10 Female Directors You Need To Know - Raindance

It is a known fact that filmmaking business is harsh, and particularly for women. Female directors and filmmakers face greater challenges than men doing the same job every day, as their authority and competence is questioned a lot. However, this is an article to demonstrate it is not all so hopeless and depressing out there. Here is a list of 10 fabulous ladies who showed everyone that women make great films

1. Jane Campion


The first on the list, producer, writer and director is known as the first female director in history to receive Palme d’Or in 1993 for her film The Piano, for which she also received Academy Award for the best original screenplay. Her filmography also includes films such as Portrait of a Lady (1996), Holy Smoke! (1999) and Top of the Lake (2013).

2. Kathryn Bigelow


The director of The Hurt Locker (2008), Kathryn Bigelow proved her talent by winning two Academy Awards that year. Throughout her filmmaking career she has also been known for directing thrillers such as Near Dark (1987), Strange Days (1995) and Zero Dark Trinity (2012), clearly confronting the stereotypical vision of feminine filmmaking.

3. Debs Paterson


Debs Paterson is a young film director whose career started with making a number of short films. Her debut feature film Africa United was presented at Raindance Film Festival in 2010, and later won two awards on other occasions. Her interest in repressed social minorities found expression in her work and made it entirely authentic and widely recognised.

4. Sofia Coppola

Sofia Coppola ? 'It sounded like it had all the elements for a fun pop movie.'p63-sofia-coppola-vogue-mario-sorrenti_b

Another Academy Award-winner for her drama Lost in Translation (2007), Sofia Coppola has a special story as a director and filmmaker. Despite being a daughter of one of the most widely recognized filmmakers nowadays, Francis Ford Coppola, Sofia managed to take her own path in filmmaking industry and show she is not just her father’s daughter but an independent and mature director with her own style and focus.

5. Mary Harron


Mary Harron does limit her perspective by strictly feminist views but tends to explore different possibilities in her films. Beginning her career with I Killed Andy Warhol in 1996, she is nevertheless best known for directing and co-writing the psychological thriller American Psycho. Although remembered for its excessive violence against women, American Psycho acquired the status of the cult film. Harron’s third work is the biography drama The Notorious Betty Page produced in 2005, which follows the story of 50s pin-up model, explores various issues linked with female sexuality.

6. Joanna Lipper


Joanna Lipper is a documentary filmmaker and director who won two awards for her feature-length documentary Inside-Out: Portraits of Children in 1997, exploring the lives of American children with various backgrounds. Lipper’s most recent film The Supreme Price, that focuses on politics and marginalized populations of Nigeria, was first screened at Raindance Film Festival in 2014.

7. Ava Marie DuVernay


DuVernay is the first black female director to be nominated for the Golden Globe for Selma in 2014. She made her first feature film This is the Life not long before in 2008. She won her first prize as the Best Director in 2012 for Middle of Nowhere at Sundance Film Festival.

8. Claire Denis


Claire Denis is possibly the most controversial figure on the list. Her diverse repertoire, varying from extremities of the horror Trouble Every Day that takes a close look on the sadist tendencies in a couple’s relationships, to the drama 35 Shots of Rum problematising family issues. Claire Denis continued experimenting with different genres in cinema, and presented a short documentary about future of cinema in 2013 as a part of Venice 70: Future Reloaded. She undoubtedly remains one of the best film directors in Europe.

9. Lynne Ramsay


Lynne Ramsay’s directing career started with short films in 1996, three years later her first feature film Ratcatcher was made. The film received multiple awards around the world. However, the director’s popularity increased after the release of her most recent film, a psychological family drama We Need To Talk About Kevin (2011).

10. Stéphanie Joalland


In 2014 Raindance screened Stéphanie’s first feature film The Quiet Hour. With this premiere, she established her reputation as a gifted director in the sphere of independent filmmaking. Stéphanie Joalland’s strong female characters put her works on a completely different social level and draws attention to women’s potential in film.