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66 Movies Directed by Women to Look Forward to in 2017

Does that seem like a lot? Because it’s really not.
Raw Garance Marillier
Focus World
By  · Published on January 3rd, 2017

Last year, because our main movie preview only had one title directed by a woman, I compiled a list of 40 features due in 2016 by female filmmakers. This year’s movie preview stepped things up a bit to include three movies helmed by women and another co-directed by one. Out of 52 anticipated titles.

That’s still disappointing, and in part it’s a reflection of how few major releases, particularly those produced by the Hollywood studios, have women in the director’s chair. So, I’ve done it again for 2017. Here is a compilation of all the known movies due this year directed by women. Some of them are actually titles that had been expected in 2016.


Coin Heist – directed by Emily Hagins (My Sucky Teen Romance). Hagins has been making movies since she was 12. Her latest, debuting on Netflix, could be her biggest yet. Release date: January 6th.

Underworld: Blood Lines – directed by Anna Foerster (cinematographer, White House Down). After working as a second unit director and DP for major blockbusters, mainly those by Roland Emmerich, Foerster is taking over the Underworld franchise for her feature directorial debut. This is the fifth installment and again stars Kate Beckinsale. Release date: January 6th.

The Bye Bye Man – directed by Stacy Title (The Last Supper). It’s been 23 years since she earned an Oscar nomination for her short film debut, Down on the Waterfront, co-written and co-produced with husband Jonathan Penner. This horror movie is also from a script by Penner. Release date: January 13th.


Kedi – directed by Ceyda Torun. See Istanbul in safer times through the eyes of a bunch of cats who roam the city in this award-winning documentary. Release date: February 10th.

A United Kingdom – directed by Amma Asante (Belle). For her third feature, Asante depicts the true story of controversial mixed-race couple Seretse Khama (David Oyelowo), the first president of Botswana, and Ruth Williams (Rosamund Pike), an Englishwoman. Release date: February 10.

Lovesong – directed by So Young Kim (For Ellen). This film, Kim’s fourth feature, debuted at Sundance last year and is a road movie about two women friends (Riley Keough and Jenna Malone) who fall in love. Release date: February 17th.

XX – directed by Annie Clark (aka St. Vincent), Karyn Kusama (The Invitation), Roxanne Benjamin (Southbound), Jovanka Vukovik, and Sofia Carrillo. An anthology horror film. Release date: February 17th (following a Sundance premiere in January).


Before I Fall – directed by Ry Russo-Young (Nobody Walks). Russo-Young’s fourth feature is scripted by filmmaker Maria Maggenti (The Incredible True Adventure of Two Girls in Love) based on Lauren Oliver’s young adult novel. Zoey Deutch stars as a teenager reliving the day of her death over and over. Release date: March 3rd (following a Sundance premiere in January).

Raw – directed by Julia Ducournau. This horror movie about a vegetarian who gets a new taste for meat after a hazing ritual is Ducournau’s feature debut. It’s also been playing many festivals since debuting at Cannes last year. Release date: March 10th (following an appearance at Sundance).

Their Finest – directed by Lone Scherfig (An Education). Scherfig is beating Christopher Nolan to a movie involving the Dunkirk evacuation by a few months with this World War II-set rom-com. Release date: March 24th (following a US premiere at Sundance).

The Zookeeper’s Wife – directed by Niki Caro (Whale Rider). Another World War II story. Jessica Chastain is the title character, a fictionalized version of real-life Antonina Zabinski, who with her husband helped hide many Jews during the Holocaust. Release date: March 31st.

Cezanne and I — directed by Daniele Thompson (Jet Lag). Thompson, an Oscar-nominated screenwriter for 1975’s Cousin, Cousine, is well into her directing career with this biopic about the friendship between painter Paul Cezanne and author Emile Zola. Release date: March 31st.


Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent — directed by Lydia Tenaglia. The directorial debut of Tenaglia, who has been a producer on such foodie shows as Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown, and The Mind of a Chef, this is a documentary about the titular celebrity chef. Release date: April 14th.

Unforgettable – directed by Denise Di Novi (producer of Edward Scissorhands, Heathers, and Crazy, Stupid, Love). After decades of producing many major films, including a bunch by Tim Burton and a handful of Nicholas Sparks adaptations, Di Novi is finally making her directorial debut (replacing Amma Asante). Katherine Heigl stars in the thriller as a woman who threatens her ex-husband’s new wife. Release date: April 21st.


