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Up-and-Coming Female Directors

These up-and-coming female directors have cemented themselves as the top new talent in the directorial field. Per Indiewire, each director epitomizes a diverse selection of work that spotlights the emerging female voices of this decade.


1. Jianyan Jenny Shi

Jiayan Jenny Shi is a documentary filmmaker passionate about social justice, particularly among highlighting the adversities of POCs. Shi notably directed “Finding Yingying,” which was meant to premiere at the 2020 SXSW festival, prior to the cancellation of the event. Leading up to her breakout role as a director, Shi has worked as a researcher, translator, and digital content editor on “American Factory,” which won an award at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.


2. Channing Godfrey Peoples

Channing Godfrey Peoples hails from Fort Worth, Texas, and made her directorial debut this year with “Miss Juneteenth.” The film spotlights the relationships forged between black females in supporting and uplifting each other in a society that is plagued with systemic prejudice. People's work as a screenwriter extends to “Queen Sugar,” which received recognition in the San Francisco International Film Festival’s Westridge Grant.

3. Emerald Fennell


British director Emerald Fennell made her directorial debut at the 2020 Sundance Film Awards with her film “Promising Young Woman” starring Carey Mulligan. Fennell has amassed an incredible body of work over her career as a screenwriter, actress, and author. Fennell’s career took off after receiving recognition from Phoebe Waller-Bridge for writing six episodes of the second season for the smash drama “Killing Eve.” Upon refining her craft in this success, Fennel assisted in screenwriting “The Crown” and “Call the Midwife.”



4. Alice Wu

In 2004, Alice Wu made her directorial debut in the film “Saving Face,” drawing attention to a lesbian romance. The film amassed great praise with a Gotham Award nomination for Breakthrough Director. After opting out of the film industry in a 16-year hiatus, Wu made a comeback with her second major film ‘The Half of It,’ a romantic comedy that took Netflix by storm earlier this year. The film hit the Netflix weekly chart with the new movie starring Leah Louis, Daniel Diemer, and Alexxis Lemire. At the 2020 Tribeca Film Festival, the film won the Founder’s Award for Best Narrative Feature.


5. Maïmouna Doucouré

Well established in the film industry, Maïmouna Doucouré, a French screenwriter and producer, directed the film “Cuties,” which premiered in January 2020, and subsequently released in August 2020. The script for the film won the Sundance Global Filmmaking Award in 2017, and received honorable mention at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival. Doucouré has produced two films prior to Cuties, one of which, “Maman(s)” won a Cesar Award for Best Short Film in 2015.





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