52 Films By Women: A Definitive List

Diversity in mass media seems to be increasing.

2015 saw plenty of TV from minority groups, and even the latest Star Wars film passed the Bechdel test.

Amy Schumer, Amy Poehler, the Broad City girls, Lena Dunham – feminism seems to be changing things, and the male dominated mass media artifice, at least superficially, is becoming more inclusive.

Although women are enjoying better roles on TV, and more dominant parts in film, men are still the filmmakers. In 2014, 93% of the top 250 grossing films were directed by men.

Last year wasn’t much better. Female filmmakers only made up 19% of top Hollywood jobs in 2015.

For most of us, naming more than a handful of female film directors is a challenge. Of course, there’s Sofia Coppola, and Kathryn Bigelow, but who else springs to mind?

52 Films By Women

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In an effort to address this issue, a new campaign, titled ‘52 Films By Women’, suggests that we should watch one film, directed by a woman, per week.

Seems simple enough, right?

But what films do you pick?

I’ve decided to list my favourite female directed films, selecting only ones I’ve seen. It turns out that my viewing habits aren’t as diverse as I initially thought, but I’ll strive to only name a director once.


Your job is to watch some films made by female directors.

(The following films aren’t listed in any particular order.)

1. Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982)

Director: Amy Heckerling


Written by Cameron Crowe, and directed by Amy Heckerling, Fast Times at Ridgemont High is a cult classic from the eighties. It’s a teen sex comedy with all of the hazy indulgences that come along with the genre. Watch it for a dopey performance from Sean Penn, and revel in the good old days of fast food, school bells, and teenage pot smoking.

Other films directed by Amy Heckerling:

2. Desperately Seeking Susan (1985) 

Director: Susan Seidelman


I haven’t seen this film since a gender studies class at university. But I remember that it was funny, prescient, and aesthetically dated. Watch it alongside Fast Times for a true ‘80s double bill full of famous faces, and retro pop hits.

Other films directed by Susan Seidelman:

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