Female Filmmakers

Suffragette
Suffragette

International Women's Day celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women around the world and at Into Film is a great way for us to highlight women behind the camera. Here is our list of some of the best films for Primary and Secondary ages directed by women. Including short films, features, fiction and documentary it reveals a diverse array of stories and styles and not unsurprisingly some very strong and inspiring female characters.

Lotte Reiniger: The Fairy Tale Films - Disc 1

CertPG

Age groupAll ages

Duration192 mins

Lotte Reiniger: The Fairy Tale Films - Disc 1(1961)

Collection of Lotte Reiniger's stunning depictions of popular fairy tales using her unique silhouette animation style.

Lotte Reiniger created some of the very first animated films using her exquisite signature cut-out technique. The charm of her style brings to life these classic fairy and folk tales and has influenced many generations of animators that have followed.

Read more
Brave

CertPG

Age group7–14

Duration90 mins

Brave(2012)

Bringing the beauty of the Scottish Highlands to life, this is fairytale animation at its best.

Brenda Chapman, writer and part of the directing team on Brave is a long-term Disney asset, having variously worked in animation, writing and directing on some of the best children's films that have come out of the last couple of decades. In Brave we follow headstrong Merida as she rebels against her family's attempts to find a suitable match for her.

Read more
The Cave Of The Yellow Dog

CertU

Age group7–11

Duration89 mins

The Cave Of The Yellow Dog(2005)

A touching story backdropped by beautiful Mongolian scenery, as little Nansal befriends a stray dog.

Writer-director Byambasuren Davaa’s films focus on revealing traditional lifestyles and nomadic communities in her native Mongolia, and are influenced by her studies in documentary filmmaking. In The Cave of the Yellow Dog we see young nomad girl Nansal form a strong bond with a wild dog, despite her shepherd father’s misgivings.

Read more
Wadjda

CertPG

Age group7+

Duration96 mins

Wadjda(2012)

A sweet and uplifting story about ten-year-old girl Wadjda who refuses to let the fact she's a girl stop her from doing the things she wants to do.

The first ever film to have come out of Saudi Arabia was directed by Haifaa Al-Mansour, who due to restrictions on women appearing in public had to direct much of the film using a remote screen from the back of a van. This film follows Wadjda, a young girl who refuses to be limited by what society expects of her.

Read more
Madeline

CertU

Age group5–11

Duration88 mins

Madeline(1998)

Film based on the books about an orphan girl who lives in a Paris boarding school, with real actors and locations to match the original illustrations.

Quirky indie comedy director Daisy von Schlerler Mayer turns her attention to a beloved children’s book that’s full of light-hearted mischief. The Madeline of the title is a sweet-natured girl who can’t help but cause trouble in her straight-laced boarding school, but finds her active imagination can be put to good use to find solutions when problems arise.

Read more
Whale Rider

CertPG

Age group7–16

Duration101 mins

Whale Rider(2002)

Tradition causes trouble in a family when a young Maori girl wants to take up what she believes is her rightful place at the head of her tribe.

One of New Zealand director Niki Caro’s early features, Whale Rider is a coming-of-age story about a young girl who is drawn to fulfil her destiny as the head of her tribe, despite her beloved grandfather’s resistance due to her gender. A poignant cultural insight into the rural communities of New Zealand with a message that is progressive yet respectful of tradition.

Read more
A League Of Their Own

CertPG

Age group11+

Duration123 mins

A League Of Their Own(1992)

Big-hearted comedy with an all-star cast about an all-female American baseball league in the 40s.

American director Penny Marshall made her name in aspirational and touching comedies of the late ‘80s and ‘90s and is perhaps best known for Big, starring Tom Hanks. In A League of Their Own, female baseball players rise to the challenge to keep the nation’s spirits high when the male players had gone to fight in World War Two.