Everything, Everything — directed by Stella Meghie (Jean of the Joneses). Meghie is quickly following up her directorial debut of last fall with this romantic drama based on Nicola Yoon’s young adult novel. It’s about a girl with severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), which used to be known as the “bubble boy” disease. Release date: May 19th.

Buena Vista Social Club: Adios – directed by Lucy Walker (Waste Land). About the Buena Vista Social Club 20 years later. Release date: May 26th.


Wonder Woman – directed by Patty Jenkins (Monster). Wait, there’s a movie by a female director in blockbuster season? And it’s a superhero movie? Talk about a wonder woman. It’s only Jenkins’s first theatrical feature since 2003, which makes no sense at all. Release date: June 2nd.

Megan Leavey – directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite (Blackfish). When this film was on last year’s list, it was just titled Leavey. The full name belongs to a real-life Marine who fought in Iraq alongside a combat dog. Release date: June 9th.

Rock That Body — directed by Lucia Aniello (TV’s Broad City). Whoah, here’s another movie made by a woman in June, the second in two weeks. And it’s by a first-timer (Aniello has directed series episodes and comedy shorts). This one’s a dark comedy starring Scarlett Johansson, Kate McKinnon, Zoe Kravitz, and Jillian Bell about a male stripper accidentally killed during a bachelorette party. Release date: June 16th.

The Beguiled – directed by Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation). And here we’ve got three in a row, all in June, but that’s it for films by women, at least those marked on the calendar, until the end of the year. Coppola’s latest, her sixth feature, is a remake of the 1971 Don Siegel/Clint Eastwood Civil War-set drama. Release date: June 23rd.


Detroit– directed by Kathryn Bigelow (Zero Dark Thirty). Bigelow is finally following up that Best Picture nominee about the killing of Osama Bin Laden (itself the follow-up to her Best Picture and Best Director win with The Hurt Locker) with a movie about the 1967 Detroit riots. Release date: August 4th.


Home Again – directed by Hallie Meyers-Shyer. The daughter of Nancy Meyers makes her directorial debut with Reese Witherspoon in the lead role as a single mom. Release date: September 8th.


Pitch Perfect 3 – directed by Trish Sie (Step Up: All In). For her second feature, Sie takes over the Pitch Perfect franchise, which is a rarity in having been turned over to women filmmakers and for now continuing that appropriate idea. Release date: December 22nd.


Beaches – directed by Allison Anders (Gas Food Lodging). Indie icon Anders arrived on the scene about the time the sappy original Beaches came out. Now she’s remaking it for television.

Black Dog, Red Dog – co-directed by Adriana Cepeda Espinosa, Anastasia Frank, Leonora Lonsdale, and Isabella Wing-Davey. This is a multi-filmmaker project about the life of a poet.

Callas — directed by Niki Caro (Whale Rider). Caro already has The Zookeeper’s Wife this year, but maybe we’ll get a double dose if this biopic about opera singer Maria Callas (Noomi Rapace) is done in time.

Euphoria – directed by Lisa Langseth (Pure). Speaking of Rapace, she and Langseth go way back to their days in Swedish theater. Now Langseth regularly works with actress Alicia Vikander, who stars in this movie alongside Eva Green. They play “sisters in conflict.”

Fear of Flying – directed by Tanya Wexler (Hysteria). Wexler was on last year’s list with Replicas, which apparently wound up directed by a man instead. Now maybe we’ll get our first movie from her since 2011 with an adaptation of Erica Jong’s 1973 feminist classic.

First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers — directed by Angelina Jolie (By the Sea). Another holdover from last year’s list is this true account of the Cambodian genocide.

I’m Not Here — directed by Michelle Schumacher (3 Geezers!). Schumacher again directs her husband, J.K. Simmons. This time he plays the older version of Sebastian Stan.

Lady Bird – directed by Greta Gerwig (Nights and Weekends). Almost a decade since co-directing Nights and Weekends with Joe Swanberg, Gerwig is making her solo directorial debut.

Loving Vincent – co-directed by Dorota Kobiela. Another holdover from last year, this animated film about Vincent Van Gogh was painted in his style frame by frame and the other director is Hugh Welchman, Oscar winner for the 2006 animated short Peter & the Wolf.

The Party — directed by Sally Potter (Orlando). Potter’s new movie is described as a comedy wrapped around a tragedy, and it premieres in February at the Berlin Film Festival.

Unicorn Store – directed by Brie Larson. Working with a script by Samantha McIntyre, who worked on the underrated series Married, Larson makes her directorial debut with herself in the lead role as a woman who gets to fulfill her childhood dreams.

