Lina Wertmüller crashes the Academy's boys' club. Moviestore/REX/Shutterstock, Credit: The drama was nominated for eight Oscars (including best picture), and Campion would go on to win original screenplay. Frenchwoman Guy-Blaché's life is so enigmatically movie-esque that a film is going to made based on it. In 1977, Wertmüller received an Oscar nomination as best director for Seven Beauties, making the Italian director the category's first female nominee (there have only been four: Bigelow, Wertmüller, Campion and Coppola). • "The 100 greatest films directed by women". Of course, before 1980 women were rarely offered opportunities to direct films, especially in Hollywood. Editor's note: An earlier version of this article suggested that Arzner was the very first female film director. The more we know about these ladies, the more we'll understand and recognize the work of female directors today — and the wider we'll open the door to future kick-ass women behind the camera. But Arzner saw the potential and wanted to take advantage of the future of film. I'm really gratified that Wonder Woman did so well. Coyote Ugly Turns 20: Where Is the Cast Now? Dorothy Arzner, First Female Director in Hollywood Studio System. Fans already want a sequel. Senator and state Governor, being elected as governor of New Hampshire from 1997 to 2003 and U.S. senator for … In 1988, with Big, she became the first woman in Hollywood history to direct a movie that grossed more than $100 million at the box office. So not only was Begum a landmark director, she was also one of the first fantasy directors. Cookie Policy In 2010, Bigelow shattered a previously impenetrable glass ceiling in Hollywood by becoming the first woman to win the best director Oscar for The Hurt Locker. The 2001 movie Riding in Cars with Boys was the last one Marshall directed, though she did occasionally step back in as producer on other films afterwards. After starting as a stage actress, Begum became a star in silent-era Indian film. "There aren't a lot of female story artists, and it's baffling to me," Nelson told the Los Angeles Times before the second movie's release. Why is talking about female directors in film history important? ... It’s not that different for me to direct than anybody else." It was her third most successful film with $52 million at the box office. Once the war ended, she was excluded from directing, and had to go to the bottom of the cinema rungs and start all over. Her husband, Phillips Smalley, was key in her career, too: the two started a husband-and-wife film-directing partnership that got them jobs at big studios in the 1900s. Two years later, her drama Awakenings earned a Best Picture nomination. While working on her 1929 film Wild Party, she thought of an idea to rig a microphone in a certain way so that the actors will be able to be mobile while reciting their lines. California Do Not Sell My Info Binka Zhelyazkova was the first Bulgarian woman to direct a feature film with Life Flows Quietly By... in 1957 and was one of the few women worldwide to direct feature films in the 1950s. Well, for one thing, they're completely awesome — but for another, some people seem to think that the Bigelows and DuVernays of the world came out of a vacuum. "To pretend like Hollywood is anything other than that is disingenuous. Try to name ten female film directors. She was also the first woman to direct a movie with a $100 million-plus budget (2002’s K-19: The Widowmaker); Jenkins was the second with Wonder Woman, and DuVernay will be the third with Wrinkle. It's a fact Aniello (Broad City) finds "more depressing than encouraging." ", Kathryn Bigelow wins Hollywood's highest honor. 17th Annual Photo Contest Finalists Announced. Arzner made three silent films and fourteen "talkies" over twenty years, helping her actors transition into the new world of talking films — she apparently invented the boom microphone to help Clara Bow get over her fear of talking on camera. Introducing ... PEOPLE's Products Worth the Hype. As a woman in a male dominated industry, Arzner challenged conventions and still succeeded in Hollywood's studio system. or In the golden age of Hollywood, one woman emerged amid a sea of male directors, writes Ella Morton for Atlas Obscura. She was the first woman to direct a film, Fashions for Women, in Hollywood. husband-and-wife film-directing partnership. Soon she made the jump to film editor. Editor's note: An earlier version of this article suggested that Arzner was the very first female film director. At her height, she was in the same league as Cecil B. DeMille and made over 100 films, many of which were basically morality tales — which was fitting, because before she'd entered the tempting world of the silver screen, Weber had been a Christian evangelist, preaching on street corners. Unfortunately, the lack of recognition given to female film directors has been a massive issue since, oh, the invention of film. Since 1929—the year of the very first Academy Award ceremony—only one woman has ever won the Academy Award for Best Director. She was the only major female director in Hollywood during the "Golden Age" of the '20s and '30s, and the only female director whose career survived the introduction of sound into films. In 1926, Dorothy Arzner became that trailblazer. Later on, Arzner directed a few short films and taught at UCLA, but today her notoriety is restricted to film nerds. Terms of Use We are an ecosystem to help women create and develop blueprints for success, built on beautiful experiences & technology. Penny Marshall breaks into the $100 million box-office club. She returned to co-direct Kung Fu Panda 3 in 2016. 