Powerful Female Directors in the Global Film Industry

On the occasion of International Women’s Day, we at Motivate Val Morgan present you with seven female directors from across the globe who have garnered praise from audiences and critics alike!

It’s no secret that the number of female directors in the global film industry remains abysmally low. However, great strides are being taken – ‘behind the scenes’, to resolve this issue, with females progressively leading the way in this new decade.


In light of International Women’s Day, we present you with seven phenomenal female directors who have delivered award winning blockbusters, that not only ruled the BIG screen, but also garnered praise from audiences and critics alike!


Female Film Director Feature on International Women's Day 2021


Lulu Wang

Lulu is an American Director who is well known for writing and directing the comedy-drama films Posthumous (2014) and The Farewell (2019). The Farewell, especially, is about a Chinese family who discover their grandmother is in her last days and decide to keep her in the dark, scheduling a wedding to gather before she dies. The movie went on to win Golden Globe and BAFTA Awards.


Chinonye Chukwu

A Nigerian-American by nationality, Chinonye Chukwu is the first woman of color to win the U.S. Dramatic Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival for her movie Clemency – a story that revolves around a prison warden who strikes up an unique bond with a death-row inmate.


Chloé Zhao

Chloé is a Chinese filmmaker popularly known for her directorial masterpiece, Nomadland. The movie is about a woman who loses everything in the great Recession and embarks on a journey through the American West, living as a van-dwelling, modern-day nomad. Chloé worked magic with Frances McDormand and a cast of real-life nomads to deliver a highly acclaimed film that was nominated across various award categories at the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild Awards and the Venice Film Festival amongst many others.


Greta Gerwig

Greta is an American actress, playwright, screenwriter, and director. She earned a Golden Globe award nomination for her role in Frances Ha (2012). Greta made her solo directorial debut with the critically acclaimed comedy-drama film Lady Bird (2017), however, it was Little Women (2019) that secured her nominations at the Academy Awards, Golden Globes and BAFTA Awards to name a few.


Kathryn Bigelow

Kathryn – an American film director, producer, and screenwriter, is known for covering a wide range of genres. She is well known for the movie Zero Dark Thirty, which is based on the decade-long hunt for al-Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden after the September 2001 attacks. Run-and-gun filmmaking has a precision only Bigelow can bring to life, as that feeling of endless pursuit is captured so beautifully through action and characters-in-motion. Zero Dark Thirty was nominated for an array of awards namely the Academy Awards, Screen Actors Guild, Golden Globes and the BAFTA Awards.


Li Yu

Li, a Chinese film director and screenwriter began her career in entertainment at a young age, serving as a presenter at a local TV station. Her first film, Fish and Elephant, billed as the first mainland Chinese feature scooped up awards at the Venice and Berlin Film Festivals, while Buddha Mountain (2010) took on the subject of China’s one-child policy and earned a respectable $11.7 million at the Chinese box office.


Nadine Labaki

Nadine is a Lebanese actress, director and activist who first came to the spotlight as an actress in the early 2000s. With her universally acclaimed drama Capernaum (2018), she became the first Arab woman to ever be nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Foreign Language Film category. Her directorial debut, Caramel (2007), premiered at the Cannes International Film Festival and became an essential feminist film. Undoubtedly one of the most accomplished filmmakers to ever emerge from the Middle East and North Africa, Nadine has paved the way for many Arab women in film.


As the theme for International Women’s Day 2021 is #ChooseToChallenge, we commend these female directors of diverse backgrounds for going above and beyond, within the typically male dominated field of filmmaking, to deliver some of the most exceptional movies the BIG screen has ever witnessed!



Sources: IndieWire, Wikipedia, IMDB, BBC, LA Times, Egyptian Streets and SCMP.

Highlights from MENA Cinema Forum 2019

The second edition of the MENA Cinema Forum – largest conference and exhibition dedicated to cinema in the MENA region, organized by Great Minds Events took place at Conrad Dubai from 22nd to 24th October 2019.


From conferences, workshops, corporate meetings, film slates, screenings, post-event receptions, an expo and awards ceremony, and much more, this year’s forum was on a much larger in scale – richer in content and designed to enhance the industry evolution through updates on regional projects and policies, technological and technical advancements in cinemas and best practices in next generation of customer experience and engagement, through a mixture of various content and mediums.


2019 witnessed over 60 speakers, 200+ C-Level Executives, 800+ attendees, 115+ sponsors and exhibitors from 50+ countries. 


Day 1 kicked off with an Opening Keynote by the Strategic Partner of the MENA Cinema Conference: Cameron Mitchell, Chief Executive Officer, Majid Al Futtaim Cinemas and Majid Al Futtaim Leisure & Entertainment.


The panel discussion on MENA Cinema Upcoming Project Updates included:


The panel also indulged in a live debate chaired by Jan Runge, MENA Cinema Chairman & Advisor, answering questions from the delegates and attendees at the forum.


Day 1 also featured a presentation focusing on ‘Cinema Strategies and Statistic Updates’ delivered by Rajkumar Akella, Managing Director, Comscore India (Movies)

His discussion included the following:


Ashish Shukla, the Chief Executive Officer of Cinépolis Gulf addressed the audience with project updates from the fastest growing international exhibitor in the region – Cinépolis. He also unveiled a new special and exclusive project and partnership in the UAE.


The event was held across 2 levels at the Conrad Dubai; one to host conference sessions and the other for exhibitors to showcase their products and technologies.


The Trade Show on Day 1 featured technical seminars on:


Day 2 included a mix of presentations and panel discussions that focused on:


Technical Seminars on Day 2 of the forum included:


Day 3 focused on regional content production, best practices in this field and regional and international collaborations. A series of 6 masterclasses addressed pertinent topics such as film financing, script writing, production and acting, catered to professionals and newcomers alike.


New to 2019 were workshops and masterclasses on key topics for a more interactive and hands-on learning experiences – delivered by global leaders to help enhance learning and growth opportunities at the forum.

The workshops held on day 3 covered range of topics and themes:


MENA Cinema Forum also hosted an Expo – The largest exhibition of its kind in the region, and amongst one the largest cinema expos globally, for the second time round, following the success of last year’s round.


The exhibition introduced interesting and interactive attractions including but not limited to floor talks, product demos, themed entertainment, mini-screenings, an Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality zones, rest and refreshment parlors.


The Awards ceremony – presented by Comscore and co-presented by Dubai Studio City, are globally recognized and are a fixture of the big global conventions, and now in MENA. These awards are based on quantitative data measuring performance of all sectors and markets across the globe with identical metrics.


Here’s a list of this year’s winners:


Expanding its scope as an event for the cinema industry – with the aim to engage, wow and inspire, this year included several international and regional content screenings at VOX Cinemas – Mall of the Emirates and Reel Cinemas – Dubai Mall: International films such as The Addams Family, Terminator: Dark Fate, Leonardo – The Works and Zombieland: Double Tap. Other screenings included: local and regional content such as Son-Mother.


Pass holders were given the opportunity to interact with cast and crew of some of these feature films.


At the end of each day of the forum, post-event reception – in a themed setting, offered refreshment and entertainment in a fun and relaxed atmosphere for attendees to mingle and further nourish their friendships and business relationships.


Here’s a video with highlights from MENA Cinema Forum 2019:


The next forum will be held in October 2020.

For more information on the MENA Cinema Forum visit www.menacinema.com



Sources: Zawya and MENA Cinema Forum



Related Article:

Highlights from MENA Cinema Forum 2018