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13 Female Filmmakers Who Are Ready To Direct A Blockbuster

13 Female Filmmakers Who Are Ready To Direct A Blockbuster

Marcia Lucas

Why pick a 70-year-old who never directed a Hollywood film? Because she was the force behind the original blockbuster: “Star Wars.” George Lucas’s ex-wife won an Academy Award for editing the film (she also co-edited “Empire” and “Jedi”), but was more than the genius cutter who re-invented key scenes to find the film’s tension. According to most behind-the-scene accounts of “Star Wars,” Marcia was the one who forced George to understand the film needed an emotional through-line and that the film’s now-iconic characters — not his cutting-edge special effects — would carry the film. Luke Skywalker himself, Mark Hamill, even went so far as to say she was “the warmth and heart of those films.” Want proof of just how vital her contribution was to the first trilogy’s success? Watch the disastrous trilogy that followed their divorce, which contains all of George Lucas’s digital wizardry and not much else. Lucas also played a vital role in the early career of Scorsese (serving as editor or supervising editor on most of his ’70s films), Spielberg and John Milius. Unlike those filmmakers, though, George refused to recognize her contribution as a partner in the films that changed Hollywood and made sure she’s been erased from the Lucasfilm history. – Chris O’Falt

READ MORE: 2016 Summer Movie Preview: 10 New Movies From Female Directors and Filmmakers

Ana Lily Amirpour


Ana Lily Amirpour is cool, brave and fearless. Her feature debut, “A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night,” was a work of genius cross-cultural mashups: An ultra low-budget horror movie that combined vampires, feminism, skateboarding and coming of age, all in Farsi and black-and-white. She’s now in post on “The Bad Batch,” a futuristic romance starring Keanu Reeves and Jim Carrey set in a community of Texan cannibals. The Iranian-American Amirpour, who wrote and directed both films, clearly has a unique mind and a passion for the twisted and otherworldly. She could give real weight to to a kick-ass female superhero — or supervillain. She’s an inventor who doesn’t worry about staying within the lines of genre; give her a big budget and she’s capable of creating something entirely exciting and new. – Dana Harris

Katie Aselton

Multi-hyphenate Katie Aselton has done it all, from TV to film, directing to writing, acting to producing. There’s hardly a role that the “Black Rock” and “Freebie” director hasn’t taken on yet, except, well, make a blockbuster. In her directorial debut, “The Freebie,” Aselton starred opposite Dax Shepard as a seemingly happy married couple who make a vow to take a “night off” from their marriage, no holds barred, and are shocked at the results. It’s funny and sad and deeply true, and it shows off Aselton’s chops as a dramatic director with ease. Her next offering, 2012’s “Black Rock,” is a skin-crawling little horror film that weaves together both traditional scares and a whole mess of female issues (friendship, it seems, might be the real villain of the film), striking a unique tone that works beautifully inside the confines of the genre. Give Aselton a big-budget horror feature and let the sparks fly. – KE

Jennifer Kent


“The Babadook,” Kent’s 2014 directorial debut, took an age-old trope – what if the things that went bump in the night were real? – and twisted it into one of the most beautiful and horrifying portraits of domestic grief in years. All of the terror stemmed from a picture book, which begs the delectable question: What could she do with a blockbuster kids property? After all, some of the most iconic kids films – from 1984’s ‘Gremlins’ to 2012’s “ParaNorman” – have a twisted core that leaves sheets drenched with sweat. Can you imagine Kent wrestling the “Alice in Wonderland” series away from Tim Burton? The Cheshire Cat’s smile alone would inspire nightmares. Or if the upcoming “Jumanji” reboot found Dwayne Johnson running from not only CGI monkeys, but also the creeping dread of parenthood? Kent’s unique eye could bring incredible depth to the most throwaway idea. – Bill Earl

Karyn Kusama


Karyn Kusama, who has directed films as diverse as “Girlfight,” “Aeon Flux” and this year’s wickedly twisted “The Invitation,” is an almost too-obvious choice to direct a big-time superheroine movie. She’s got the action chops, the experience with existing properties and a whole lot of love for strong female characters. Kusama, however, has not shied away from shining a light on the dark corners of Hollywood and the way it treats women (as she did in a recent, very excellent profile, over on Buzzfeed), all the more reason why someone should sit up and pay attention to one of the most exciting and gifted female directors to emerge in the last twenty or so years. – KE

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Amy Seimetz


Amy Seimetz knows anxiety and dread. You can feel it in the chilly lines of “The Girlfriend Experience,” the Starz series she writes and directs with Lodge Kerrigan; in its multi-million dollar high rises and corporate law offices, every scene creates the suspense of something terrible that’s just on the verge of happening — and yet the denizens of this world seem totally inured to their own jeopardy and crisis. Lest you give too much credit to the series’ art department, please note that Seimetz pulled off the same genius with her feature debut, “Sun Don’t Shine,” a no-budget thriller starring Kate Lyn Sheil and Kentucker Audley as lovers on the run — and there her props were limited to a beater car, trailer parks, and the unrelenting heat of the Central Florida sun. Unlike some filmmakers whose eye for design can leave their characters stranded, Seimetz has tremendous compassion for these damaged people, who are smarter than we can bear. This is a talent that is ready to be scaled up. – DH


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