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Female Filmmakers for Women's History Month



STILLS FROM: THE VIRGIN SUICIDES (1999), LADY BIRD (2017), AFTERSUN (2022), SWEETIE (1989)

 


Since its creation, cinema has been a notoriously male dominated field. There is a clear lack of films by and about women in the mainstream, so in honor of Women's History Month, this list has been compiled to showcase some of the best female filmmakers to check out this March.



Jane Campion




Jane Campion won Best Director at the Oscars for her 2021 neo-western The Power of the Dog. However, she has been making films since 1980 and released her first feature Sweetie in 1989, which follows a woman whose life is interrupted by the surprising arrival of her troubled sister. Jane Campion is known for having an odd style of realism and tragedy, telling stories mostly centered around women. 



Alice Wu




Alice Wu has made only two feature films since 2004, when she debuted with her lesbian rom-com Saving Face, mentioned in our “Queer Films for LBGT History Month” list. In 2020, she released The Half of It, which also revolved around the experience of being a queer Asian woman. Both are extremely soft, funny, and beautiful films. 


Sofia Coppola



Daughter of Frances Ford Coppola (The Godfather, Apocalypse Now) Sofia Coppola is known for her distinctly dreamy and feminine style of filmmaking. Many of her films are about isolated and lonely women struggling emotionally. In her film Lost in Translation, a woman, played by Scarlett Johansson, finds herself alienated and alone in Tokyo while her husband is on a business trip. Another Sofia Coppola flick, Marie Antoinette tells the story of the famed French queen’s lonely life, and The Virgin Suicides follows five sisters and their devoutly religious parents through the eyes of a group of boys who become obsessed with them. Recently, she released a film based on the life of Priscilla Presley, former wife of singer Elvis Presley, titled Priscilla. Sofia Coppola writes characters that many women connect with and all of her films have notably amazing cinematography. 


Cheryl Duyne



Cheryl Duyne released only one feature film during her career, followed by several short films. She seemed to have a lot of promise as a new filmmaker but her debut, The Watermelon Woman, was not successful enough to launch a career. However it has become an important and historical film, as it is the first film directed by an out black lesbian. The film combines documentary style filmmaking and the typical fictional linear storytelling to follow a black lesbian researching a little known black actress who worked in the 1930s, intending to make a documentary about her. 


Cecelia Condit



Cecelia Condit has never released a feature film, but she created a series of surreal short films, all with hard hitting subjects and messages. Cecelia Condit has a very  distinct and impactful style, unsettling and reminiscent of strange home videos. She has been creating since the 80s and has since gained a small cult following. A song from her most well known short film Possibly in Michigan became very popular online several years ago, decades after the film’s initial release, but there are many other equally interesting and artistic films she has created. In her 1992 short, Suburbs of Eden, a housewife struggles with the pressure of her roles as a mother and wife and in We Were Hardly More Than Children a woman narrates the story of her friend’s botched abortion. All of her films carry an unusual and often horrific symbolic weight, due to revolving around the various struggles of women in their relationships and in the world as a whole. 


Greta Gerwig



Greta Gerwig has written and directed three extremely popular feature films, all featuring her iconic quirky humor and powerful female characters. Her films are very critically acclaimed. Before her career as a filmmaker she starred as an actress in many of her writing and life partner, Noah Baumbach’s films. Her solo directorial debut was Lady Bird, a financial and critical success about a headstrong teenage girl in Sacramento navigating her life and relationships. She also adapted Little Women into one of the most unique and impactful book to film adaptations to date. In 2023, she directed the summer blockbuster Barbie which was nominated for eight oscars. Her films tend to embody the rage and awkwardness of girls coming of age and dissect the role of women in the world.


Lana and Lilly Wachowski




Lana and Lilly Wachowski are a pair of transgender sisters who have directed many important sci-fi films such as The Matrix, Jupiter Ascending, and Cloud Atlas as a team. They also directed a crime thriller called Bound in 1996 which follows two women who begin a love affair and plot to steal two million dollars from the gangster boyfriend of one of them and escape him. They have created many popular and influential films worthy of viewing. 


Agnes Varda




Agnes Varda was a prominent figure in the French New Wave of cinema. Many of her films focused heavily on stories about women. Her films are also extremely artistic and metaphorical, which was the typical style of the French New Wave. In 1962, her film Cleo from 5 to 7 was released and was about a singer awaiting the results of her important medical test. Le Bonheur, another film by Agnes Varda, tells the story of a man who begins to have an affair with a woman, affecting his family deeply. Agnes Varda died in 2019 


Celine Sciamma




Celine Sciamma is a French writer and director who won the Cannes Best Screenplay award for her film Portrait of a Lady on Fire, a quietly intense lesbian love story between an eighteenth century painter and her muse, who she is hired to paint secretly. Celine Sciamma’s work is a great example of how the female gaze affects a film, and how differently stories about women are told when they are actually told by women. 


Diablo Cody




Diablo Cody is a screenwriter known for her stylistically witty humor and compassion for her on screen female characters. She began as a blog writer and ended up writing the scripts for Juno, Jennifer’s Body, Tully, and most recently Lisa Frankenstien. Many of her films have debated merit but large and devoted followings, especially Jennifer’s Body, a horror-comedy about a popular high school girl facing demonic possession and eating her classmates, as well as Juno, the story of a girl and her unplanned pregnancy. 


Charlotte Wells




Charlotte Wells has only released one film, titled Aftersun. It is a deeply personal and affecting film about a precious trip a young girl takes with her father, who is suffering from severe depression, played by Paul Mescal. The film is partially autobiographical, based on the memories Wells had of her own father. She has not released anything since the 2022 film. 



 


Andrea "The Schis" Schisler is a senior at Poudre High School. She has been held on suspicions of being a dork. She failed her driver's test twice and should be regarded as extremely dangerous. If seen, do not attempt to reason with her. It won't work.Andrea "The Schis" Schisler is a senior at Poudre High School. She has been held on suspicions of being a dork. She failed her driver's test twice and should be regarded as extremely dangerous. If seen, do not attempt to reason with her. It won't work.


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