We’re in this great time of television where diverse stories are being told and shows have female leads. As great as that is, there’s still a lack of diversity in film - not just in front of the camera, but behind it as well.
There’s plenty of female talent out there, but the issue seems to be a lack of exposure. Most of the work being done by female directors is in the indie scene and not the blockbuster hits with billboards everywhere.
To help bring exposure to some amazing talent, here’s a list of 10 films directed by and starring women. Some of these films have already been released, and a few coming soon.
Mosquita y Mari (2012)
Written and Directed by Aurora Guerrero
Starring Venecia Troncoso and Fenessa Pineda
Two Chicana high schoolers, Mari and Yolanda, form a bond that confuses them at times. It’s not often we see a film that explores Latina identity, and showing it through the friendship that develops between these two girls is a great way to do it.
In a World... (2013)
Written and directed by Lake Bell
Starring Lake Bell
A vocal coach competes with her own father and his main rival for a prestigious gig doing the voiceover on a trailer for a big-budget movie. It’s a woman trying to make it in a male-dominated industry, and showing that just because everyone is against you, doesn’t mean you should give up on your passion.
Beyond the Lights (2014)
Written and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood
Starring Gugu Mbatha-Raw
Singer Noni is having trouble dealing with her success. She feels an instant attraction to her bodyguard, Kaz, but people in their lives fear their romance will stray from the course planned out for both of them. We see this journey for Noni in figuring out what exactly she wants. It shows that finding your voice in midst of everyone telling you what to do is a significant journey for everyone.
Obvious Child (2014)
Written and directed by Gillian Robespierre
Starring Jenny Slate
An immature, newly unemployed comic must navigate the murky waters of adulthood after her fling with a graduate student results in an unplanned pregnancy. Jenny Slate plays this role with such emotional depth while balancing this with the comedic tone of the film. I need about a million more movies starring Jenny Slate STAT.
The Diary of a Teenage Girl (2015)
Book by Phoebe Glockner
Screenplay/Directed by Marielle Heller
Starring Bel Powley
In 1970s San Francisco, a precocious 15-year-old embarks on an enthusiastic sexual odyssey, beginning with her mother's current lover. This film takes you through a whole range of emotions, carried by the lead actress Bel Powley, who pulls it off brilliantly.
Already Tomorrow in Hong Kong (2015)
Written and Directed by Emily Ting
Co-starring Jamie Chung
A budding attraction develops between a U.S. expatriate and a Chinese-American woman who's visiting Hong Kong for a business trip. Seeing this chance encounter possibly grow into something more feels very real. It’s like a casual conversation you’re part of, and the natural chemistry between the two leads draws you in (which makes sense given they’re married in real life!).
Written by Jennifer Phang and Jacqueline Kim
Starring Jacqueline Kim
In a future where opulence overshadows economic hardship, Gwen and her daughter Jules try to hold on to their joy. There’s a somber tone throughout the movie, but there’s such depth in the relationship between the mother and daughter. It’s powerful to see how Gwen would do anything for her daughter.
Bridget Jones’s Baby (September 16, 2016)
Directed by Sharon Maguire
Screenplay by Emma Thompson, Helen Fielding, and Dan Mazer
Starring Renee Zellweger
Bridget Jones thinks she has everything under control until she discovers she’s pregnant and unsure of who’s the father. We don’t necessarily need another Bridget Jones movie, but I’m not complaining and I will go see this.
The Edge of Seventeen (September 18, 2016)
Written and Directed by Kelly Fremon
Starring Hailee Steinfeld
A high school junior finds out her best friend is dating her older brother. The film captures the joy of being an awkward teenager- and by joy I mean pitfalls, cringeworthy moments, and feeling like the tiniest things are the end of the world. Ahh, to be a teenager again.
Queen of Katwe (September 23, 2016)
Directed by Mira Nair
Starring Madina Nalwanga, David Oyelowo, and Lupita Nyong’o
A young girl from Uganda trains to become a world class chess champion. One of those inspirational sports Disney films, so it’s sure to pull at your heartstrings. The great thing about this particular movie - it’s not a white savior story!
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