Ava DuVernay just hit a major movie milestone PLUS 22 awesome films directed by women that everyone should watch

Ava DuVernay at Day Two of the Vulture Festival Presented By AT&T
Ava DuVernay at Day Two of the Vulture Festival Presented By AT&T

Ava DuVernay is exceptionally talented and has produced some beautiful, moving pieces of cinema with the likes of Selma, 13th and Queen Sugar. She has made a space for herself in an industry where women (and especially women of colour) often find it difficult and are very underrepresented. 

But the best news about Ava DuVernay right now, according to Fast Company, is that she has officially become the first black female director to hit the $100 million mark for A Wrinkle in Time. 

There has been a lot of celebration when it comes to black male directors over the last year or so, with directors Ryan Coogler (Black Panther), Jordan Peele (Get Out) and Malcolm D. Lee (Girls Trip) all celebrating success and getting past the $100 million milestone, but Ava stands alone as the most successful female director. 

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Ava celebrated the achievement on Twitter, but also expressed her desire for more women to be in the same league. 

And it would be great to see more female directors not only being celebrated, but achieving greatness like this. So, do your part, celebrate female directors and support their films. Here's a list that you can start watching now: 

Sleepless in Seattle

Directed by Nora Ephron
A recently widowed man's son calls a radio talk-show in an attempt to find his father a partner. A woman hears the man speak about his problems and begins falling for him. She eventually writes him a letter asking him to meet her at the Empire State building on Valentine’s Day. The film was a major success grossing over $220 million worldwide.

Image: HelloGiggles


Directed by Amy Heckerling
Loosely based on Jane Austen’s Emma, this movie tells the story of a rich high school student, Cher, and her group of friends. A new student starts at their high school and Cher decides to give her a makeover in an effort to help her become more popular, but she doesn’t count on affairs of the heart getting in the way. Heckerling originally thought it would make a great series, but was told it would make a great feature film after pitching it.

Image: Buzzfeed

Boys Don’t Cry

Directed by Kimberley Peirce
The aclaimed, heart-wrenching 1999 biographical drama tells the story of how Brandon Teena, a young trans man looking for love and acceptance, fell victim to a violent crime at the hands of two men. The screenplay, based on the true story of Teena’s life, was also co-written by Peirce. 

 Image: Tumblr

American Psycho

Directed by Mary Harron
A black comedy horror film about a wealthy New York investment banker who leads a double life with his psychopathic alter ego. The classic film was directed and the screenplay co-written by Harron who nearly lost out on her directing duties to Oliver Stone.

Image: Zimbio

Bridget Jones’s Diary

Directed by Sharon Maguire
A British woman talks about her ups, downs in life, love and everything else in her diary. The film is based on the original novel by Helen Fielding who is close friends with Maguire and apparently based the character of Shazzer on her.

Image: E! Online

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Directed by Julie Taymor
The story of artist Frida Kahlo and how she battled her illness and dealt with her turbulent marriage through her art. The director, Taymor, has directed opera, theatre and films. She became the first woman to win the Tony Award for directing a musical for her work on stage adaptation of The Lion King.

Image: Tumblr

Bend it like Beckham

Directed by Gurinder Chadha
A comedy drama film about the daughter of an orthodox Sikh who rebels against her parents and joins a football team to follow her dream of being a football star. Much of Chadha’s work features the lives of Indians living in England and follows the trials of the women in these films as they try to navigate the traditions of their families and their modern cultures.

Image: Gosocial

Lost in Translation

Directed by Sofia Coppola
This 2003 dramedy is about the unlikely friendship between a faded movie star and a neglected young woman after crossing paths in Tokyo. The film was written, produced and directed by Coppola, and was nominated for four Oscars including Best Director.

Image: She moved to Texas

Something’s Gotta Give

Directed by Nancy Meyers
Written, produced and directed by Meyers, this film is about an ageing playboy who falls for his young girlfriend’s mother after being forced to spend time with her. The film was a critical and commercial success and received several awards.

