Despite an ever expanding digital landscape, film is still one of the most powerful mediums of storytelling. Pair a compelling script with brilliantly executed, perfectly shot and edited performances, and the outcome has the power to transform the world.
The stories we see on screen and the characters we fall in love with, have a way of expanding the way we think, refining our opinions, and helping us to relate and empathize with people whose gender, race, and ethnicity, may differ from our own. When it comes to communicating the universality of the human experience in this way, no medium is more impactful than film.
No matter how skilled, experienced, or talented a director may be, no one is better equipped at telling a story than the liver of it.
Which is why diversity and representation in film is so important.
These 6 multicultural women directors are amplifying our voices, validating our experiences, and enhancing our visibility on the big screen:
1. Jennifer Yuh Nelson
With her directorial debut on the animated film, Kung Fu Panda 2, this 45-year-old, South Korean born immigrant became the first woman to direct an animated feature for a major Hollywood studio, and the second to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. It’s only up from here for Jennifer Yuh Nelson.
2. Amma Asante
Born in London to Ghanaian parents, 47-year-old Amma Asante is best known in the U.S. for the 2013 film, Belle which she directed. Asante, who began her career as a child actress, garnered a prized script writing deal with the BBC at the age of 23. She went on to write and direct several films, beginning with her 2004 directorial debut, the critically acclaimed, A Way of Life.
3. Ana Lily Amirpour
This 41-year-old Iranian director, screenwriter, producer and actor, is best known for her feature film A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night which debuted to rave reviews at the Sundance Film Festival in 2014. With her distinct artistic vision in the realm of horror/sci-fi, Ana Lily Amirpour’s profile is on the rise.
4. Gina Prince-Bythewood
With films like Disappearing Acts (2000), Love & Basketball (2000), The Secret Life of Bees (2008), and Beyond the Lights (2014) to her directorial credit, Gina Prince-Bythewood has earned credibility as a masterful teller of African-American centered narratives. Recently tapped to direct the forthcoming Marvel Spider Man spinoff film, Silver & Black, the 48-year-old artistic mastermind will soon become the first woman of color to direct a superhero movie.
5. So Yong Kim
This 48-year-old, South Korean independent filmmaker was awarded the Special Jury Prize at Sundance Film Festival for her debut feature, In Between Days. Shot mostly with digital photography, the film featured a cast of unknown teenage actors whose mostly improvised scenes delivered authentic, awkward, critically praised raw performances. So Yong Kim has also produced three other, well-received feature films: Treeless Mountain, For Ellen, and Lovesong.
6. Dee Rees
40-year-old Dee Rees, seemingly emerged on the scene out of nowhere with back-to-back, critically acclaimed feature films: Pariah, Bessie, and Mudbound. Prior to enrolling in New York University’s graduate film program to pursue her dream of becoming a filmmaker, she worked in Brand Management at Procter & Gamble, Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals, and Colgate Palmolive. Aside from her directorial marvels, Rees is a living testament to the power of passion when we dare to pursue it.
Salute to these bold GenX women for the amazing work they’re doing in film!