Film directing is still a very white male dominated industry, with many of them producing the big blockbusters we see each year. While many of them do a good job, the director is often the ‘mind’ behind the movie and can change the way the script is interpreted by the actors. Many believe this is why having directors with different cultural experiences and backgrounds is important.
Even so-called ‘black’ movies, or movies with majority black casts, often aren’t directed by black people.
That said, there are some black women who have managed to crack the film industry and become directors – whether that’s through the big studios, or by going down the indie film route.
In this article, we’ve picked 8 of our favorites.
African American Female Film Director Ava DuVernay
Ava DuVernay has done so many ‘firsts’ in the movie industry, the only way we can fit them in is to list them! She was the first…
…African American woman to win the Sundance Film Festival directing award, for her film Middle of Nowhere
…African American director to be nominated for a Golden Globe award, for her work on movie Selma
…African American woman to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture, also for Selma
…African American woman to direct a live-action movie with a $100million budget, for the movie A Wrinkle In Time
All we can say is… wow!
This woman is truly a pioneer – she created movie Daughters of the Dust in 1991, and it became the first movie directed by an African American woman to show in theaters all over the US. The story is about the Gullah people of the South, and features black women’s stories and voices.
She paved the way for all these other amazing black women directors, and we salute her for that!
Another Sister Who Directs Films: Stella Meghie
Canadian Stella Meghie has certainly shot to the top of the movie business! She burst onto the scene with movie Jean of the Joneses in 2016, which she wrote as well as directed. But this was just a small, film-festival movie.
Apparently, that was enough, because she scored a highly coveted project as a result – the movie adaptation of the bestselling Young Adult novel Everything, Everything, by Nicola Yoon. Even better, the movie stars an African American girl Maddy with a hidden disability. Her movie is a true trailblazer! Not only that, it made $61.6 billion at the office, adding to Stella’s reputation.
We can’t wait to see what she directs next.
Euzhan Palcy, A Black Woman And A Talented Movie Director
Euzhan is from the Caribbean – from the French island of Martinique to be exact. This small-island girl made history in 1989 when she became the first black woman director to be employed by a major studio. That studio was MGM, where she directed A Dry White Season, starring Marlon Brando and Susan Sarandon, among others.
— Gina Prince-Bythewood (@GPBmadeit) January 26, 2018
Bythewood’s is an accomplished director, and we’ll bet some of her movies are among your favorites. Here are some of her achievements to date:
Her 2000 debut, Love & Basketball, was a smash hit, winning 12 awards and making over $27 million dollars worldwide. Not only did she direct this hit film, she wrote it, too!
Next came her 2008 movie The Secret Life of Bees, which, again, she wrote and directed. It grossed $47 million at the box office, and received 7, yes, SEVEN, NAACP Image Award nominations! It won in the Outstanding Motion Picture category.
2014 saw the release of her next flick, Beyond The Lights. It starred Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Minnie Driver, and Danny Glover, among others.
You’ll catch her again in the next few years, directing what’s predicted to be a huge smash hit – an adaptation of Marvel’s superhero story Silver Sable.