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2020 Movies Directed By Women to Look Out For!

By Kayleigh Donaldson | Film | January 15, 2020 |

By Kayleigh Donaldson | Film | January 15, 2020 |


Patty Jenkins Getty.jpg

It’s another year where the Oscars have seemingly forgotten that women make films, ergo they don’t need to be considered for the Best Director award. Why waste valuable space that could be given to Todd Phillips, right? 2019 was a wonderful year for films made by women, although really, every year is good if you know where to look for the work. The sad thing is that many female directors are left on the outskirts of indie-dom with little marketing to spread the word. 2020 promises some major blockbusters from women like Chloe Zhao and Niki Caro but there are also hidden gems to discover and international titles worthy of your time. So, to make your future cinema visits that much easier, we’ve put together a big long list of some of the movies directed by women that either will be released in 2020 or that we are pretty certain will receive a release date for 2020. Now, nobody has any excuses when they claim that they just never hear about those lady-folk making films. Not that they ever had an excuse to begin with. Pay attention, AMPAS!


THE TURNING: Directed by Fiora Sigismondi

Based on the short story The Turning of the Screw by Henry James, horror film follows a nanny as she is appointed with taking care of two disturbed orphans housed in a mysterious estate in the Maine countryside.


THE RHYTHM SECTION: Directed by Reed Morano

Blake Lively plays a woman who assumes the identity of an assassin to uncover the truth behind the mysterious plane crash that killed her entire family. Barbara Broccoli of the Bond series is a producer on this project, which is award-winning cinematographer Reed Morano’s third feature as director.


BIRDS OF PREY: Directed by Cathy Yan

Harley Quinn is single, having broken up with the Joker in a totally mutual agreement, and now she’s ready to get on with her life. The only problem is that a narcissistic mob boss called Black Mask has put a hit on a young Cassandra Cain and she’s come running to Harley for help, forcing her to join forces and create the coolest girl gang in Gotham!


THE LODGE: Directed by Veronika Franz (with Severin Fiala)

The directors behind the seriously unnerving Goodnight Mommy are back with a new horror film that promises further shudder-inducing scares. Grace (Riley Keough) is supposed to be getting to know her potential future stepkids in a fun family getaway, but when a blizzard moves in the family are stuck in an isolated cabin, the darkness of Grace’s past soon emerges.


THE PHOTOGRAPH: Directed by Stella Meghie

Issa Rae and Lakeith Stanfield in a romance? Need we say more?


EMMA: Directed by Autumn de Wilde

The latest iteration of the beloved Jane Austen novel stars Anya Taylor-Joy as the eponymous meddling heroine who wants to play matchmaker to everyone in her social circle, whether they like it or not.


FIRST COW: Directed by Kelly Reichardt

Indie minimalist darling Kelly Reichardt adapts a Jonathan Raymond novel that our own Ciara described as ‘like frontier life, it’s properly bleak and dismal — but in a soothing, nourishing kind of way. Depressant-laced chicken soup for the soul.’ We’re sold!


NEVER, RARELY, SOMETIMES, ALWAYS: Directed by Eliza Hittman

Two cousins travel from Pennsylvania to New York following an unplanned pregnancy that leaves them in need of an abortion.


MULAN: Directed by Niki Caro

Another big-budget live-action remake of a Disney movie, this one comes courtesy of Niki Caro and looks to be a far more action-based take on the story compared to the cartoon. It also looks f**king gorgeous!


SAINT MAUD: Directed by Rose Glass

Maud, a hospice nurse and recent convert to Catholicism, becomes convinced that she may have been possessed after she becomes infatuated with a woman in her care.


PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN: Directed by Emerald Fennell

Cassie was always described as a promising young woman who could have been a great doctor one day, but mysterious circumstances brought her bright future to a halt. Now, she lives a curious double life: A bored barista by day; a vengeful woman by night.


BLACK WIDOW: Directed by Cate Shortland

Natasha Romanoff gets her proper farewell from the Marvel Cinematic Universe with her long-overdue solo movie. Set after the events of Captain America: Civil War, Black Widow sees Natasha dealing with the demons of her past.


COVERS: Directed by Nisha Ganatra

Following on from directing Late Night, Nisha Ganatra returns to comedy for a love story set in the Los Angeles music scene that includes a starry-eyed cast of Dakota Johnson, Ice Cube, June Diane Raphael, Eddie Izzard, Tracee Ellis Ross, and many more.