Read more
Tomboy

CertU

Age group7+

Duration79 mins

Tomboy(2011)

A beautifully understated, naturalistic drama about childhood gender identity confusion that’s both touching and gently humorous.

Another entry from French writer-director Celine Sciamma, who crafts rich, complex and nuanced characters. In Tomboy, we follow Laure as she adjusts to life in a new home. When she is mistaken for a boy, she decides to stick with her new male identity to help her make friends with the local kids, but it soon becomes a strain to keep up the illusion.

Read more
Little Women

CertU

Age group7+

Duration113 mins

Little Women(1994)

Based on Louisa May Alcott's classic novel, about four sisters growing up during the American Civil War.

Australian director Gillian Armstrong is known for her female-centric period dramas, and in this heartwarming and faithful adaptation of Little Women we see some of her strongest work. Featuring an ensemble cast of some of Hollywood’s finest actors, this is a touching film about women banding together and stepping up to get through tough times.

Read more
The Secret Garden

CertU

Age group7–14

Duration97 mins

The Secret Garden(1993)

The Secret Garden was originally one of the great books for children - and this film version is every bit as good.

Agnieska Holland’s filmmaking career spans over four decades and covers some of the finest drama in film and TV produced in English and in her native Polish. Although the majority of her work takes a political slant, her handling of children’s drama The Secret Garden, based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett, is sensitive and magical.

Read more
Kung Fu Panda 2

CertPG

Age group7+

Duration90 mins

Kung Fu Panda 2(2011)

Sequel to the celebrated martial arts animation about a Kung Fu Panda called Po and his friends who this time must save China from a deadly villain.

South Korean-American director and animator Jennifer Yuh Nelson was the first ever sole female director of a major studio animation with Kung Fu Panda 2, after impressing studio bosses with her direction on the dream sequence in the first film. These sequences, inspired by different traditional 2D animation styles, have become a feature of each Kung Fu Panda film.

Read more
Load more

Viewing 0 of 0 films in list

Bright, Bad and British!

CertUnclassified

Age group11+

Duration45 mins

Bright, Bad and British!(2015)

A collection of extraordinary footage from the BFI National Archive capturing the suffragette movement in the early 20th century.

The BFI’s unique archive has been mined to capture how suffragettes were represented on screen, from the 1890s until the partial granting of voting rights in 1918. Using a mixture of newsreel and comedy, this collection captures how film itself was used as a political tool, treading all over the stereotypes people have become accustomed to.

Read more
Marie Antoinette

Cert12

Age group11+

Duration117 mins

Marie Antoinette(2006)

Sofia Coppola film using a rock soundtrack to portray notorious French royal Marie Antoinette as a bored teen, rather than a cruel monster.

Sofia Coppola’s exuberant biopic of the notorious French queen suggests her callous reputation may be somewhat undeserved. Drawing on modern social attitudes and rock music, the film draws parallels between 18th century France and the experiences of 21st century adolescence, tackling universal issues around feeling lonely in a world that doesn’t understand you.

Read more
Bande De Filles (Girlhood)

Cert15

Age group14+

Duration110 mins

Bande De Filles (Girlhood)(2014)

Energetic and honest coming-of-age drama about a teenager’s new friendship with a group of girls in the suburbs of Paris.

French director Céline Schiamma has made her reputation on telling provocative, but tender stories about youth and gender. This coming-of-age story set in suburban Paris retains these characteristics, a compelling portrait of an African-French teenager’s developing identity, told in raw and vibrant fashion.

Read more
Suffragette

Cert12A

Age group11+

Duration106 mins

Suffragette(2015)

A powerful depiction of the rise of the Suffragist movement and some of the British women involved.

Remarkably, it took until 2015 for film to tackle the extraordinary account of the suffragist movement in 20th century Britain. Focusing around a group of working-class activists, rather than the campaign’s better-known figures, Sarah Gavron’s film is a rallying cry to continue the fight for equality around the world, and sincere telling of a vital story.