'Wonder Woman' made her standalone debut in theaters last weekend. biggest opening weekend ever for a movie directed by a woman, the first R-rated studio comedy directed by a woman in nearly 20 years, Your California Privacy Rights/Privacy Policy. In 2011, the South Korean-American director became the first woman to solely direct an animated feature from a major Hollywood studio with Kung Fu Panda 2. Starring the late great Whitney Houston, The Preacher’s Wife found medium success at the box office with $48 million grossed. It feels like it's going in a positive direction. We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. With a career that launched in the 1920s and continued through the '40s, Arzner began as a writer and ultimately became the first female director in the studio system. Smithsonian Institution. Video provided by Newsy. So, this sets up the catalyst to the question, who trailblazed the way for current female directors in Hollywood? Their works may include live action and/or animated features, shorts, documentaries, telemovies, TV programs, or videos. have been a part of big budget movies. “If I failed, I had my excuse: I was an actress, not a director.”. The Tom Hank classic went on to make $115 million domestically and $151.9 million worldwide. But in 1926, she started her own production company, Fatma Films, and made the first Indian film directed by a woman: Bulbul-E-Paristan. As the years went on, film started to progress with the expansion of certain technologies, introducing the “talkie”. Sweden’s first female director, Anna Hofman-Uddgren, started her career as a stage actress and cabaret singer in Stockholm in the late nineteenth century. But "even just parading around the statistic is a good thing," she tells USA TODAY. Along with having success in her own right, she also launched the careers of some major stars at the time. Like a man. She taught Francis Ford Coppola, directed Katharine Hepburn and Joan Crawford and became the first female member of the Director’s Guide Association (DGA). Her films were honored and studied by those after her in order to analyze feminism within film. Penny Marshall, who died at 75, was the first woman in Hollywood history to direct a movie that grossed more than $100 million at the box office. Directing films is still one of those mediums that women are trying to find their footing among notable male directors. “For me it was just something to do,” Marshall said in 1996, reflecting on how she transitioned from acting to directing. Stay up to date on the latest vote tallies as compiled by The Associated Press' nationwide team, Princess Diana died when Harry was just 12 years old, The Sweetest Photos of Princes Harry with Diana, First-Time Voters Across the Country Share Why the 2020 Election Matters to Them. All rights reserved. "I will not downplay it and say it was easy or it was not an incredible task," Jenkins told USA TODAY. Gender, Race, & Age of Film Directors Across 1,000 Films from 2007-2016", USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, "Women Behind the Lens: Female Filmmakers from Around the World", "The Celluloid Void Project: A Compendium of Female Film Directors", "Early Women Filmmakers: An International Anthology", The Director List: Women Directors at Work, Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film,, Short description is different from Wikidata, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 1 November 2020, at 02:34. Leaving Paramount to work as a freelancer after five films, Arzner went on to direct a slew of films that featured high profile stars, including Hepburn, Crawford, and Lucille Ball. It tells the story of a woman in a loveless, horrible marriage with a slob who fantasizes about escape. She apparently invented the concept of filming on location and did one of the first close-ups. In 2014, she also became the first black woman nominated for best director at the Golden Globes for Selma. One of the first Japanese women to direct films, Tazuko Sakane worked her way up through the studio system in Japan's highly stratified, seriously masculine film industry in the 1930s. She first started working for Cecil B. DeMille's brother as a stenographer, and worked her way up to become a film editor (the first editor to ever be named in a film's credits, in fact) and eventually, director. Sofia Coppola's Cannes Film Festival win is historic, She's only the second woman to win best director in Cannes Film Festival history. While she was one of the first extremely successful female directors in Hollywood, and one of the few females to make the transition from silent films to talkies. How amazing is that? As Morton laments, “type the name "Dorothy Arzner" into Netflix's search bar and you'll get zero results.”. The opportunities are scarce and with only one female director winning Best Director at the Oscars in its ninety-one years, it hasn’t been too promising. She had been working with Paramount for quite some time as a film editor, which she worked her way up to. She was the first female director in the history of film, and made the first narrative film in history, in 1896 — at the staggeringly young age of 23. Jane Campion takes home the coveted Palme d'Or. Jeanne Shaheen became the first woman to hold the offices of U.S. Tazuko was also one of the world's first female documentary filmmakers. At the time, the industry was in the midst of a transition from silent films to “talkies,” which Arzner seems to have navigated quite seamlessly. During Japan's invasion of Manchuria, she made documentary and propaganda films in north-eastern China, including one called Pioneer Bride that focused on intercultural cooperation. Dorothy Arzner pushes into the studio system. It's crucial that we change that. Get push notifications with news, features and more. Jennifer Yuh Nelson kicks butt with 'Kung Fu'. She went on to direct a number of other films that garnered success as well.