Image: Fanpop

The Hurt Locker

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow
A movie set during the Iraq war where members of a bomb disposal unit are put at odds with each other due to one of their number being somewhat of a maverick when it comes to his job. The film won six Oscars including Best Picture. Bigelow also became the first female Best Director winner in history for this film.

Image: Makeagif

An Education

Directed by Lone Scherfig
Set in the 1960s, this coming-of-age story is about a teenage girl whose life changes after being seduced by a charming older man. It was nominated for three Oscars including Best Picture in 2010.

Image: Giphy

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The Kids are All Right

Directed by Lisa Cholodenko
This 2010 film is about two children of a lesbian couple who were conceived by artificial insemination and what happens after they meet their biological father. Directed and co-written by Cholodenko, it was nominated for Best picture at the Oscars and won Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy at the 2011 Golden Globes.

Image: Giphy

We Need to Talk About Kevin

Directed by Lynne Ramsay
Kevin's mother struggles to love her strange child, but things get worse when Kevin is a teenager and commits an act so terrifying, it will shock their family and community to the core. Ramsay became involved with the film in 2006 already, but the filming would only commence in 2010. Tilda Swinton was nominated for the Golden Globe Award, Screen Actors Guild, and the BAFTA for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her role as Eva.

Image: Wordpress

The Babadook

Directed by Jennifer Kent
The film is about a widow who is at first concerned about her son’s obsession with a monster found in the pages of a children’s book and later discovers he is telling the truth. Kent wrote and directed the 2014 film proving that women can be masters of the horror genre too.

Image: Film Experience


Directed by Ava DuVernay
This historical drama about the 1965 voting rights marches in Selma, Alabama to Montgomery was nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars and won for Best Song. DuVernay was the first black female director nominated in the Best Director category for the 2015 Golden Globes.

Image: Vh1


Directed by Penny Marshall
Tom Hanks became a star thanks to this film which was about a young boy who wishes to be, well, big. The film was a whopping success and became the first film directed by a woman to gross in excess of $100 million at the US box office.

Image: Daily edge

Little Women

Directed by Gillian Armstrong
The story of the four March sisters and their adventures during and after the American Civil War. It was based on the Louisa May Alcott novel of the same name. Armstrong, the director, is well-known for having strong female perspectives and protagonists in her movies.

Image: Lost in lit

Love & Basketball

Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood
The romantic drama film told the story of Quincy and Monica, two next-door neighbours, who are both pursuing basketball careers and how they eventually fall in love with each other. The film was the directorial debut of Prince-Bythewood who is also a screenwriter.

READ MORE: 5 African movies by women directors you should watch today


Directed by Patty Jenkins
A crime drama film about serial killer Aileen Wuornos, a former prostitute who was executed in 2002 for killing six men between 1989 and 1990. The director, Jenkins, also wrote the screenplay. The film was nominated for several awards, of which Charlize Theron won 17 of for her portrayal as the lead character.


Directed by Dee Rees
Starring the wonderful Queen Latifah, this film is the story of Blues singer Bessie Smith’s rise to fame and how she became a musical legend. Technically made for TV, this film was co-written by Rees and received four Primetime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Television Movie.

Queen of Katwe

Directed by Mira Nair
The story of how a 10-year-old girl uses her love of playing chess to get out of a life of poverty. The screenplay for the film was developed from an article in ESPN magazine and a book by Tim Crothers. Nair first became involved in the project after a Disney executive visited her at her home in Uganda and told her the true story.

Wonder Woman

Directed by Patty Jenkins
The story of Diana, Princess of the Amazons, and how she became the legendary Wonder Woman. Jenkins is the first female director of a studio superhero movie. The film also set the record for the biggest domestic opening for a female director and the biggest opening for a female-led comic book film and it was the tenth highest grossing film of 2017.

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