• Dorothy Arzner

      In the early days of Hollywood when women had few paths to choose from, Dorothy Arzner bucked the system and became a feature film director. Arzner managed to rise from being an editor to directing her first picture, Fashions for Women (1927), a silent comedy that went on to box-office success. After helming Ten Modern Commandments (1927) and Get Your Man (1927), she entered the talkie era with The Wild …

    • Jacqueline Audry

      The first female director to rise in France after World War II, Jacqueline Audry created a gallery of self-determined women. Her films were often censored in other countries because of her unconventional depictions of sexuality. After working as a script supervisor and assistant director, she got her first shot at directing with Les malheurs de Sophie (1946), about a rebellious young girl fighting for her right to independence. Audry worked …

    • Teresa Prata

      Teresa Prata, who The New York Times has called “a skilled storyteller with a clear, unsentimental eye,” did not start her career as a director. After getting a degree in biology in Portugal, she studied at the Theater Group CITAC and hosted her own radio program about the arts. It was while working at an art gallery that she first began making experimental video, which led to her first short …

    • Lina Wertmüller

      After her graduation from theater school in 1951, Wertmüller became an itinerant theatrical jack-of-all-trades, traveling through Europe as a producer of avant-garde plays, puppeteer, stage manager, set designer, publicist and radio/TV scriptwriter. Through an acquaintance with Marcello Mastroianni, Wertmüller was introduced to Federico Fellini, who offered her a production position on his film 8 ½ (1962). Through her work on this production Wertmüller developed a desire to direct her own …

    • Chantal Akerman

      One of the most significant independent filmmakers of her era, Chantal Akerman possessed a pronounced visual and narrative style, influenced by structuralism and minimalism, which offers astute insights into women’s role in modern culture. Akerman’s interest in film was sparked at the age of 15, prompting her to enroll in the Belgian film school, INSAS. Eager to begin making films, she quit school then moved to New York in 1971.  …

    • Leontine Sagan

      Born in Vienna, Sagan relocated to South Africa with her family at an early age, ultimately returning to Europe in the early 1910s. Fascinated by theater, Sagan would go on to pursue her acting studies further in Berlin with her mentor Max Reinhardt. Although Sagan spent most of her early career in theatre, she is perhaps best known for the films she directed in the early 1930s, particularly Mädchen in …

    • Lucrecia Martel

      Frequently cited as one of the most influential figures in New Argentine Cinema, Lucrecia Martel became internationally recognized following her 2001 debut film La ciénaga. Martel’s body of work explores themes of class dynamics and sexuality, weaving together portraits of bourgeois family life with depictions of intimate internal struggle. Influenced by her formal film training in animation and her experiences in Buenos Aires in the 1980s, Martel’s films have explored …