Trailblazing Female Film & Televion Directors Everyone Should Know (Photo Gallery)
This year, a record number of women are nominated for directing at the 2013 Emmys. Of this season's 10 Emmy nods for directing episodic television, fully half recognize women — three for comedy and two for drama. There are also two women nominated in the movies and miniseries category which brings the total up to seven. It's the most in the history of the awards.
While it's exciting, it's also a time to think about how the industry had been incredibly slow to admit women to the ranks of episodic television directors and filmmaking in general. The LA Times writes that "Of more than 3,100 episodes of television in the 2011-12 season (the most recent for which data are available from the Directors Guild of America), just 15% were directed by women." MAKER Callie Khouri, Oscar-winning screenwriter believes "it's not statistically possible that there are so few qualified women. It's sexist."
While this year's record breaking Emmy nominations for female directors indicate that film and television are making strides in the right direction, more attention should continue to be paid to the incredible accomplishments made by women in a industry that has persisted to resist a closing of the gender gap.
For that reason, we take a look at some trailblazing female directors that any film buff should know about. Take a look! And good luck to the Emmy nominated directors!
Lesli Linka Glatter 2013 Emmy Nominated Before she stepped into direction, Glatter began as a dancer and choreographer. Her first film Tales of Meeting and Parting (1984) was nominated for an Academy Award in the Live Action Short Film category. The majority of her directorial work has been in television including shows Twin Peaks, Freaks and Geeks,Weeds, Nashville and Mad Men. At the 62nd Annual Directors Guild Of America Awards Glatter was awarded for the Mad Men episode, "Guy Walks into an Advertising Agency". She was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Directing in a Drama Series for the "Q&A" episode in Homeland season 2 in 2013. Photo: Getty Images
Maya Deren Deren was a key figure in the creation of a New American Cinema. An experimental and avant-garde filmmaker of the 1940s and 50s, Deren combined her interests in dance, voodoo and subjective psychology in a series of surreal, perceptual, black and white short films . Her most known film Meshes of the Afternoon won the Grand Prix Internationale for 16mm experimental film at the Cannes Film Festival in 1946. In 1986, the American Film Institute created the Maya Deren Award to honor independent filmmakers. In 1990, Meshes of the Afternoon was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant."
Agnès Varda Varda, although often overlooked, is incredibly influencial in modern French film. Her work, specifically 1955's La Pointe-Courte is said to have launched the French New Wave movement and contains many elements specific to the movement that make it famous. Photo: Roger Viollet/Getty Images
Elaine May May began her career as half of the comedy duo Nichols and May and made her directorial and screenwriting debut in 1971 with A New Leaf, a screwball comedy. Her second directorial effort was 1972's critically acclaimed and popular The Heartbreak Kid. May is a recipient of the National Medal of Arts for her unique contributions. Photo: Getty Images
Nora Ephron Ephron's career began as a journalist and eventually transitioned into one as a screenwriter. She went on to write, direct and produce 15 films, but she is best known for her romantic comedies, such as When Harry Met Sally (1989), and Sleepless in Seattle.
Kathryn Bigelow Bigelow's directing career has proven the incredibly vast range female directors can have. She made history as the first woman to win an Oscar for Best Director for her 2008 film The Hurt Locker. Her next film Zero Dark Thirty, was a dramatization of American efforts to find Osama bin Laden. Bigelow won the New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Director for the film, making her the first woman to win the award twice (she also won for The Hurt Locker. Photo: Getty Images
Amy Heckerling Heckerling is one of few female directors to have produced multiple box-office hits, including Fast Times at Ridgemont High, European Vacation, and Look Who's Talking. In 1995, she wrote and directed Clueless, reworking and updating Jane Austen's Emma as a 1990s teen comedy about wealthy teenagers living in Beverly Hills. In 1999, Heckerling was awarded the Women in Film Crystal Award for outstanding women who have helped to expand the role of women within the entertainment industry. Photo: Getty Images
Claudia Weill Weill's first feature length film Girlfriends(1978) stars Melanie Mayron, Christopher Guest, Bob Balaban, and Eli Wallach. She made it independentaly and then sold it to Warner Bros after receiving recognition and awards at Cannes, Filmex and Sundance. Stanley Kubrick called it his favorite film of 1978. While the film is critically underseen, Lena Dunham included it in a 2012 BAM retrospective and then convinced Weill to direct an episode of HBO's Girls. Weills was the 3rd woman admitted to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1981.
