Happy Women’s Equality Day, and welcome to part two of a feminist little feature that holds a special place in my heart. (Check out part one here.) As a women living and working in the film industry in Los Angeles, it’s clear to me every day that even in our more progressive era, women still have a major problem in film.
According to a study conducted in 2014 by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University, 85% of films made in 2014 had no female directors, 80% had no female writers, 33% had no female producers, 78% had no female editors, and 92% had no female cinematographers.
Today, in honor of Women’s Equality Day and in an effort to highlight female directors and creators, I’ve put together a list of shows and movies of every genre currently streaming on Netflix that were directed and/or created by women.
There are supremely talented female directors who are beating the odds and making amazing films and television shows, but this industry needs to do better. By watching, buying, and talking about movies and shows made by women, we can raise awareness and help inspire a change.
Here’s a list of movies and shows to start with. They’re all streaming on Netflix and all directed and/or created by awesome, badass ladies:
The Invitation – Karyn Kusama’s tense, beautifully constructed thriller is one of the best films I’ve seen this year. Set at a dark dinner party with increasingly horrific undertones, this film is psychologically terrifying, emotionally taxing, and shocking till the very end.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend – You probably have at least one annoying friend who can’t stop rambling about how great this CW show is. It was created by two women, Rachel Bloom, who also stars as the show’s lead, and Aline Brosh McKenna. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a refreshing romantic comedy that features hilarious musical numbers, a fresh take on traditional tropes, and a progressive exploration of mental illness.
Tullulah – Written and directed by Sian Heder, who participated in the American Film Institute’s Directing Workshop for Women, Tallulah brings together a stellar cast to transcend stereotypes in this engaging, insightful family drama.
Jane the Virgin – Jennie Snyder Urman has stolen the hearts of audiences and critics alike for a good reason. Featuring a top-notch cast, Jane the Virgin follows a chaste woman who becomes pregnant. It’s funny, subversive, heartfelt, and just really, really good.
Meadowland – Reed Morano, a skilled cinematographer, makes her impressive directorial debut with this mesmerizing, painful film about how a young couple copes with the disappearance of their beloved son.
Beyond the Lights – Gina Prince-Bythewood wrote and directed this beautiful drama about an up-and-coming superstar. The film is romantic, smartly executed, and a genuinely great piece of storytelling.
Hateship, Loveship – Kristen Wiig gives a can’t-miss performance in Liza Johnson’s film adaptation of a short story about a shy caregiver who’s dealing with her own emotional hardships.
New Girl – Elizabeth Meriwether created a fun, quirky comedy with New Girl. With Zooey Deschanel as the lead and a hilarious supporting cast, you can’t go wrong with a binge-watch of this delightful show.
Orange is the New Black – Of course you’ve likely already seen Jenji Kohan’s drama/comedy about a female prison, but it’s worth saying again and again how special it is to see a show filled with so many diverse, complex female characters.
Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice – If you’re a living breathing human who has ever turned on a TV, you’ve probably seen at least one of Shonda Rhimes’ riveting dramas. Rhimes creates and runs shows about strong, complex, interesting women, and I can’t say enough about how special the work she’s doing in this industry is.
30 for 30: The Price of Gold – ESPN’s 30 for 30 series is always good, but Nanette Burstein’s take on the tragic story of Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan is easily one of the best ever.
Across the Universe – Director Julie Taymor does fascinating work in this spellbinding film set in the ’60s to the backdrop of music from The Beatles. The musical numbers are big and weird, and the film artistic and ambitious from start to finish.
Lady Dynamite – Created by Pam Brady and Mitchell Hurwitz, Lady Dynamite is absolutely bizarre. This story of a comedienne losing and then finding herself is one of the weirdest things you’ll ever see, but after a few episodes, you’ll be convinced you’re watching the work of geniuses.
Call Me Crazy: A Five Film – Not one, not two, but five women (Laura Dern, Bryce Dallas Howard, Bonnie Hunt, Ashley Judd, Sharon Maguire) are at the helm of this film about the struggles of dealing with mental illness.
Hot Girls Wanted – Jill Bauer and Ronna Gradus take on the amateur internet porn industry and its many damning dark sides in this harrowing documentary.
One Day – Based on the best-selling novel, Lone Scherfig’s film adaptation of this romantic tale will tug your heartstrings and have you sobbing into your pillow. I recommend keeping cookie dough and/or ice cream close while watching this one.
The Wolfpack – Crystal Moselle’s documentary about a group of brothers who spend all of their time avoiding their harsh realities by elaborately reenacting scenes from their favorite films is one of the strangest movies I’ve ever seen. It’s also one of the most fascinating.
Miss Representation – Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s brilliant documentary examines the flawed and often disturbing representation of women in the media, in films, and in television. It’s an eye-opening, expertly made film that should be required viewing.
These aren’t the only movies and shows on Netflix that were directed/created by women. There are more, but there aren’t nearly enough. So let’s do our part to support women in film and make sure that the world is hearing all of the amazing stories that women have to tell.
Happy Women’s Equality Day!
Featured Image: Netflix