The Power of the Woman-Identifying Auteur

In 2019, Hollywood saw a historic surge of women-identifying directors. The number of women-led theatrical releases in 2019 doubled from 2018, and of all films released by major studios last year, a record-breaking 15% were directed by women. 

In addition, a number of these films were both written and directed by women, a combination which is shockingly rare. Out of the top 100 grossing films of the last 5 years, only 5 percent were both written and directed by women. In 2019 alone, there were 10%. 

This wasn’t just a year for women-identifying directors, it was a year of women getting to fully shape their films, and in doing so, amplify an authentic understanding of nuanced feminine experiences. 2019 made the power of the female and women-identifying writer/director un-ignorable. 


We hope to see more films like these throughout 2020:


The Farewell. 

Written and directed by Lulu Wang

The Farewell is a family comedy-drama based off of chinese-amercian filmmaker Lulu Wang’s personal story of grappling with her family’s choice to lie to her grandmother about her terminal illness. The success of The Farewell is fueled by Lulu Wang’s refusal to choose between making a Chinese or American film, and her commitment to telling her own authentic, cross-cultural story. 


Portrait of a Lady on Fire 

Written and directed by Céline Sciamma

Portrait of a Lady on Fire draws from the director’s own real relationship with the lead, telling an intimate story of queer love. The film, shot by cinematographer Claire Mathon, has the delicate strokes of a portrait itself.


The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open

Written and directed by Elle-Maija Tailfeather and Kathleen Hepburn

The Body Remembers When the World Broke Open follows a change yet urgent encounter between two indigenous women of similar heritage but vastly different worlds. Filmed in real time, it portrays an intimate and nuanced relationship between these two Native American women, characters we rarely see on screen. 


Atlantics

Written and directed by Mati Diop

Atlantics is a hauntingly moving is a beautiful Dakar love story rooted in themes of female independence, power, and class, written and directed by French-Senegalese filmmaker Mati Diop.


Little Women

Written and directed by Greta Gerwig

Little Women is a period piece which chronicles the highs and lows of feminine companionship, love, and the importance of telling our own stories -- landing on truths we still feel today. Gerwig artfully reimagines a story that has been told many times before her, and creating a totally fresh take on a timeless classic.  


The impact of this work is remarkable: when we, as woman-identifying audiences, see ourselves on screen -- fully realized versions of ourselves in intimate, simple and recognizable moments -- we are reminded that our lived experiences have value, and are worth sharing with the world. 


Keep an eye out for these films, set to be released in 2020!

  1. “Wonder Woman 1984” — co-written and directed by Patty Jenkins
  2. “Candyman” - directed and co-written by Nia DaCost
  3. “Mulan” — directed by Niki Caro (written by  Rick Jaffa, Amanda Silver, Lauren Hynek and Elizabeth Martin)
  4. “Respect” - directed by Liesl Tommy and written by Tracey Scott Wilson
  5. “The High Note” - directed by Nisha Ganatra written by Flora Greeson

By Lillie Fleshler, Impact Distribution Coordinator & Zoe Malhotra, Impact Strategy Coordinator