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Updated by Soubin Nath on Jul 29, 2017
Headline for 20 World Best Female Film Directors
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20 World Best Female Film Directors

The Ranker has published the list of best female directors in the world. Here is the list top 20 among them.

Kathryn Bigelow

A very talented painter, Kathryn spent two years at the San Francisco Art Institute. At 20, she won a scholarship to the Whitney Museum's Independent Study Program. She was given a studio in a former Offtrack Betting building, literally in an old bank vault, where she made art and waited to be critiqued by people like Richard Serra, Robert Rauschenberg and Susan Sontag.

Sofia Coppola

Sofia Coppola was born on May 14, 1971 in New York City, New York, USA as Sofia Carmina Coppola. She is a director, known for Somewhere (2010), Lost in Translation (2003) and Marie Antoinette (2006). She has been married to Thomas Mars since August 27, 2011. They have two children.

Jane Campion

Jane Campion was born in Wellington, New Zealand, and now lives in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Having graduated with a BA in Anthropology from Victoria University of Wellington in 1975, and a BA, with a painting major, at Sydney College of the Arts in 1979, she began filmmaking in the early 1980s.

Penny Marshall

Penny Marshall was born Carole Penny Marshall in the Bronx, New York, on October 15, 1943. The Libra is 5' 6 1/2", with brown hair and green eyes. She is the daughter of Marjorie (Ward), a tap dance teacher, and Anthony "Tony" Marshall, an industrial film director. She is the younger sister of filmmakers Garry Marshall and Ronny Hallin.

Sarah Polley

Sarah Polley is an actress and director renowned in her native Canada for her political activism. Blessed with an extremely expressive face that enables directors to minimize dialog due to her uncanny ability to suggest a character's thoughts, Polley has become a favorite of critics for her sensitive portraits of wounded and conflicted young women.

Mary Harron

Mary Harron was born on January 12, 1953 in Bracebridge, Ontario, Canada. She is a director and writer, known for American Psycho (2000), I Shot Andy Warhol (1996) and The Notorious Bettie Page (2005). She has been married to John Walsh since August 15, 1998.

Agnès Varda

Agnès Varda was born on May 30, 1928 in Brussels, Belgium as Arlette Varda. She is a director and writer, known for The Beaches of Agnès (2008), The Gleaners & I (2000) and Cleo from 5 to 7 (1962). She was previously married to Jacques Demy.

Jodie Foster

Alicia Christian Foster was born in Los Angeles on November 19, 1962. She is the daughter of Evelyn Ella "Brandy" (Almond) and Lucius Fisher Foster III, an Air Force lieutenant colonel and later real estate broker. Brandy had filed for divorce in 1959 after having three children with Lucius.

Andrea Arnold

Andrea Arnold was born on April 5, 1961 in Dartford, Kent, England as Andrea P. Arnold. She is an actress and writer, known for No 73 (1982), Fish Tank (2009) and American Honey (2016).

Julie Taymor

Julie Taymor is an Academy Award-nominated director, known for such films as Frida (2002) and Across the Universe (2007). She was born on December 15, 1952, in Newton, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston. Her father, Melvin Lester Taymor, was a gynecologist. Her mother, Elizabeth Bernstein, was a teacher of political science.

Patty Jenkins

Patty Jenkins is a writer/director best known for her debut feature Monster, based on the life of convicted serial killer Aileen Wuornos, directing the pilot episode of AMC's hit show The Killing and as the director of the film Wonder Woman for Warner Brothers. Jenkins began her career as a painter at The Cooper Union in New York City.

Leni Riefenstahl

Leni Riefenstahl's show-biz experience began with an experiment: she wanted to know what it felt like to dance on the stage. Success as a dancer gave way to film acting when she attracted the attention of film director Arnold Fanck, subsequently starring in some of his mountaineering pictures.

Amy Heckerling

Amy Heckerling studied Film and TV at New York University and got a Masters Degree in Film from The American Film Institute. Despite this education she couldn't get a break in Hollywood. However, in 1982, she made Fast Times at Ridgemont High (1982), and people started to take notice.

Kimberly Peirce

Kimberly Peirce was born on September 8, 1967 in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA. She is a director and writer, known for Boys Don't Cry (1999), Carrie (2013) and Stop-Loss (2008).

Sally Potter

Sally Potter made her first 8mm film aged fourteen. She has since written and directed seven feature films, as well as many short films (including THRILLER and PLAY) and a television series, and has directed opera (Carmen for the ENO in 2007) and other live work.

Lone Scherfig

Writer/director Lone Scherfig graduated from The National Film School of Denmark in 1984. Her first feature film, THE BIRTHDAY TRIP (1990), was selected for Panorama in Berlin, the New Directors section at MOMA in New York and won the Grand Jury Prix in Rouen. Her next film, ON OUR OWN (1998), received the Grand Prix in Montreal.

Nancy Meyers

Nancy Meyers was born on December 8, 1949 in Pennsylvania, USA as Nancy Jane Meyers. She is a writer and producer, known for The Holiday (2006), The Intern (2015) and The Parent Trap (1998). She was previously married to Charles Shyer.

Lynne Ramsay

Lynne Ramsay was born on December 5, 1969 in Glasgow, Strathclyde, Scotland. She is a director and writer, known for We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011), Morvern Callar (2002) and Ratcatcher (1999).

Niki Caro

Niki Caro was born in 1967 in Wellington, New Zealand. She is a director and writer, known for Whale Rider (2002), North Country (2005) and The Zookeeper's Wife (2017).

Claire Denis

Claire Denis was born on April 21, 1946 in Paris, France. She is a director and writer, known for Beau Travail (1999), White Material (2009) and 35 Shots of Rum (2008).