WONDER WOMAN 1984: Directed by Patty Jenkins

Synth-pop! Shoulder pads! Big hair! Diana Prince is in the ’80s, baby, and she’s bringing Steve Trevor back with her, as well as new adversaries in the form of Cheetah and Maxwell Lord.


CANDYMAN: Directed by Nia DaCosta

Jordan Peele produces this direct sequel to Clive Barker’s horror film, with Tony Todd returning to his iconic role and new faces alongside him including Nathan Stewart-Jarrett and Yayha Abdul-Mateen II.


THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN: Directed by Thea Sharrock

Based on the children’s novel by K.A. Applegate, Ivan of the title is a Gorilla who lives in a cage in a mall alongside an aging elephant named Stella, neither of whom have any memory of how they ended up there. One day, they are joined by Ruby, an abused baby elephant, and carve out a family for themselves. The voices of the animals will be provided by Sam Rockwell, Angelina Jolie, and Brooklyn Prince from The Florida Project.


RESPECT: Directed by Liesl Tommy

Jennifer Hudson as Aretha Franklin: Need we say more? Respect is directed by Liesl Tommy, a Tony Award-nominated theater director whose brother you may be familiar with.


ETERNALS: Directed by Chloe Zhao

The MCU takes a bigger step into the cosmic with the Eternals, an immortal alien race created by the Celestials who have been living on Earth in secret for over 7000 years.


HAPPIEST SEASON: Directed by Clea DuVall

Actress Clea DuVall will direct Kristen Stewart and Mackenzie Davis in a holiday romance about a woman who wants to pop the question to her girlfriend but discovers she hasn’t come out to her conservative family yet.


FAREWELL AMOR: Directed by Ekwa Msangi

17 years after he was forced to leave his family in Angola, Walter is finally ready to pick up his wife and daughter and bring them home to his Brooklyn apartment. So much has changed since their last meeting, from his wife’s sudden zealous passion for Jesus to Walter’s long-time lover Linda, who moved out to make room for his family.


SHIRLEY: Directed by Josephine Decker

A young couple move to a small Vermont college town and find themselves living with acclaimed professor Stanley Hyman (Michael Stuhlbarg) and his wife, the horror writer Shirley Jackson (Elisabeth Moss.)


THE 40-YEAR-OLD VERSION: Directed by Radha Blank

Radha Blank writes, directs, and stars in this black-and-white film about a playwright trying to find herself and navigate the stigma of being single and a struggling artist at the age of 40.


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Carols Dawta.

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WANDER DARKLY: Directed by Tara Miele

In the aftermath of a traumatic incident, Adrienne (played by Sienna Miller) feels stuck in a state of limbo that has forced her to reassess her life, her troubled relationship with her partner, and her hopes for her young daughter.


ZOLA: Directed by Janicza Bravo

Based on maybe the most bonkers Twitter thread ever written, the story of Zola, and her two-day Florida trip of sex, pimps, and chaos, is now coming to the big screen, with Taylour Paige in the lead role and Riley Keough playing the stripper who drags her into the weekend from hell.


CHARTER: Directed by Amanda Kernell

After being all but shut out of her children’s lives by her bitter ex-husband, a woman decides to whisk away her kids for an illicit holiday to Tenerife to reconnect with them.


CUTIES: Directed by Maïmouna Doucouré

Eleven-year-old Amy lives with her mom, Mariam, and younger brother, awaiting her father to rejoin the family from Senegal. She amuses herself by watching her neighbor Angelica and her free-spirited dance group, something her mother disapproves of. Through dance, Amy too finds a new way to love herself and greater awareness of her burgeoning femininity.


HIGH TIDE: Directed by Verónica Chen

Laura has hired some contractors to work on a barbecue shed in the backyard of her beach house. After sleeping with the lead one, who then disappears, Laura must manage the workers herself, but the power dynamics at play are curious, to say the least.


IDENTIFYING FEATURES: Directed by Fernanda Valadez

Magdalena’s son crossed the border into the United States months ago but hasn’t been heard from since. The authorities want her to sign his death certificate and be done with it, but she can’t move on without discovering his true fate, so she begins journeying across Mexico in hopes of finding people who can answer her many questions.


JUMBO: Directed by Zoé Wittock

Jeanne is a shy young woman who works the graveyard shift as a cleaner at a local amusement park. During her work, she finds herself pulled towards the alluring new Tilt-A-Whirl ride that she decides to call Jumbo.


