30 female directors to follow
Equal representation onscreen and offscreen has been a hot topic in Hollywood for a while. While numbers are gradually growing, it's up to everyone to make that change. Do you need some help, Hollywood? Here's a list of 30 women directors who are ready to break the glass ceiling with their magnificent work. Get ready- you'll be hearing about them more and more often.
Madeline is a Los Angeles based writer-director who uses the power of film to capture rich, distinctive worlds from novel and unexpected perspectives. Hailing from San Francisco, California, Madeline double-majored in Psychology and Communication at Northwestern University, then went on to earn her MFA from USC's School of Cinematic Arts. She enjoys telling female-driven stories that inspire conversations about social change and encourage viewers to reflect on taken-for-granted norms. Madeline channels her education, travels, and experience as a Division I student-athlete into stories that highlight the internal tensions and complex relationships of her characters. She has written over a dozen shorts (including the acclaimed Letters From Alcatraz), as well as the feature length screenplay, Police Story. Whenever she sits down to write, she thinks about what voices might lend unique perspectives that the audience might not otherwise have considered. It is Madeline’s hope that by bringing subordinated viewpoints to life and exploring the richness and complexities of their worlds, the audience might walk away thinking a little differently about their own world.
"Letters From Alcatraz" won 6 (!) awards at Festigious in June 2017, including Best Picture and Best Director. The lead judge, Nigel Barber, stated: "This is a well rounded, concise multi layered film that delivers much in a short time frame. It has good pace and the performances are solid. Its heartfelt story is underpinned by a well developed script and gives the viewer a clear context for the characters and their back stories. Beautifully filmed and well edited. Also, the Best Actress award goes to Kate Emerick, the young actress playing Belle, for an outstanding performance.”
"As long as you keep moving forward, your talent and resilience will win out" - Read this interview with Madeline Rozwat
Yiqing Catharine Lin
Catharine Lin is an award winning director currently based in LA. She holds a Masters in Linguistics, and has studied filmmaking at New York Film Academy. Originally from China as a producer, she has already worked on many international projects such as multi-awarded drama series "Empress Ki" with Korean MBC television and opening film of 20th Shanghai International Film Festival “The Chinese Widow” directed by Palme d’Or twice winner Bille August. She has written and directed short films like "Twenty Years After”, "A Midnight Visitor” and “Mr Heart”, and is currently focusing on her feature projects.
"Twenty Years After" won 5 awards at Festigious, including Best Picture and Best Director (December 2017). The lead judge, Lisa Roumain, stated: "It was simply, a perfectly executed short film. It said everything it needed to in the smallest of ways. A masterful team effort... Ms. Lin is a poetic storyteller, creating such a beautiful, deeply moving piece. She was able to tell a lifetime of a story in 10 minutes, showing how deeply humans strive for connection and relevance. She assembled an incredibly talented cast and crew, with wonderful work by Cinematographer Dhruv Lapsia, and Music Composer Alexander Rudd.”
Born in Lyons. Trained in drama arts in Nice and Paris, France. Delphine Montaigne has been a comedian since age 13. Commercials, documentaries, she has spoken a thousand voices and has incarnated just as many characters. She enjoys the subtle reassurance and tranquility of backstage and dubbing studios. She switches universes, from stages, to sets, to mikes, and has always done so. She never stopped working, in other words, never stopped playing. Encounters and opportunities have progressively drawn new projects. One of which was all about exploring human beings’ relationships dynamics. An obvious focus for an artist. Her growing interest for strange and fascinating reactions of her peers led to another venture in her life. In 2016 directing movies just happened, or so it seemed. Since then the actress directed two films and is now writing two more.
Delphine's directorial debut "DNA of Wild Beasts" won an Honorable Mention: First Time Director at Festigious (March 2018), and Best Indie Film of the Year at Top Shorts 2018. Top Shorts' juror Oliver Yan, stated: "This great short film exudes an independent spiritual film, and at the same time, it has a poetic beauty." The festival founder, Roy Zafrani, added: "DNA of Wild Beasts is an inspiring film with natural and powerful performances by writer-director-lead actress Delphine Montaigne (as detective Lea) and Tanya Mattouk (as Sophie). DNA of Wild Beasts is intriguing, mysterious and thrilling. Beautiful work!”