Read more
Belle

Cert12

Age group11+

Duration99 mins

Belle(2013)

Absorbing costume drama about the illegitimate mixed-race daughter of a Royal Navy admiral in the 18th Century, blending period romance and politics.

Amma Asante is part of a group of hugely exciting young, British female filmmakers. Her breakthrough work is a fantastic costume drama, telling the extraordinary story of a young mixed-race woman in 18th century England. Inspired by a true-story, the film highlights issues around race and gender that remain all too relevant today.

Read more
Clueless

Cert12A

Age group11+

Duration93 mins

Clueless(1995)

Jane Austen's comedy of manners Emma gets a valley girl update as Alicia Silverstone's so-not-an-airhead struggles with love and life.

Written and directed by Amy Heckerling, Clueless is one of the iconic teen films, ingeniously relocating the world of Jane Austen’s Emma to 1990s Beverly Hills. Front and centre is Cher, one of the most charming and witty – if fallible - heroines in modern film, effortlessly able to undermine those who view her as an empty clothes horse.

Read more
Fish Tank

Cert15

Age group14+

Duration120 mins

Fish Tank(2009)

Both atmospheric and effortlessly authentic, Fish Tank is a note perfect story of an adolescent's struggle in a complex adult world.

Few modern films have managed to tap into anxieties around coming-of-age as acutely as Andrea Arnold’s Fish Tank. Centred around fifteen year-old Mia, the film takes the traditions of British social realism and brings them into the 21st century, resulting in an uncompromising slice-of-life drama, but also full of warmth and humanity.

Read more
Where Do We Go Now?

Cert12

Age group11+

Duration98 mins

Where Do We Go Now?(2011)

A witty and heartfelt satire on the absurdity of war set in a half-Christian, half-Muslim village.

This charming, heartfelt comedy from Lebanese director Nabine Labaki uses vibrant, crowd-pleasing filmmaking techniques to explore its serious, topical story about a group of women in a remote village pulling together in an attempt to stop the men in their life from launching a foolish war. A playful mix of genres, but with a pertinent message.

Read more
Sisters in Law

Cert12

Age group11+

Duration101 mins

Sisters in Law(2005)

You'll be cheering for the two formidable female law practitioners at the centre of this fascinating, fly-on-the-wall documentary.

One of Britain’s leading documentary filmmakers, Kim Longinotto’s films highlight women fighting oppression or discrimination in their day to day lives. In Sisters in Law we meet two formidable and inspiring women – a state prosecutor and a judge - helping to improve the lives of women in their traditional West African community.

Read more
Zero Dark Thirty

Cert15

Age group14+

Duration150 mins

Zero Dark Thirty(2012)

Kathryn Bigelow's dramatic re-telling of the operation that led to the execution of Osama Bin Laden, and the woman at its core.

Remarkably, Kathryn Bigelow remains the only woman to ever receive the Oscar for Best Director, in 2010, for The Hurt Locker. Her follow-up was this characteristically visceral true story of the woman at the centre of the worldwide man-hunt for Osama Bin Laden. A powerfully tense political thriller and important voice in bringing gender into conversations around geopolitics.

Read more
Morvern Callar

Cert15

Age group16+

Duration93 mins

Morvern Callar(2002)

Drama in which a young Scottish woman puts her name to her dead boyfriend's novel manuscript, takes his money and travels to Ibiza to party.

Lynne Ramsey’s second feature is an enigmatic, unconventional thriller about a young woman in rural Scotland who escapes to Ibiza following the death of her boyfriend. This delicate, quirky film demonstrates Ramsey’s ability to give voices to the sorts of complex female characters all too seldom seen on screen.

Read more
Bright Star

CertPG

Age group11+

Duration116 mins

Bright Star(2009)

Intense drama based on the love of early 19th century poet John Keats for the beautiful and talented daughter of his landlady.

