Oct 24, 2014
Forget chick flicks! These 10 female directors are blasting stereotypes
Women all over the world celebrated when Kathryn Bigelow’s film, The Hurt Locker, won the Oscar for Best Picture. But Bigelow is just one of the courageous female directors who are emerging on the scene with the hope of telling bold and brave new stories. We encourage you to get to know these women and the movies they make.
1. Lynn Shelton makes quirky, funny indie films about relationships
If you want to see a totally relatable film, get to know Lynn Shelton’s work. You may remember 2011’s Your Sister’s Sister, starring Emily Blunt, but she’s got an adorable new film called Laggies, starring KeiraKnightley and Chloë Grace Moretz, which opens on Oct. 24. Shelton is dynamite when it comes to focusing on the subtleties of family and relationship dynamics.
When it comes to Shelton’s point of view, she says, “I like to put people into situations that are out of their comfort zone and see what happens.”
2. Jennifer Lee makes girl power animated films for kids
The film, Frozen, has landed in our zeitgeist and isn’t going anywhere soon. Codirectors, Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, have knocked the musical story telling experience out of the park. Jennifer Lee also wrote the screenplay, making her a wondrous, double threat.
About the current studio system in Hollywod that favors men, Lee said, “I don’t know what the magic formula would be to change it; I’d love to find it. I love that there are more women. The more women do bigger films as well, I think the more that will help. I think all we can do is keep pushing.”
3. Anne Fletcher makes broad comedies
If you like to cluck at physical humor from big stars, check out Anne Fletcher’s movies. 2009’s The Proposal, starring Sandra Bullock, was hilarious, as was 2012’s The Guilt Trip, starring Seth Rogen and Barbra Streisand. Fletcher just recently announced she’ll also be directing Enchanted 2, a sequel to the film that starred Amy Adams.
About making big, silly comedies, Fletcher said, “Sometimes you just shoot really big stuff, make it really over the top, and then you do a little less than that, and when you’re in the editing room, you go, how far can we go with this? How much do we want to pull back? Once you’ve got all of the pieces, you just find your rhythm in the editing room, and then what I like to do is have a handful of friends and family screenings to see and feel how the movie is playing.”
4. Lucy Walker makes documentaries
If you are fascinated by real stories about extraordinary individuals, Lucy Walker’s non-fictional films will blow you away. They are the perfect blend of true-story reporting and poetry. With two Oscar nominations under her white and gold belt for her movies Waste Land and The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom, her more recent film, The Crash Reel, stunned audiences. It focuses on the rivalry between Olympic snowboarders, Shaun White and Kevin Pearce, before and after Pearce suffers a traumatic brain injury. Look for her new film, The Lion’s Mouth Opens, coming soon to HBO.
About the bias against female directors, Walker said, “There are still people who have an issue working with a woman director. Women can be viewed as ‘difficult’ even though they work in the same way as men.”
5. Kathryn Bigelow makes political, war dramas
Of course, you’re probably already familiar with Kathryn Bigelow’s films, The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty. Bigelow’s true talent is to be able to enter an intense, dangerous and foreign world while revealing the truth and ugliness of the situation.
In a recent interview SheKnows conducted with Jeremy Renner, he said this about Bigelow, “She’s amazing, badass. She’s a painter, more than a filmmaker. She’s a wonderful observer, very visual. Very smart and she’s a supermodel — she’s gorgeous.”
6. Amma Asante makes historical films about women
You may not have seen Amma Asante’s Belle, starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw, but we highly recommend you put it in your Nextflix queue today. This former child actress has a strong sense of history and can masterfully relate to the audience how it continues to affect the present.
When Asante approaches a story, she focuses first on character. “I can’t come to a character unless I love them,” she said.
7. Vanessa Parise makes highly relatable, female-driven dramas
If a movie about a pop star getting kidnapped by an obsessive fan sounds right up for your alley, watch PopFan, directed by Vanessa Parise. Her greatest skill is telling stories about women who are sexy and thrilling, but not soapy or over the top. She manages to bring out the drama while still maintaining the honest voice of her characters.
About working with her actors, Parise said, “I think the best performances come when the audience doesn’t know what the actor is going to do next — it’s that real.”
8. Ana Lily Amirpour does horror with a multicultural edge
Vampires in Iran? It could happen, according to Ana Lily Amirpour’s new film, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night. This youthful and worldly take on evil bloodsuckers totally gives Twilight a run for its money.
About her unique approach to story telling, Amirpour said, “Making a film is like putting on a perfume — you see who it attracts.”
9. Kimberly Peirce makes edgy films that push social boundaries
Kimberly Peirce’s Boys Don’t Cry earned Hilary Swank her first Oscar. Since then, Peirce has been working with top Hollywood actresses like Chloë Grace Moretz in the stellar remake of Carrie and we can’t wait to see what’s next.
On choosing the subject matter for her films, Peirce said, “I like to go for the reality, I like to go for what’s underneath. And I don’t even judge it.”
10. Sofia Coppola makes movies with a strong female point of view
It’s no surprise that Lost in Translation earned director, Sofia Coppola, an Oscar for the screenplay she penned. Her films, like Marie Antoinette and The Bling Ring, are always personal and brutally honest. We also get a strong sense of who Sofia Coppola is as a filmmaker by the risks she takes.
About her approach to filmmaking, Coppola said, “I try to just make what I want to make or what I would want to see. I try not to think about the audience too much.”
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