Women might be on screen—but they’re not likely to be the one making choices behind the camera. Watch one of these films made by incredibly talented female film directors to help increase visibility.
Last year was an insanely great year for women in film. Patty Jenkin’s Wonder Woman made more than $400 million dollars at the box office, Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut Lady Bird racked up five nominations at the 2018 Oscars, and many actors finally said #TimesUp to sexual harassment in the industry. However, according to the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University, women still are extremely underrepresented in the entire industry. According to a 2018 study on the top 250 films of 2017, only 18 percent of all directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and cinematographers working on the top films were women. Only 11 percent of the top 250 films were directed by women, too.
So what does that mean for you? Well, even if you’re an avid movie goer, you were likely to see only a handful of films made by women directors—mainly because there are only a handful of these films released every year! So, if you’re looking for a leisurely way to celebrate International Women’s Day, why not try watching a movie directed by a woman? We put together a list of some of the best female directors working in Hollywood as well as where to stream their flicks.
This Danish filmmaker is known for her stylistic, romantic tearjerkers like One Day and An Education. Her next film, Secrets from the Russian Tea Room, will star Andrea Riseborough (Birdman) and Zoe Kazan (The Big Sick) and will come out later this year. Catch her latest film Their Finest (2016), a period piece about two people who fall in love while working on a propaganda movie about Dunkirk, streaming on Hulu.
Loved the Walmart commercial The Box featuring a little girl’s pre-bedtime sci-fi battle during the 2018 Oscars? Then you should check out Dee Rees, a prolific writer-director known for her feature length film Pariah and the HBO-released biopic Bessie. Her latest film Mudbound was a festival-circuit favorite, and picked up numerous nominations at the Oscars this year, including one for Rachel Morrison’s cinematography—the first woman ever to be nominated in the category. Watch it on Netflix.
Kusama proves that women can take on horror just as well as the boys—not that we doubted that for a second. She appeared on the scene back in 2000 with her first full-length film Girlfight, and won major prizes at Sundance and Cannes. She followed up with the action-packed Aeon Flux and Jennifer’s Body—both films that have gained under-the-radar cult followings since being released. Last year, she participated in a XX, a kick-butt horror anthology film directed by fierce ladies like Annie Clark and Jovanka Vuckovic. Tonight, you can catch Kusama’s 2015 release The Invitation, a slow-burn thriller about a dinner party gone wrong, on Netflix.
Price-Bythewood worked on TV shows like A Different World and Felicity before releasing Love & Basketball in 2000, the first film she wrote and directed. It is one of the most commercially successful films to be directed by a black woman. Price-Bythewood is one of the filmmakers dedicated to advancing women and minorities on her film sets, working with an inclusive cast and crews and even endowing a scholarship at UCLA for those who want to pursue a career advancing the visiblility of African American experiences on screen. Price-Bythewood is currently direct Silver and Black, the Spider-Man spinoff about Silver Sable and Black Cat that will come out next February. Watch Beyond the Lights, a film about the unexpected consequences of super-stardom, on Amazon Prime Video.
Kelly Reichardt is one of the most beloved independent filmmakers working today, but she is not everyone’s cup of tea. Reichardt shows the Pacific Northwest in its many iterations, and are loved for their minimalist stories overflowing with intellectual meaning and nuance. Though it might not be an enjoyable first watch, all of her stridently feminist films will linger with you long after the credits roll and are well-worth a rewatch. Watch Meek’s Cutoff (starring Michelle Williams) on Netflix, Wendy and Lucy on Hulu, or Night Moves on Tubi.