Pari Antoniou was born in 1982 in Greece. She studies at the Hellenic Cinema & Television School Stavrakos between 2013-2016; Compositing & VFX at Yafka School (2016-2017); and at Focus School of art Photography Video and New Technologies in 2011. In 2017 she completed her graduation film "Vous".
"Vous" is a story is about the hopes and dreams of a girl who is about to pass away, slowly dying just like her country around her ,the beautiful moments are the ones that stay with her until the end. The film is currently attending the festival circuit and has already won 10 international awards including Best Experimental Film at Festigious. It was also nominated for Best Picture award, selected as one of the 10 highest rated films by the Festigious' jury in May 2018..
Molly is a recent graduate of Tulane University with degrees in English and Digital Media Production. Hailing from New York, she spent many of her earlier years studying acting and auditioning for seemingly everything under the sun. As time passed though, her passions and dreams shifted from being in front of the camera to being behind it, so-to-speak. It wasn't long before she became fascinated by film development and had plans to become a professional screenwriter. Storytelling is at the core of her identity, and after spending the past year writing, directing, and editing her own short film, Molly feels inspired to move to California and make some waves in the entertainment world. Besides writing and filmmaking, Molly loves photography, travelling, and hanging out in adorable coffee shops.
Molly's film, "Endurance", is a powerful dramatic short that centers around two college students; Jenna, a once-championed cyclist now confined to a wheelchair, and Max, a closeted lacrosse player outed by his teammates and bullied relentlessly for being gay. Initially, Max and Jenna endure their struggles alone, but as Max falls further and further into the abyss of depression, Jenna comes along just in time to change his life, and subsequently, her own. "Endurance" won Best Student Film at Festigious (June 2018).
Dina Naji was born and raised in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. She got her bachelor degree in Journalism in King Abdul Aziz University, then moved to Los Angeles, where she got her master degree in Filmmaking. Dina has written, directed, and edited many different short films in Los Angeles. She is experienced in working as a Production Designer on short films and commercials, and has excellent visual awareness and design skills.
Dina's film, "Hind's Case", follows Hind (20), who at a young age, witnessed her father kill her mother and then went on to suffer years of abuse at the hands of her father. When Hind escapes from her abusive home, she gets sent to live in a housing shelter. While there, Hind makes the first friends she’s ever had and enjoys the freedom away from her father. However, when the manager of the housing shelter informs Hind that her father has requested to take her home, Hind decides to take matters into her own hands and get sent to the solitary confinement room in order to join her mother in heaven as she can’t stand the thought of living with her father again.
"Hind's Case" won Best Drama at Festigious (June 2018), as well as an Honorable Mention: Director for Dina Naji.
Maria is an independent filmmaker who resides and creates in Portland, OR. Three of her short films had television premieres on OPB’s Oregon Lens and one on Oregon Art Beat. Her debut feature film, "The Texture of Falling", is now currently in its festival run and has already earned a handful of awards and nominations including, Best Picture, Best Indie Film, Best First Time Director, Best Cinematography, and Best supporting actor-Benjamin Farmer. Since childhood, Maria has passionately studied painting, poetry, creative non-fiction, and various forms of dance. In addition, for nine years she studied Jungian philosophy with author Paul Levy. Not coincidentally, her filmmaking— strongly informed by visual art, music, and movement—is poetic, symbolic, and visually driven.
"The Texture of Falling" won 3 awards at Festigious in November 2017, including Best Indie Feature, Best First Time Director and Best Cinematography.
Jennifer Marie is an up and coming film director from New York City. Though she has only been in the film industry for a few years, her first projects have already created buzz in the entertainment and arts community. Her first film, "Evil Is Here", was nominated for multiple awards including Best Director. Her second film, "Please Read.", won an Honorable Mention: Narrative Film at Festigious (October 2017), and is now making a very successful film festival run.