We Have Always Lived in the Castle – directed by Stacie Passon (Amazon’s Transparent). All that really needs to be known about this movie is Crispin Glover plays what is presumably a strange family’s strange uncle.

Woman Walks Ahead — directed by Susanna White (Nanny McPhee Returns). Jessica Chastain stars in this biopic about artist Catherine Weldon and her involvement with the Lakota after doing a portrait of Sitting Bull.

Sundance 2017 Narrative Premieres

Axolotl Overkill – directed by Helene Hegemann, her feature debut. A coming-of-age story set in Berlin.

Band Aid – directed by Zoe Lister-Jones (writer of Lola Versus), her directorial debut. A comedy about a couple who starts a band instead of getting a divorce.

Beach Rats – directed by Eliza Hittman (It Felt Like Love). A coming-of-age story set in Brooklyn.

Berlin Syndrome – directed by Cate Shortland (Lore). A captivity thriller set in Berlin.

Bitch — directed by Marianne Palka (Good Dick). Palka directs herself opposite Josh Ritter again as she plays a woman who snaps and “assumes the psyche of a vicious dog.”

Deidra & Laney Rob a Train – directed by Sydney Freeland (Drunktown’s Finest). Two sisters rob a train in this Netflix release.

Family Life – co-directed by Alicia Scherson (Il Futuro). A Chilean housekeeping comedy also helmed by Cristian Jimenez.

Fun Mom Dinner – directed by Alethea Jones (Lemonade Stand). You’ve seen Bad Moms, now here are some Fun Moms.

Landline – directed by Gillian Robespierre (Obvious Child). Robespierre and actress Jenny Slate are reunited for this coming-of-age story set in 1990s Manhattan.

L.A. Times — directed by Michelle Morgan, her feature debut. A thirtysomethings ensemble comedy set in, yes, Los Angeles.

Lemon – directed by Janicza Bravo (TV’s Atlanta), her feature debut. A breakup comedy.

Mudbound – directed by Dee Rees (Pariah). A drama about life for two WWII veterans in post-war Mississippi.

My Happy Family — co-directed by Nana Ekvtimishvili (In Bloom). A Georgian (country, not state) family drama co-helmed by her In Bloom collaborator Simon Groß.

Novitiate – directed by Maggie Betts (The Carrier). The first dramatic feature from Betts is about a new nun in the 1960s.

The Polka King – co-directed by Maya Forbes (Infinitely Polar Bear). Forbes teams up with her Infinitely Polar Bear producer, Wallace Wolodarsky (director of Sorority Boys), for a polka legend tries to get rich quick comedy.

Pop Aye – directed by Kirsten Tan, her feature debut. This Thai film follows a man and his elephant cross country.

To the Bone – directed by Marti Noxon (TV’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer), her feature debut. The longtime TV producer takes the helm of an anorexia story.

Read also: Women Cinematographers Are Primed For a Big Year in 2017

Sundance 2017 Documentary Premieres

500 Years – directed by Pamela Yates (Granito). About the history of Guatemala.

Casting JonBenet – directed by Kitty Green (Ukraine is Not a Brothel). A creative look at the hometown of slain child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey.

Motherland – directed by Ramona S. Diaz (Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey). About the world’s busiest maternity hospital, in the Philippines.

Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman – co-directed by Susan Froemke (Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare) and Beth Aala. A look at the ranches, farmlands, and waterways of Middle America, also co-directed by John Hoffman.

Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked The World – directed by Catherine Bainbridge (Reel Injun). Following her look at American Indian representation in movies, now this doc is about Native Americans in the history of contemporary music.

Step – directed by Amanda Lipitz (producer of Legally Blonde: The Musical for the stage), her film debut. About an inner-city high school step team.

Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton – directed by Rory Kennedy (Last Days in Vietnam). About Laird Hamilton, surfing icon.

This Is Everything: Gigi Gorgeous – directed by Barbara Kopple (Harlan County U.S.A.). About a transgender diver and YouTube star as she heads to the Olympics.

Tokyo Idols — directed by Kyoko Miyake (Brakeless). About Japanese girl bands.

Trophy – co-directed by Christina Clusiau (producer and cinematographer of Aida’s Secret), her directorial debut, with Shaul Schwarz (Narco Cultura). About big-game hunting in the US and Africa.

Unrest – directed by Jennifer Brea, her debut, is a first-person look at her own rare disease.

Water & Power: A California Heist — directed by Marina Zenovich (Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired). About the water crisis in California and those profiting from it. National Geographic will be distributing soon.

Whose Streets? – directed by Sabaah Folayan, her debut. About the aftermath of the shooting of Mike Brown by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.

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Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.