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Female Directors Pick Their Favorite Films Made by Women

Female Directors Pick Their Favorite Films Made by Women

Founded in 2013 by “I Believe in Unicorns” director Leah Meyerhoff, Film Fatales is a bicoastal collective of women filmmakers who mentor and collaborate in an indie space that’s far removed from the sexist world of Hollywood—and therefore all the more likely to make impact. 

“At a time when audiences are hungry for a diversity of stories on screen, we’ve compiled a list of recent films directed by women that everyone should see, as well as a selection of older titles which continue to inspire us,” said Film Fatales founder Leah Meyerhoff, who shared the following list with Bitch Media.

Film Fatales in NY and LA include Meyerhoff, Eliza Hittman, Ry Russo Young, Stewart Thorndike, Marielle Heller, Leslye Headland, Sasha Gordon, Jess Weixler and Josephine Decker. Here are their picks for the best films made by women, including “Appropriate Behavior,” “Diary of a Teenage Girl,” “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night,” “Pariah,” “Selma,” and classics from Agnes Varda, Claire Denis, Kathryn Bigelow and Lynne Ramsay.

READ MORE: Pressure Mounts for Female Superheroes, Will Women Directors Get a Boost?

If you’re following #AYearwithWomen on Twitter, cinephile Marya E. Gates’ quest to watch a female-made movie every day for a year, this is a great jumpstart for your curriculum. 

Recent Women-Directed Films That Everyone Should See:

A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night by Ana Lily Amirpour

A Teacher by Hannah Fidell

Advantageous by Jennifer Phang

Apartment Troubles by Jess Weixler & Jennifer Prediger

Appropriate Behavior by Desiree Akhavan

Belle by Amma Asante

Beyond the Lights by Gina Prince-Bythewood

Caught by Maggie Kiley

Concussion by Stacie Passon

Diary of a Teenage Girl by Marielle Heller

Honeytrap by Rebecca Johnson

I Believe in Unicorns by Leah Meyerhoff

It Felt Like Love by Eliza Hittman

Kelly & Cal by Jen McGowan

Little Accidents by Sara Colangelo

Lucky Them by Megan Griffiths

Obvious Child by Gillian Robespierre

Pariah by Dee Rees

Selma by Ava Duvernay

She’s Lost Control by Anja Marquardt

Sleeping with Other People by Leslye Headland

Stray Dog by Debra Granik

The Midnight Swim by Sarah Adina Smith

There Is A New World Somewhere by Li Lu

Vessel by Diana Whitten

Your Sister’s Sister by Lynn Shelton 

READ MORE: Claire Denis and Zadie Smith Team for Sci-Fi Movie

Women-Directed Films That Inspired the Work of Film Fatales:

American Psycho by Mary Harron

Beau Travail by Claire Denis

Boys Don’t Cry by Kimberly Peirce

But I’m a Cheerleader by Jamie Babbit

Cleo from 5 to 7 by Agnes Varda

Daisies by Vera Chytilova

Daughters of the Dust by Julie Dash

Down to the Bone by Debra Granik

Fat Girl by Catherine Breillat

Fish Tank by Andrea Arnold

Gas Food Lodging by Allison Anders

Go Fish by Rose Troche

High Art by Lisa Cholodenko

In A Better World by Susanne Bier

Jesus Son by Alison Maclean

La Cienega by Lucrecia Martel

Me and You and Everyone You Know by Miranda July

Monsoon Wedding by Mira Nair

Monster by Patty Jenkins

Near Dark by Kathryn Bigelow

Ratcatcher by Lynne Ramsay

Salaam Bombay by Mira Nair

Stories We Tell by Sarah Polley

Suburbia by Penelope Spheeris

Sweetie by Jane Campion

The Arbor by Clio Barnard

Thirteen by Catherine Hardwicke

Vagabond by Agnes Varda

Variety by Bette Gordon

Virgin Suicides by Sofia Coppola

Wadjda by Haifaa al-Mansour

Wendy and Lucy by Kelly Reichardt

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Tamara Jenkins’ Savages. Great movie

Samantha Istance

Not directed by a woman, Cyrus Nostaweh, but about a woman. "The Stoning of Soraya M"

Anne Stone

Also Wanda! Barbara Loden is amazing!


what about every film directed by Nicole Holofcener!


An overwhelming white women’s group. So few black women invited or even know about this. It’s a shame. But seems the default for woman filmmaker is white woman filmmaker.


PUNISHER: WAR ZONE, directed by Lexi Alexander

Joanna Crell Arias

Sofia Coppola Virgin Suicides, Jane Campion The Piano, Dariush Mehrjuri, The Cow

Lizzie Francke


Maureen Samuels

I certainly hope no one missed ELENA, the film by Petra Costa….stunning!


Night Porter by Liliana Cavani, An Angel at my Table by Jane Champion… the first in my minds:)


Don’t see Maren Ade anywhere!


No mention of "Dance, Girl, Dance"?


Cheryl Dunye literally has a cinematic style named after her… How is she not on this list?


Many great films – but I’d recommend in addition both Maya Deren and Lina Wertmuller (thinking particularly of Seven Beauties)


These are my top 3: The Hurt locker by Kathryn Bigelow, Lost in Translation by Sofia Coppola, and Boys Don’t Cry by Kimberly Peirce.


I am surprised there is no mention of Kelly Reichardt or Sofia Coppola? "Wendy and Lucy" is an emotionally powerful piece and meditation on narrative. How about Sofia Coppolas short film "Lick The Star" … "Lost In Translation" is a masterpiece classic of American cinema. I was also very recently moved by the Argentinian film La Cienaga directed by Lucercia Martel , another significant female director of the past decade.


The Arbor is directed by Clio Barnard ABOUT Andrea Dunbar, not directed by her. It also happens to be a f**king great movie!


No mention of this year’s WELCOME TO ME, starring Kristen Wiig and directed by Shira Piven. Best American movie I’ve seen all year.

Ryan Lattanzio

Curiously they did not pick "Winter’s Bone." However, they did include Granik’s new doc "Stray Dog" and her impressive debut "Down to the Bone," starring Vera Farmiga.

Vanessa Torres Ferreira

Winters Bone? Debra Granick starring Jennifer Lawrence .

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