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So happy to share this amazing news with you all… What a roller coaster! From the @AFIconservatory a few years back in Los Angeles, where I wrote the first few lines of #Jumbolefilm, to Sundance 2020 in park city, it most definitely feels like a full circle well accomplished! 😊 THANK YOU to the team and my cast who went for it with me… @noemiemerlant @emmabercot @bastien bouillon @samlouwyck THANK YOU to my courageous producers @anaisbertrand at @insolenceproductions who was the first to jump on board this crazy adventure, to @annabellanezri at @kwassafilms And @gilleschanial at @lesfilmsfauves, who carried on with us and pushed to make sure the film would see the light of day! But also to all those that have supported me @le_cnc @sundanceorg @eurimages @federationwalloniebruxelles @filmfundluxembourg @wallimages @proximustv @soficinetv Coproduction FR BE LUX 📷portrait of noemie by: @carolinefauvet And of course thank you to @rezofilms in FR and @what__the__films international sales #belgiandirector #firstfeature

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LUXOR: Directed by Zeina Durra

Hana is seeking mental peace and physical respite after an overwhelming time spent working on the Jordanian-Syrian border where she treated victims of the Syrian war. She travels to Luxor, Egypt, and runs into Sultan, her ex-boyfriend with whom she still holds many fond memories.


HERSELF: Directed by Phyllida Lloyd

Sandra is struggling to find stability in her life between an abusive ex-husband and the housing crisis of Dublin leaving her unable to find a new home for her and her children. With no options or help on the horizon, she decides to build her own house.


LOST GIRLS: Directed by Liz Garbus

Based on the non-fiction book by Robert Kolker, documentarian Liz Garbus dramatizes the fight for justice of a group of families after their daughters’ bodies were found abandoned on a Long Island beach and the authorities ignored their pleas because the women were sex workers from poor backgrounds.


KAJILLIONAIRE: Directed by Miranda July

Miranda July returns to film with a comedy about two con artists and the daughter they’ve spent a lifetime training to be the ultimate scammer. When a hastily-organized heist doesn’t go according to plan, they charm a kind stranger into joining them.


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I am very, very excited to be returning to Sundance with my new movie, KAJILLIONAIRE. @evanrachelwood @hereisgina #richardjenkins @wingerdebra

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THE GLORIAS: Directed by Julie Taymor

Based on the memoir by Gloria Steinem, Julie Taymor’s biopic follows the feminist activist (as played by various women) through her youth to the founding of Ms. Magazine to the fight for the Equal Rights Amendment.


THE LAST THING HE WANTED: Directed by Dee Rees


Dee Rees adapts the novel by Joan Didion with Anne Hathaway starring as a journalist who leaves her work to go and care for her ill father (Willem Dafoe), who leaves her a series of arms deals to finish.


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WORTH: Directed by Sara Colangelo

Following 9/11, Congress appoints attorney Kenneth Feinberg (Michael Keaton) to lead the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. He is faced with an impossible question: How do you put a number on the value of a life lost, and how do you sort out the cold hard business side of such a tragedy?


AMULET: Directed by Romola Garai

Former soldier Tomaz moves in with a lonely woman named Magda who spends most of her time looking after her dying mother. The pair begin to form a bond but soon Tomaz starts to notice strange and terrifying phenomena that hint at something far more mysterious going on with the old lady on the top floor.


RUN SWEETHEART RUN: Directed by Shana Feste

Ella Balinska from the latest reboot of Charlie’s Angels plays Shari, a single mother who goes on a blind date with the handsome Ethan (Pilou Asbæk), a man who seems just a tad too perfect at first. It doesn’t take long for his true nature to seep through, and soon Shari must escape his clutches and navigate the streets of Los Angeles after dark.


RELIC: Directed by Natalie Erika James

When dementia-stricken octogenarian Edna inexplicably vanishes, her daughter Kay and granddaughter Sam rush to their family’s decaying country home to try and figure out what happened. After Edna returns with no explanation, Kay becomes convinced that a more malevolent presence is responsible.


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!!! Completely beside myself and OVER THE MOON to have my debut feature @relicmovie playing at the 2020 @sundanceorg Film Festival! 🌞😍🥳 Absolute dream come true - GO TEAM!

