One of the areas in film where the gender gap is most striking is the director’s chair. In 2016’s top 250 films, women accounted for only 7% of all directors, down from 9% in 2015 which is still flat-out terrible. Only one woman has won the Best Director Oscar, and only four women have ever even been nominated for the award. These staggeringly low numbers reflect a great imbalance and lack of representation in Hollywood, which may pride itself on progressive leanings but still has a long way to go.
But these numbers don’t reflect the reality that female directors are churning out some of the best and most exciting films of our time, when they’re given the chance. Blockbusters are consistently given to men—both accomplished and fresh out of Sundance—over women, and when men fail they usually get the chance to redeem themselves with either a mid-range project or yet another blockbuster. An expensive failure for a woman director, meanwhile, can mean the end of her career.
So in celebration of International Women’s Day, we here at Collider have culled together a list of some of the most exciting female directors working today. These are filmmakers who consistently churn out interesting work with a strong point of view, and who deserve to be considered alongside the Colin Trevorrows and Jordan Vogt-Roberts’s when it comes time to find a director for the next massive franchise.
This list is incomplete and is just a small portion of the great female directors working today, so we invite you to share some of your favorites in the comments below.
[Updated: June 6th]