The Top 5 Greatest Female Film Directors Of All Time

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Patty Jenkins

Director, Wonder Woman, Monster

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Patty Jenkins is now in the center of the wonder woman buzz, but she is best known for her debut feature Monster (which gave the leading actress Charlize Theron her first Academy Award, for her performance in it). Charlize was quoted saying that up until Monster, directors would never offer her such roles, but it took a woman, first-time female director, to offer her that role.

Sofia Coppola

Director, Lost in Translation

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Known as the daughter of director Francis Ford Coppola, but also and less known as the cousin of actor Nicolas Cage, Sofia Coppola is a talented director and actor.

Coppola is the first American woman and third woman overall to be nominated for the Best Director Academy Award. She is also a part of the first married couple to be both nominated at the same year for an Oscar with her Husband at the time Spike Jonze.

Jane Campion

Director, The Piano

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This New Zealand born director started her filmmaking career back in the 80’s when she attended the Australian School of Film and Television. Her long feature film The Piano (1993) won the Palme D’Or at Cannes, making her the first woman ever to win the prestigious award. She also captured an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay at the 1993 Oscars, while also being nominated for Best Director, making her one of only four women ever nominated for the prestige’s Oscar award under best director category.

Kathryn Bigelow

Director, The Hurt Locker

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The early years of her career, Kathryn spent as a talented painter learning at the San Francisco Art Institute and working in her studio. Her film career only started after she won a scholarship to study film at Columbia University School of Arts, and graduating in 1979. Kathryn is the first woman to win the Director’s Guild of America Award for directing a feature film (for The Hurt Locker (2008).

Haifaa Al-Mansour

Director, Wadjda

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Think you can’t get a break? This lady has one of the most inspiring careers out there! Haifaa Al-Mansour is the first female filmmaker in Saudi Arabia and is regarded as one of the most significant cinematic figures in the Kingdom.

Her feature-length directional debut film “Wadjda” is the first and up to now only movie to be filmed inside the kingdom.

The success of her three short films, in addition to the international praises of her award-winning 2005 documentary “Women Without Shadows”, brought a new wave of Saudi filmmakers and made the issue of opening cinemas in the Kingdom a front-page discussion. Her work has high significance within Saudi Arabia and is considered to encourage discussion on taboo topics like tolerance, the dangers of orthodoxy, and the need for Saudis to take a critical look at their traditional and restrictive culture.