Another film, "Casting Chloe", is a mockumentary about the casting process to find the perfect "Chloe." Dozens of actresses audition to discover who is the perfect fit for the role. The film won Best Comedy at Festigious (May 2018).
Born in Cascavel, Brasil, Luisa Novo graduated in Cinema from the Federal University of Santa Catarina, spending a semester at NYU in 2008 in the Film Studies department. In 2011 she relocated to Los Angeles to continue her education at the New York Film Academy and UCLA, earning certificates in Producing and Business and Management of Entertainment and an MFA in Filmmaking. She has directed a number of short films both in Brazil and the US, focusing on stories from a female perspective and themes like self-image and self worth. She is interested in the struggles women go through arising from the social standards and pressures society puts on them.
Luisa's short film "Becoming Lucy" won Best Drama and Best Actress (Indie Film) at Festigious in October 2017.
Shanming Sally Guo
Shanming Sally Guo is a graphic designer and filmmaker based in New York. She is currently a senior studying at School of Visual Arts. Previously, she has interned for Open (notclosed.com) and freelanced for Nili Lotan (nililotan.com). "Nomads" is Guo's first short film, done in the Project Class during her junior year at SVA.
Nomads won 5 awards at Festigious (June 2017), including Best Narrative Short and Best Ensemble.
Born in Zaragoza (Spain), Sadie Duarte is an award-winning filmmaker, writer/screenwriter and executive producer who holds a B.A. in English Studies at UNED, an M.A. in Textual and Cultural Studies in English Language (British & Hollywood Cinema) at University of Zaragoza and an MA in Film Direction and Production of TV Shows (University San Jorge). She has three novels for young adults published: Alas Para Soñar (Certeza, 2001), Souls of Fire (Libros Certeza, 2013) and Recordando Bethlem (Certeza, 2016). Sadie Duarte has received eleven literary & academic awards and also works as a teacher of English & a translator. In fact, she translated into Spanish Ia Uaro’s book Sydney’s Song (La Canción de Sydney) and wrote the English subtitles for director Jorge Aparicio’s short film Cuatro Veintes (Four by Twenty) and El Morico.
"DMUS" is the first short musical film that Sadie Duarte wrote, directed and produced with two teams working together in Spain and USA. It’s an international project to promote artists from different countries, actors & musicians which has already got many official selections, 17 awards, including Best Indie Filmmaker (Sadie Duarte), Best Score (Jesús Calderón) at Top Shorts and Best Score (Jesús Calderón) at Festigious, Best Ensemble (Honorable Mention) at Los Angeles Film Awards and Best Ensemble at the Actors Awards in Los Angeles.
In May 2017, Sadie wrote, directed and produced the comedy film "Blown Away" (Enchufados) which started touring the festival circuit in November 2017 and stars two Spanish celebrities, comedian Paco Arévalo and award-winning actor/director/producer Secun de la Rosa. For the first time ever, spectators from all over the world can see these two great Spanish artists in a film together! "Blown Away" won Best Comedy and Best Supporting Actor (Roberto Millán) at Festigious (January 2018), as well as Best Ensemble at Top Shorts and Best Duo (Paco Arévalo and Secun de la Rosa) at the Actors Awards.
Yunhong Guo was born in Guangzhou, China. She has been learning and working on Film and Media since 2010. She has both China & American filming experiences. Yunhong won a lot of art project award in her college and won several film awards during her graduation school. The passion and the desire from her are in order to bring meaningful films to audiences and express her creativity through visual art forms.