Jane Campion 2013 Emmy Nominated Campion is nominated for Outstanding Directing For A Miniseries, Movie Or A Dramatic Special for her miniseries Top of the Lake which she co-wrote and co-directed. The Australian based writer, producer and director was the first female filmmaker in history to receive the Palme d'Or, which she was awarded for directing 1993's The Piano for which she also won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay. Campion's other films include An Angel at My Table, The Portrait of a Lady. In 2013, Campion was awarded the prestigious Carrosse d'Or award at the Festival de Cannes given for innovation and boldness in directing and production. Photo: AFT/Getty Images
Gail Mancuso 2013 Emmy Nominated Mancuso began her career as an usher of the set of several television talk shows and eventually worked her way to becoming one of the main directed for TV show Roseanne.She went on to direct episodes of many television series like Friends, Dharma and Greg and Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place. In 2008, she won a Gracie Award for her work on 30 Rock.In 2013, she was nominated for an Emmy Award for directing episode "Arrested" on Modern Family. Photo: ABC via Getty Images
Lone Scherfig The Danish director has developed a reputation for “mastering the art of subtle characterization.” Scherfig made her international directing debut with the 2000 romantic comedy Italian for Beginners. Scherfig has been critically involved with the Dogme 95 filmmaking movement based on the traditional values of story, acting, and theme, and excluding the use of elaborate special effects or technology. Scherfig's 2009 independent film An Education was nominated for three Academy Awards. Photo: MCT via Getty Images
Mira Nair Indian film director Nair's breakthrough film Salaam Bombay! (1988) tells the story of a young boy’s struggle to survive alone on the streets of Bombay. The film won the Golden Camera award at the Cannes Film Festival and also earned the nomination for Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. Her most recent films include Vanity Fair with Reese Witherspoon, The Namesake and Amelia. Photo: MCT via Getty Images
Catherine Hardwicke Hardwicke's first film as director was independent film and Academy Award nominated Thirteen. The film received critical acclaim and earned Hardwicke the directing award at Sundance in 2003. Hardwicke is also the directing force behind the Twilight, one of the most successful films of all time. The opening weekend of Twilight was the biggest opening day for a female director of all time. After directing the first film, Hardwicke left the saga to take on other projects including film Little Red Riding Hood, starring Amanda Seyfried. Photo: WireImage
Allison Anders 2013 Emmy Nominated Anders's first film effort Border Radio was nominated for Best Feature of 1988 by the Independent Feature Project for Best First Feature. Her 2001 film Things Behind the Sun won an Emmy Award nomination for actor Don Cheadle for Best Supporting Actor, three Independent Spirit Award Nominations. She's nominated for Outstanding Directing For A Miniseries, Movie Or A Dramatic Special for Ring of Fire. Photo: Getty Images
Claire Denis French auteur Denis's first feature film Chocolat (1988) won her critical acclaim as a remarkable first film and was selected for the Cannes Film Festival. Raised in colonial French Africa, her work often revolves around themes of colonial and post-colonial West Africa, as well as issues in modern France. Photo: Getty Images
Michelle Maxwell MacLaren 2013 Emmy Nominated MacLaren is a Canadian television director and producer is perhaps best known for her work on shows such as The X-Files, Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead and HBO's Game of Thrones. She's been nominated for two Primetime Emmy Awards for directing; one 2010 for directing a season three episode of Breaking Bad her most recent being in 2013 for directing the season five episode Gliding Over All. MacLaren also serves as an executive producer for Breaking Bad. Photo: Getty Images
Kimberly Pierce Pierce wowed the world of filmmaking with 1999's Boy's Don't Cry about the real life and death of Brandon Teena, a transgender man from Nebraska who was brutally raped and murdered when his gender history was discovered. The film became one of the most acclaimed and talked about films of the year, opening at the Venice, Toronto and New York Film Festivals and earning many honors, including the Best Actress Oscar, Golden Globe, Independent Spirit award and many other awards for the film's star, Hilary Swank. Chloë Sevigny was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar and Golden Globe and won the Independent Spirit Award and many other awards for her role as Lana Tisdale. Pierce's next feature is a remake of the 1976 horror film Carrie. Photo: Getty Images
Beth McCarthy-Miller 2013 Emmy Nominated McCarthy-Miller was director of NBCs Saturday Night Live for eleven years until she left in 2006 at the end of season 31.g. She began her career as an intern at MTV, moved up to an assistant to the line producer and then began directing in 1988. She's nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Directing For A Comedy Series for her work on 30 Rock. Photo: Getty Images
Lana Wachowski Lana Wachowski and brother and Andrew Paul Wachowski (left) have been known professionally as The Wachowskis. The directing due made a name for themselves with their second film The Matrix(1999), a huge commercial success. Their most recent film Cloud Atlas was released in 2012. That same year Lana opened up about her journey as a transgender woman while receiving Human Rights Campaign's Visibility Award. Photo: Getty Images
