Happy International Women’s Day! We wanted to take today to spotlight some incredible female filmmakers that are pushing boundaries, experimenting with interesting film techniques and creating movie magic in a male-dominated field. Stay tuned to find out about these talented female directors, screenwriters and producers. You might even discover some new work to fall in love with!
5 Female Filmmakers To Discover On International Women’s Day
If you haven’t heard of Kathryn Bigelow then today is your lucky day! She is a director, screenwriter and producer, and was the first (and remains the only) woman to win an Oscar for her Direction of The Hurt Locker.
Bigelow’s work is thrilling, personal, unique and often features violence. She often features social issues such as race, gender and politics, and describes her style as an exploration of “film’s potential to be kinetic”. In many of her films, she uses mobile and hand-held cameras, creating a distinct signature style. One thing that makes Bigelow an incredible filmmaker is her dedication. She would often go to extremes such as skydiving, using cranes, filming in up to 130 °F heat, paddling on long boards and more to get the perfect shot!
Work: The Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty, Blue Steel, Detroit.
Ava DuVernay is a film publicist and journalist turned director and filmmaker. She was the first black woman to win the directing award at the Sundance Film Festival for her film Middle of Nowhere. DuVernay also founded African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement (AFFRM). This company was created by DuVernay to distribute films made by or focusing on black people.
DuVernay’s signature style includes low-lighting, a focus on faces, highlighting historically marginalized groups and features heart, humanity and empathy.
Work: When They See Us, Selma, 13th, A Wrinkle In Time.
Lulu Wang is best known for writing and directing the comedy-drama films Posthumous and The Farewell. She has also written, produced and directed short films, documentaries and even music videos. She was featured in Variety’s ‘Directors To Watch’ list in 2019, and in January 2021, Apple released an 11-minute short film written by Wang. It is called Nian, and was shot entirely using an iPhone 12 Pro Max phone.
Work: Posthumous, The Farewell, Fishing The Gulf.
Jane Campion is a New Zealand screenwriter, director and producer. Campion is the second of five women ever nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director. She is also the first and only female filmmaker to receive the coveted Palme d’Or. Campion’s films often center around gender politics, meaning many have labelled her work as feminist driven.
Work: Peel, Sweetie, An Angel At My Table, The Piano, The Portrait Of A Lady.
Heading across the pond, we have English female filmmaker Sally Potter. With tons of award nominations and wins such as Academy Awards, Venice Film Festival and European Film Awards, Potter has made her mark as a female filmmaker.
When filming Yes, Potter experimented with some interesting techniques relating to lighting. She said “I was trying to figure out how we could shoot this film without any lights, because there didn’t seem to be enough money in the budget… One solution was to shoot at six frames a second, or even three. Later you print each frame four (or eight) times to bring it into sync at twenty-four frames per second. You can shoot almost in the dark, and still see people’s faces … we did some tests and found that it was very beautiful; so I decided to make it part of the language of the film”.
Work: Yes, The Man Who Cried, Rage, The Roads Not Taken
At Audiosocket, we love seeing women thrive in their element, and encourage as many female filmmakers as possible to chase their dreams and share their talent with the world.
We will close this article with this quote from Kathryn Bigelow, one of the female filmmakers featured in this article:
“If there’s specific resistance to women making movies, I just choose to ignore that as an obstacle for two reasons: I can’t change my gender, and I refuse to stop making movies. It’s irrelevant who or what directed a movie, the important thing is that you either respond to it or you don’t. There should be more women directing; I think there’s just not the awareness that it’s really possible. It is.” – Kathryn Bigelow (1990)
It is possible – and future female filmmakers, you have our support all the way! We would love to help with music for your projects, so check out our catalog of music if you’re in need. You might also enjoy our articles on making a documentary on a budget, female directors to follow, storytelling tips for film and top tips for after you’ve written a script.