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Written by Christian Abbott on 2nd March 2021

Yesterday marked the start of Women’s History Month. It will be celebrating the work and achievements of women across all industries, countries, and professions. Cinema is no different, with female filmmakers producing some of the greatest works in the artform.

There are too many to list here but think of this as a point in the right direction, this is just a start to learn more and explore the work of some of history’s greatest women in film.

Alice Guy

Starting with the very beginnings of film history, Guy is considered by many film historians to be the first female film director. She also directed one of the very first narrative films, ‘The Cabbage Fairy’ in 1896. Guy is incredibly important for any film buff or student to know and she set in motion a hundred years of female filmmaking.

Agnès Varda

Often called the Godmother of French New Wave cinema, Varda was beloved for decades. She sadly passed away in 2019, shortly after the premiere of ‘Varda by Agnès’, a look back at a lifetime of her films. She won countless awards across her career and her legacy will live on for decades to come.

Amy Heckerling

Perhaps the most commercially successful filmmaker on this list, Heckerling’s films broke out of cult status and entered the mainstream in a long-lasting way. Beginning her career with ‘Fast Times at Ridgemont High’, she went on to direct multiple successes across film and TV. Arguably best known for ‘Clueless’ and ‘Look Who’s Talking’, she also directed episodes of ‘The Office’ and ‘Gossip Girl’.

Julie Dash

Debuting with ‘Daughters of the Dust’, it became the first feature film directed by a Black woman to have a US theatrical release. Despite struggling to recapture that same success, Dash had an immediate and genre-defining impact on the industry, helping to inspire generations of filmmakers.

Sofia Coppola

Most of us first saw Coppola in ‘The Godfather: Part 3’ directed by her father, Francis Ford Coppola. Her greatest work was to come after this though, starting off with short films and then releasing ‘The Virgin Suicides’, her debut in 1999. She has been produced critically and commercially beloved films ever-since, from heart-felt ‘Lost in Translation’ to award-winning ‘Beguiled’ and beyond.