Tag Archives: Female Filmmakers

Film’s Female Powerhouses — Part 3: The International Cineastes

(Re-posted from LimitéMagazine.com)

This Women’s History Month, we’ve spotlighted just some of the contributions to film made by some of the industry’s most interesting and powerful female voices. The first part of the “Film’s Female Powerhouses” series covered some of “The Hollywood Hitmakers,” including such heavyweights as Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight, 2009) and Nancy Meyers (It’s Complicated, 2009). The second part turned attention to “The Indie Darlings,” celebrating the contributions of such directors as Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker, 2008) and Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation, 2003) to the independent film scene. In this third—and final—installment, we look at “The International Cineastes,” just some of the contemporaries of famed international female directors as French-born Alice Guy (regarded as the first female filmmaker) and Italian Lina Wertmüller (the first woman nominated for a Best Director Oscar).

Among the 16 women we’ve covered throughout the duration of this series, their films have netted a combined 55 Academy Award nominations and 13 wins, among countless other nominations and wins. More important than awards are the points of view these and so many other female filmmakers bring to the situations and characters that grace our movie and TV screens. It just goes to show us all, “sisters are doin’ it for themselves.”

Continue reading Film’s Female Powerhouses — Part 3: The International Cineastes

Film’s Female Powerhouses — Part 2: The Indie Darlings

(Re-posted from LimitéMagazine.com)

Last week, we kicked off our three-part series honoring female filmmakers with some of Hollywood’s biggest hitmakers. This week, we continue our Women’s History Month tribute with some of independent cinema’s brightest stars.

Be sure to join us Friday, March 29 for the final part of our series, “The International Cineastes.”



by Morgan Goldin

History was made in 2010 when Kathryn Bigelow won the Best Director Oscar for The Hurt Locker (2008), becoming the first woman to win this honor. For most of her career, Bigelow has worked in the arena of “masculine movies” and crafted some of the most impeccable action spectacles to hit the big screen. Despite some of her bigger action films, it was her success with breakout, low-budget film The Hurt Locker that places her on this list.

Her talent for crafting taut and lean imagery could be traced to her art school beginnings. She got her start in painting, and later studied film theory and criticism. “The Set-Up” (1978) was a 20-minute avant-garde deconstruction of cinematic violence that was Bigelow’s first short film. This piece lays down the themes that Bigelow returns to throughout her career. The aestheticization of violence is a mode in which Bigelow heavily operates. This style can be traced back to her first feature, The Loveless (1981), a biker-movie that showcased her taste for visual flourishes. Near Dark (1987), her sophomore film, is a neo-horror classic that successfully merges two distinct genres, the western and the vampire movie. A later success is Point Break (1991), about an FBI agent who goes undercover with a group of adrenaline junkie surfers who rob banks in ex-president masks.

Her most celebrated picture, The Hurt Locker, earned its accolades and rightly won Best Picture. An Iraqi war film that strips away the political subtext and focuses on the day-to-day struggles of a bomb diffuser, the film employs handheld camera work that expertly complements the fractured mental and physical states of its soldier protagonists. Her follow-up, Zero Dark Thirty (2012), is no less thrilling and chronicles the days leading up to the locating and killing of Osama bin Laden.

Kathryn Bigelow proves you don’t need a man’s touch when working on action films. Her muscular oeuvre speaks for itself. Future textbooks and scholars will recognize her as a female director succeeding in a typically male province.

Continue reading Film’s Female Powerhouses — Part 2: The Indie Darlings

Film’s Female Powerhouses — Part 1: The Hollywood Hitmakers

(Re-posted from LimitéMagazine.com)

Part 1

March is Women’s History Month, so it’s only fitting that we turn our attention to some of the most notable female filmmakers working today. A rarity among the ranks of Hollywood filmmakers, women represent only 7% of the field (according to the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University). Though there’s still much room to grow, women have come a long way since the days of Alice Guy (b. 1873), the French pioneer who’s considered the first female director. With Guy paving the proverbial way, women like Julie Taymor, Phyllida Lloyd, Sarah Polley, Brenda Chapman, Dee Rees, and Lena Dunham have come up through the ranks, imprinting their unique stamps on some of the most interesting films today. In 2010, Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker) became the first woman to win the Oscar for Best Director, and in 2011, two of the 10 Best Picture-nominated films were helmed by women (Lisa Cholodenko’s The Kids Are All Right and Debra Granik’s Winter’s Bone). But the road is still long.

Beginning today, Limité launches its three-part series on female filmmakers, paying tribute to just some of the women representing three categories of filmmakers: “The Hollywood Hitmakers,” “The Indie Darlings,” and “The International Cineastes.” This week, we focus on those women who have made their mark in big studio releases. Join us next Friday for Part 2.

This series is dedicated to the memory of trailblazer Nora Ephron, beloved writer-director of such romantic comedy classics as Sleepless in Seattle (1993) and You’ve Got Mail (1998), and writer of When Harry Met Sally… (1989). Her valuable contributions to the genre—and to filmmaking, as a whole—are no doubt felt in the works of so many female directors working today.

Continue reading Film’s Female Powerhouses — Part 1: The Hollywood Hitmakers