This beautiful drama from Australian director Jane Campion tells the story of the romance between Fanny Brawne and poet John Keats. Through Brawne’s eyes we experience the evocative nature of Keats' poetry, as well as the frustrations of women restrained by the social conventions and expectations of the time, in a manner that still feels current.

Read more
An Education

Cert12

Age group11+

Duration96 mins

An Education(2009)

A stylish Nick Hornby adaptation which sees bookish Jenny's life take a romantic turn on the eve of her A-levels in 1960s London.

Carey Mulligan became an instant star through her role in this 1960s set true-story. Mulligan plays a young woman heading to university, but inspired to rebel against her parents and the staid social attitudes of the time. Lone Scherfig’s adaption of Lynn Barber’s memoir is funny and mature, intelligently capturing the joy, frustration and poignancy of adolescence.

Read more
The Iron Lady

Cert12

Age group11+

Duration100 mins

The Iron Lady(2011)

Unorthodox biopic about the life of controversial former prime minister Margaret Thatcher.

While the actions of Britain’s first female prime-minister will always be controversial and divisive, Phylidda Lloyd’s biopic of Margaret Thatcher is commendably human and balanced. Focussing on her early years in parliament, and subsequent decline due to Alzheimer’s, the film is a probing insight into one of the most significant figures of the 20th century.

Read more
The Selfish Giant

Cert15

Age group14+

Duration87 mins

The Selfish Giant(2013)

This contemporary fable tells the story of two boys, shunned by their community, who resort to collecting scrap metal for a shady local dealer.

British director Clio Barnard firmly established herself as a significant new voice in British cinema with this acclaimed adaptation of the Oscar Wilde short story. Centred around two disenfranchised teenage boys shunned by their own small community, the film is an atmospheric emotional drama about the complexities of friendship and the devastating impacts of violence.

Read more
The Falling

Cert15

Age group16+

Duration100 mins

The Falling(2014)

In a strict English girls' school in the 1960s, a fainting outbreak occurs after the pupils are rocked by a tragedy.

Manchester-based Carol Morley followed-up her hugely acclaimed work in documentary film with this seminal story set in an all girls school in the 1960s. Provocative and disturbing, the film vividly uses its supernatural tale to provoke issues around education, gender and psychological wellbeing.

Read more
Julie and Julia

Cert12

Age group11+

Duration118 mins

Julie and Julia(2009)

Julie is attempting to cook all of Julia Child's recipes in one year, as we witness the similarity of these parallel lives, though 50 years apart.

Nora Ephron was one of the most influential writers and directors in 20th century America, giving a voice and intelligence to women that was all too rarely displayed in cinema. Her final film is typical: deceptively breezy, full of warmth and heart, as well as sharp, probing insight into the lives of professional women in the modern world, as well as the 1950s.

Read more
Encounters Short Film Festival - Fresh Flix: Shoot From The Hip

CertUnclassified

Age group14+

Duration62 mins

Encounters Short Film Festival - Fresh Flix: Shoot From The Hip(2013)

Five short films by female directors as part of the Encounters Film Festival

Made up entirely of short films directed by women, this collection heralds the skill and power of story-telling by female directors from across Europe. Each featuring compelling female characters taking control of their lives, the films were selected by a group of 18 - 25 year olds as part of a scheme run by the Watershed venue in Bristol in 2013.

Read more
Persepolis

Cert12

Age group11+

Duration91 mins

Persepolis(2007)

Adapted from Marjane Satrapi's brilliantly funny autobiographical graphic novel about a rebellious young girl's experience of revolutionary Iran.

A spirited insight into the experience of growing up in a politically volatile country, where the goalposts for what’s expected of women are constantly changing. Not only a document of a key period in Iran's history, this is also a funny and honest coming of age tale that is full of visual and emotional impact from author and co-director Marjane Sartrapi.

Read more
Load more

Viewing 0 of 0 films in list