Triple F threat: fierce, female, filmmaker


Molly Geisinger ’15

Girl-power sagas dominated the box office in the past two years, yet females directed none of these “women inspiring” films. Recently, however, female directors ensure that their voices are heard by empowering women both in front of and behind the camera
Though statistically men still dominate the movie industry, making up three-quarters of the film crew according to, some women have maneuvered themselves to the front row as powerful and influential directors. Recent movies with female directors such as Unbroken, Selma, Frozen, and Zero Dark Thirtyhave found success not only at the box office, but also with their audiences
Unbroken, directed by Ms. Angelina Jolie, made $15.9 million during its opening weekend, surpassing director Rob Marshall’s Into the Woodswhich was also released the same weekend, according to The film made a domestic total of $108.6 million, according to 
Selma, directed by African-American Ms. Ava DuVernay, earned $11.5 million over the Martin Luther King weekend according to

Molly Geisinger '15
Molly Geisinger ’15

Critics recognized Ms. DuVernay’s talents behind the camera and nominated her for Best Director at the Golden Globes Awards. She is the first black female to be nominated for this award. In 2012, she was the first African-American woman to win the U.S. Directing Award at the Sundance Film Festival for her movie Middle of Nowhere according to
Television director Ms. Shonda Rhimes, has also left her mark on media, by reserving a Thursday night time slot all to herself. Ms. Rhimes is best known for creating and directing ScandalGrey’s Anatomy and How to Get Away With Murder, all of which will premiere tonight on ABC
“It is refreshing to see female directors taking charge,” Convent of the Sacred Heart senior and Broadcast Journalism student Emily Sabia said. “It gives me hope for the future.”
Female director Kathryn Bigelow was the first female to win an Oscar in 2010 for her directorial skills in The Hurt Locker.
Actress Ms. Lena Headey, from the critically-acclaimed television show Game of Thrones, described Ms. Bigelow as a girl “playing in a boy’s sandpit, and winning,” according to an article in Sacred Heart filmmakers have likewise looked to Ms. Bigelow as an inspiration.
“Kathryn Bigelow has always been one of my favorite directors. She is edgy and isn’t afraid to take risks in her films and she doesn’t let the fact that she is a girl hold her back from anything,” senior and Broadcast Journalism student Gaby Lopez said.
Ms. Ellyn Stewart, Studio Director and Broadcast Journalism teacher, says her joy comes from being able to endow “the next generation of female filmmakers to find their voice in the media,” according to As a strong advocate for women empowerment, Ms. Stewart believes that it is important for Sacred Heart students to make their mark in media.
Organizations such as the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in MediaGamechanger Films and Women in Film actively promote gender equality in the media. According to The New York Times, Gamechanger Films practices activism through funding female directors. The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media raises awareness through educational campaigns.

According to, only 7 percent of directors, 13 percent of writers, and 20 percent of producers are female, which means for every 4.8 males working behind-the-scenes, there is only one female.

“It is disappointing to see how few women hold positions of power currently in the media,” Ms. Stewart said. “I hope that the young women who are graduating from our Broadcast Journalism program will help to counter these numbers in the future.”
– Jessica Johnson, Sports & Health Editor and Video Content Editor