “Bend it Like Beckham” as well as “What’s Cooking” and “Bride and Prejudice.”

6. Nancy Meyers also began as a writer and has gone on to direct some of the most successful movies of the last 10 years including “It’s Complicated,” “The Holiday,” and “Something’s Gotta Give.”

7. Penelope Speeris made a successful documentary about a topic considered very male — punk music — in “The Decline of Western Civilization.” That led to her directing the wildly successful “Wayne’s World.”

8. Kasi Lemmons is another actress turned director with “Eve’s Bayou” and “The Caveman’s Valentine,” starring Samuel L. Jackson.

9. Mabel Normand was one of the most gifted comic actors of the silent era and one of the first female film directors. She often worked with Charlie Chaplin.

10. Mira Nair directed “Monsoon Wedding” and the recent biopic “Amelia,” starring Hillary Swank.



  • Francine McKenna

    Some more great women who directed some of my favorite movies:
    Allison Anders http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Allison_Anders
    Catherine Breillat http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catherine_Breillat
    Sofia Coppola http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sofia_Coppola
    Marleen Goriss http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marleen_Gorris
    Amy Heckerling http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amy_Heckerling
    Agniezka Hollandhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnieszka_Holland
    Agnes Varda http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agnès_Varda
    Lina Wertmuller http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lina_Wertmuller

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    A great list, Francine! Some of my favorites. (We both listed Amy Heckerling.) I also thought of Dorothy Arzner and Ida Lupino. It was good to see Bigelow win the Oscar. And very nice to see that she had the support of her competition and former husband, James Cameron.

  • Francine McKenna

    I like all of yours, plus. How did I miss your mention of Amy Heckerling????
    Also Nora Ephron!
    fm

  • Alicia

    Don’t forget Ida Lupino.

  • Alicia

    Oops, I just saw that you mentioned Ida Lupino, Nell.

  • Alicia

    Gillian Armstrong and Jane Campion.

  • Toby Clark

    Sarah Watt, the director of Look Both Ways.

  • http://reelfanatic.blogspot.com Keith

    I’m not sure you can call her pioneering, but Darnell Martin is quickly rising on my list, due entirely to Cadillac Records, which just keeps getting better and better with age

  • Marilyn

    May I suggest Deepa Mehta?

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/moviemom/ Nell Minow

    Thanks for a GREAT list of women directors! I am truly delighted.

Previous Posts

Clip: Tinkerbell and the Legend of the NeverBeast
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ApzHJhZz2JQ" frameborder="0"] The latest in Disney's animated Tinkerbell series adds Ginnifer Goodwin to the cast. Coming in March of 2015, it explores the ancient myth of a mysterious creature whose distant roar sparks the curiosity

posted 1:23:59pm Oct. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: "Avatar" Villain Stephen Lang on Playing a Good Guy Coach in "23 Blast"
Stephen Lang is best known for playing the villain in "Avatar." But in "23 Blast," based on the real-life story of Travis Freeman, a high school football player who lost his vision but stayed on the team, Lang plays a good guy, the coach who encouraged and supported him. I talked to Lang about actin

posted 5:56:30am Oct. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Birdman (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Filmed as though it was almost entirely one long, stunning, audacious, breathless and breathtaking shot, "Birdman" (subtitled "The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance") explodes with ideas and visions, adopting the language of dreams to explore and upend the very idea of storytelling. Michael Keaton p

posted 5:59:46pm Oct. 23, 2014 | read full post »

John Wick
This is a movie directed by two stunt men, which means it is pretty much a first-person shooter video game projected onto a movie screen. But that also means that it is directed by people wh

posted 5:44:02pm Oct. 23, 2014 | read full post »

23 Blast
23 Blast is the name of a football play, and "23 Blast" is based on the real story of Travis Freeman, a high school football star who lost his sight, but, with the help of a courageous coach and committed teammates, was able to keep playing. The real hero of the movie is the coach, played by "Ava

posted 3:57:18pm Oct. 23, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.