Guo's film, "The Reward", won 4 awards at Festigious (September 2017), including Best Director. The lead judge, Beate Malkus, stated: “In her brilliant short film 'The Reward', young director Yunhong Guo tells a story about the inner conflict of an early teenage girl who is struggling about either calling the police for getting the reward for turning a criminal in or letting him go away, once she finds out he has a little daughter who is waiting for him. From the first minute, you care for these two people and for what happens to them. Both the girl and the criminal have a great impact onto the other's life and Yunhong Guo finds beautiful images for a very human and universal conflict. She succeds captivating us with a wonderful visual language, with an eye for the small details and an incredible cast. Young and very talented actress Veronica McFarlane and Marc Anthony Petrucelli both deliver a wonderful truthful performance. Yunhong Guo has something to say and in 'The Reward' she says it the best and most creative way I can imagine!”
Naïma Chebahi is a french scriptwriter, director and producer. She wrote directed and produced many shorts films and music video which won several awards. As now she was selected in more than 100 international festivals and won more than 60 awards. In general she's attracted to some dark and deep universe. She tries to take the next step now: write and raise money for her first feature film.
Naima's music video "Tell Me Why You Obsess Me" won Best Music Video at Festigious 2016.
Yuanyuan Chen achieved her Bachelor degree from Peking University then came to Art Center College of Design for film program. Her films incorporate Asian aesthetics and Western thoughts. Such a practice comes from her passion not only for film, but for philosophy, literature and music as well. She has played the piano for over a decade and systematically studied Chinese literature in her college.
Yuanyuan's film, "Her Shoes", won Best Score award (Yi Liu) at Festigious in May 2017.
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Nadine Moomjy is a senior at Ithaca College, majoring in the Film, Photography and Visual Arts B.FA. with a minor in Art History. Nadine is born and raised in New York City and is excited to be moving back at the completion of her degree in May. Nadine first discovered her love for filmmaking when she spent a summer at the New York Film Academy for Acting. Nadine then went on to complete the Walt Disney Studios: Directing and Producing course at the University of Southern California. In her three and a half years at Ithaca College, Nadine has produced, directed, and assisted directed multiple student films. Nadine has also completed internships within production and entertainment at Sundance Productions, The Galway International Arts Festival and the National Basketball Association. Nadine is very excited for “Terminal’s” release and to see what it can bring to the big screen.
In "Terminal", a mother grapples with the aftermath of her daughter’s London-bound flight mysteriously crashing into the Atlantic Ocean. The film won Best Narrative Short at Festigious (March 2018).
Sophie Black graduated from the University of Creative Arts in 2010, with a BA in Film Production, and has worked steadily in the art department of independent films for the last five years.As a director, her last film ‘Ashes’ was available to view at the 2013 Cannes Short Film Corner, where it was offered distribution deals. She also produced ‘Stop/Eject’, which screened at the 2014 Raindance Film Festival, and was on the BAFTA Longlist for 2015.
Sophie's film "Ashes" won Best Thriller Short at Festigious 2015, and another film of hers, "Night Owls" won Best Cinematography (Neil Oseman) at Festigious 2016.
Luciana Caplan is a producer, writer and director. She's the CEO of Flowerbud Entertainment, LLC.
In Luciana's "Famous Little Girls" (co-director: Sophano Van), Jenny is a 7 years old girl that is suffering bullying at school. Her life changes after she starts to dream of little girls - her fanciful version of famous, powerful women that she is reading about - visiting and talking to her. The film won 5 awards at Festigious, including Best Indie Filmmaker for Luciana Caplan and Sophano Van.
In Luciana's latest feature film, "On the Fence", a little dog that escapes from home and his owner's struggles to find him, trying every resource that she can to get him back. During her journey she finds out an unexpected issue that must be faced.
"On the Fence" won 5 awards at Festigious in August 2018, including Best Indie Feature and Best Original Story.
Ingrid Hoyos is an actor, writer, editor and director based in Los Angeles. She was born in Bogota, Colombia, and raised in Miami Beach, Florida. In August 2018 she completed her first short psychological thriller film Inertia. She is currently completing her sketch comedy training at the world-famous Groundlings Theatre and School in West Hollywood, California.