Lynne Ramsay The Scottish film director, writer, producer, and cinematographer best known for the feature films Ratcatcher, Morvern Callar and We Need to Talk about Kevin. Low on dialogue and explicit story, Ramsay's films are marked by a fascination with children and young people and the unresolvable themes of grief, guilt and death. In 2013 she was selected as a member of the main competition jury at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Kasi Lemmons Lemmons began her career as an actor but made her directing debut in 1997 with the film Eve's Bayou starring Samuel L. Jackson, Lynn Whitfield, Debbi Morgan, MAKER Diahann Carroll, and Jurnee Smollett. Lemmons has gone on to direct two other respected films, the detective movie deconstruction The Caveman's Valentine and Talk to Me. Her new film Black Nativity opens this year. Photo: NY Daily News via Getty Images
Nancy Meyers Fresh out of college with a degree in journalism, Meyers moved to her sister Sally's in Los Angeles, California and landed a job as a production assistant on the CBS game show The Price Is Right. Since, she's become a household name for moviegoers. Meyer's has directed films including The Parent Trap, It’s Complicated, and Something’s Gotta Give becoming one of the most successful female directors of our time. Photo: Getty Images
Julie Taymor Taymor's stage directing skills have earned her two Tony Awards, she is probably best known for directing the Broadway musical The Lion King but she's also transitioned very successfully to film. Her film Frida was nominated six Academy Awards and Across the Universe received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Musical/Comedy as well as an Academy Award for Costume Design. Photo: Getty Images
Karyn Kusama Kusama's first film Girlfight was true breakthrough for the young director, only 27 at the time. Released in 2000, the film won the Director's Prize and the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival, as well as the Prix de la Jeunesse at the Cannes Film Festival. Kusama is wonderful example to young female filmmakers as she works in a variety og genres, including horror and sci-fi. Her most recent film Jennifer's Body is about a literal man-eater who uses her superpower to fight against the suppression of women. Photo: WireImage
Callie Khouri In 1992, Khouri won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for Thelma & Louise. It took another 10 years before Khouri had the opportunity to direct the movies she wanted to because of the resistance she faced as a female director. Nonetheless, Khouri overcame the sexism of Hollywood and went onto direct films like Something to Talk About, Divine Sisters of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, and Mad Money. Khouri created the ABC hit drama series Nashville, which premiered in 2012. She directs a couple episodes every season.
Sofia Coppola Her father is Academy Award winning director Francis Ford Coppola, and the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. In 2003, Coppola was nominated for three Academy Awards for her film Lost in Translation, in the categories of Best Picture, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for Lost in Translation. In 2010, with Somewhere, she became the first American woman to win the Golden Lion, the top prize at the Venice Film Festival. Her most recent film The Bling Ring hit theaters in summer 2013. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Dee Rees Rees met director Spike Lee at NYU where he became her personal mentor. She worked as a script supervisor intern for his film Inside Man and When the Levees Broke. Her first feature film, the critically acclaimed Pariah (2011) is the story of a young girl dealing with her burgeoning homosexuality in the not-exactly-open-minded African American community of Fort Greene, Brooklyn. Photo: Getty Images
Miranda July July wrote, directed and starred in two feature-length films, The Future (2011) and Me and You and Everyone We Know (2005), winner of the special jury prize at the Sundance Film festival and four prizes at the Cannes Filme Festival, including the Camera d'Or. An interdisciplinary artist, July's multimedia projects have been presented at the Guggenheim Museum, the Museum of Modern Art and featured in two Whitney Biennials. Photo: WireImage
Lena Dunham 2013 Emmy Nominated Dunham's 2010 feature film Tiny Furniture garnered so much positive attention it quickly led to her HBO television series Girls, executive produced by Judd Apatow. Premiering in 2012, Girls brought Dunham four Emmy nominations for her roles in acting, writing, and directing the series and two Golden Globe wins for Best Comedy Series for Girls and for herself in Best Lead Actress in a Comedy or Musical Series. In February 2013, Dunham became the first woman ever to win a Directors Guild Award for Outstanding Director in a Comedy Series for her work on Girls. She's nominated for the 2013 Emmy for Outstanding Directing For A Comedy Series. Photo: WireImage
Nora Ephron is a best-selling writer, director, and producer. Born in 1941 in New York City, and raised in Beverly Hills, Ephron was the daughter of screenwriters, Henry and Phoebe Ephron. After Ephron graduated from Wellesley College in 1962, she moved back to New York City, taking a job as a mail girl at Newsweek. When New York City's newspapers suspended publication during the International Typographical Union strike, Ephron and friends began a satirical newspaper. Her parodies of the New York Post came to the attention of the Post's publisher, Dorothy Schiff, who decided to hire the young Ephron as a reporter. Ephron's career as a journalist spanned many years and publications. While working for the Post, she began writing essays occasionally for New York, Esquire, and The New York Times Magazine. Known for her satirical and witty essays, she became a figure of the "New Journalism" movement of the 1960s. Her career as a screenwriter began with a television movie titled Adam's Rib (1973). She went on to write, direct and produce 15 films, but she is best known for her romantic comedies, such as When Harry Met Sally (1989), and Sleepless in Seattle (1993). Her most recent film, Julie & Julia, was released in 2009 to rave reviews.