Since today is the 8th of March, the International Womens’ Day, I thought it would be great timing to recognise the awesome female film directors, writers and filmmakers around the world. The last couple of years have seen quite a lot of excellent films written and directed by women, and judging by the Golden Globes and nominations for other major awards, they are getting the recognition they deserve. So let’s look at 7 great directors and their most recent exploits.
1. Chloé Zhao
Chloé Zhao has been the standout name this year, winning a Golden Globe for Best Director and Best Picture (Drama) last month for the excellent Nomadland, and likewise receiving a nomination for Best Screenplay. She was born in Beijing, China and sent by her parents to a boarding school in the UK when she was 15, despite knowing no English at the time. She received a Camera d’Or nomination at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival for her first feature film, Songs My Brothers Taught Me. At 38, the future is very bright for Chloé.
2. Chinonye Chukwu
Chinonye Chukwu was born in Nigeria, and despite visiting her home country often since then, she grew up in Alaska. She was often the only person of colour in her classes, and she found it difficult to fit in. Ever since then, she wanted to make movies to express herself. Her 2019 film Clemency especially stood out, and won her the Dramatic Grand Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival.
3. Kathryn Bigelow
Kathryn Bigelow has been a mainstay name for quite a long time, winning a plethora of major awards over the years, including Best Director and Best Picture at both the Academy Awards and the BAFTAs for The Hurt Locker, back in 2008. Her later films have mostly focussed on either military, special forces or police work, and is known for going to extremes in shooting certain scenes, in order to convey their intensity and realism.
4. Greta Gerwig
Greta Gerwig is another young and very promising woman screenwriter and director. Mostly known as an actress beforehand, she garnered widespread acclaim with her 2017 film Ladybird, followed by the 2019 film Little Women, both of which she wrote and directed. The two films gathered a combined 25 nominations and 4 wins at the Academy Awards, BAFTAs and Golden Globes. She is due to collaborate with her partner Noah Baumbach on a Barbie-themed live action film that stars Margot Robbie.
5. Lina Wertmüller
At 92, Lina Wertmüller has had an outstanding filmmaking career, and has set an example for many to follow. Born in Rome in 1928, she was expelled from 15 different Catholic schools during her youth, and her desire to make films was already clear from those days. In her films, she often frames the natural beauty of Italy, but also highlights the economic inequalities suffered by the Italian working class. The presently continues her work as a director in the theatre scene.
6. Lulu Wang
Lulu Wang is the second entry on this list who was born in Beijing, China in the 1980s. The daughter of a Chinese diplomat to the USSR and a cultural critic and editor, she moved to Miami when she was 6, as her father pursued a PhD there. She subseuqently wrote and directed a host of short films, documentaries and feature films, with the standout project being 2019’s The Farewell. It received several nominations at high-profile film festivals and award ceremonies, including the BAFTAs, the Golden Globes and Sundance.
7. Sofia Coppola
The daughter of filmmakers Eleanor and Francis Ford Coppola, Sofia made her debut as an infant in the 1972 classic The Godfather. As a filmmaker, her most notable projects have been Lost in Translation (2003) and The Beguiled (2017). The former won her an Oscar and Golden Globe for Best Original Screenplay among many other awards, while the latter won her a Cannes Film Festival Best Director distinction, and a nomination for the Palme d’Or.