Ingrid's film "Inertia" is a short psychological thriller: When a troubled woman finds herself trapped in an agonizing marriage, her reality is irreparably shattered and dark thoughts turn into actions.
"Inertia" won 4 awards at Festigious (August 2018), including Best Indie Short, Best Film Noir, Best Score (Iran Garcia) and Honorable Mention: Ensemble (Miguel Garcia, Lena Marie, Jimmy Torenzo & Ingrid Hoyos).
Katie Maguire & Catherine Callahan
Catherine Callahan and Katie Maguire were both born and raised on Long Island, New York. Both are award winning actresses, producers, writers, and directors. It was while talking about their similar upbringings and love of comedy that they came up with LI Divas. Being exposed to aqua net, guidos, and very thick Long Island accents helped Katie and Catherine to fully understand, appreciate, and love the characters they created for LI Divas. They currently have several projects under way with their production company It's Thursday! Productions.
LI Divas is a Real Housewives of Everywhere mockumentary web-series that follows the lives of four extraordinary women living and thriving on Long Island, New York. This web series won the Audience Choice award at Festigious 2016.
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Laurie Lamson is a versatile writer and short-form filmmaker with a proven ability to conceive, develop, and shepherd creative ideas to completion in various genres and media.Recent writing projects include Don’t Shoot, I’m the Guitar Man, a feature adaptation and dramatization currently in post-production in the Bay Area. She is currently developing a feature comedy with be movies.Laurie co-produced, co-wrote, directed and edited “Live and Learn,” a music video for reggae artist Demo Delgado that won an Accolade award and reached #3 on Tempo Networks (the MTV of the Caribbean.) She wrote, produced and directed a feminine comedy "Family Values In The Goddess Years" that played at a number of festivals and screenings. Laurie was also commissioned to make a tween music video and five mini-documentaries. Her mini-doc poem "Si Se Puede!?" played at two festivals.
Laurie's film "Eternal Waltz" is an epic short romance about soul recognition and a love that spans lifetimes - from 1887 to the post-apocalyptic future. The film won Best Indie Short and Best Sci-Fi at Festigious in November 2017.
Megan St. John
Megan St. John is a Chicago-based freelance writer and producer who loves bringing stories to screen. Megan's first short film, Broiled (2015), recently finished the festival circuit, taking home various awards including "Best Illinois Film" and "Best Supporting Actress" at the Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival (2016), and "Best Dark Comedy" at the Festigious International Film Festival (2016). Her second short film, Strongroom (2016), is currently in the festival circuit and recently took home "Best Illinois Short" at the Beloit International Film Festival (2017), "Runner Up (Short Films)" at the Green Bay Film Festival (2017), and an "Award of Excellence" at the Canada Shorts International Film Festival (2016).Megan is a graduate of the University of Chicago (BA, ’12). She has worked as a creative developer with Warm Springs Productions in Bozeman, MT and is the founder of Third Wheel Entertainment, a Chicago-based filmmaking collaborative. She enjoys warm weather, road trips, and frozen yogurt. In her free time you can find her in the pool or at her local coffee shop, writing her next script.
Joanna is a recent graduate of NYU, obtaining a Maser’s in Theatrical Directing with a focus on post-reunification German playwrights. Theatrically, she has assistant directed for Francis Matthews (BAFTA nominee) in the US and in the UK on his adaptation of the Carl Hiaasen novel, Lucky You. She has also assisted Emmy and BAFTA award winner Jon Plowman, head of comedy at the BBC, and for Katharine Dore, Tony and Olivier award winning producer for Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake on Lucky You at the Edinburgh Fringe. More recently, she assisted Mr. Matthews on The Three Musketeers at North Shore Music Theatre, music by George Stiles. Mr. Stiles has been Tony nominated for his work on Mary Poppins and has won an Olivier for his musical Honk! Joanna has directed and assistant directed all over the East Coast and also Internationally.
Joanna's debut film "Blonde" won Best Thriller and an Audience Choice award at Festigious 2016, as well as Best Picture at the Los Angeles Film Awards (October 2016).