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BERGMAN ISLAND: Directed by Mia Hansen-Løve

An American filmmaking couple retreat to an island for the Summer to work on their respective movies in the hopes that they will be equally as inspired by the place as the iconic Ingmar Bergman was.


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Missade ni samtalet med Mia Hansen-Løve och Tim Roth på festivalen i somras? Nu finns det upplagt på vår Vimeo och på Facebook! Länk i bion. ⁣ ⁣ Hör dem berätta om Bergman Island, sina första steg i filmvärlden och hur de tacklar sin skräck - och ger sina bästa råd till nya filmskapare.⁣ ⁣ 🎬: Yanina Isla. ⁣ ⁣ ・・・⁣⁣ Mia Hansen-Løve and Tim Roth in conversation at Bergman Week 2019. Hear them talk Bergman Island, their first steps in film, their fears and best advice. Link in bio. ⁣ ・・・⁣⁣ ⁣ #miahansenlove #miahansenløve #timroth #bergmanisland #bergmanveckan #bergmanveckan2019 #bergmanweek #bergmanweek2019 #filmmaking #fårö #plattformproduktion #bergman #ingmarbergman

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ON THE ROCKS: Directed by Sofia Coppola

The first film produced under a new partnership between A24 and Apple TV+, Sofia Coppola’s comedy-drama follows a young mother who reconnects with her playboy father, who is, of course, played by Bill Murray.



NOMADLAND: Directed by Chloe Zhao

2020 could be the year we get two movies from Chloe Zhao. Eternals is undoubtedly the one that will garner the most headlines but don’t sleep on Nomadland, an indie drama starring Frances McDormand as a woman in her sixties who decides to live on the road in her van after the recession left her penniless.


TROOP ZERO: Directed by Bert & Bertie

A group of rowdy misfit kids join forces to infiltrate the high-and-mighty Birdie Scouts youth group. Their objective: To win a singing competition that will allow them a chance to be recorded on NASA’s Golden Record.


THE ROADS NOT TAKEN: Directed by Sally Potter

The ninth film by the legendary Sally Potter will take place across 24 hours in the life of a young woman and her father as he deals with mental health issues. Their journey through New York leads them through the alternate lives they could have lived.


MARRY ME: Directed by Kat Coiro

A pop superstar, played by Jennifer Lopez, is jilted by her rock-star fiancé moments before their wedding at Madison Square Garden, so she decides to ease the embarrassment by marrying a random guy from the crowd instead.


PASSING: Directed by Rebecca Hall

Based on the novel by Nella Larsen, Rebecca Hall’s directorial debut follows two childhood friends and their increasing fascination with each other’s lives, particularly one friend’s attempt to pass as white to her husband.


THE OLD GUARD: Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood

Based on the graphic novel by Greg Rucka and Leandro Fernandez, the new action film by Gina Prince-Bythewood brings together Charlize Theron, KiKi Layne, and Marwan ‘hot Jafar’ Kenzari for a story of a pack of mercenaries who are immortals with healing abilities forced to fight for their freedom.


COME AWAY: Directed by Brenda Chapman

Best-known for Pixar’s Brave, Brenda Chapman turns to live-action for a fantasy-drama that combines Peter Pan with Alice in Wonderland. The title characters of those stories are siblings here, helping their grief-stricken parents (played by Angelina Jolie and David Oyelowo) to deal with the death of their oldest son.


LISA REDLER: Directed by Nicole Garcia

French actress-turned-director Nicole Garcia has joined forces with actor Stacy Martin for a drama about a woman who rekindles a passionate affair with her ex while on holiday with her husband, only for murder to enter the picture.


COMES MORNING: Directed by Naomi Kawase

After a long and painful process of trying to conceive a child, a Japanese couple decides to adopt. Six years later, they receive a threatening phone call from a woman who claims to be the biological mother of the child and wants money from them.


CHOCOBAR: Directed by Lucrecia Martel

Argentinian auteur Lucrecia Martel’s films are always an exhilarating experience, and now she’s turning her focus to documentary. The film will follow Javier Chocobar, a man who was shot while fighting the removal of his indigenous community from their ancestral land in Argentina. His death went viral and brought further light to the centuries-long plight of indigenous Latin Americans. Martel’s film will reportedly dig into the 500 years preceding Chocobar’s death and how the system of land tenure became the norm.


CURRENTLY UNTITLED PROJECT: Directed by Lila Neugebauer

Celebrated theater director Lila Neugebauer makes her cinematic debut with none other than Jennifer Lawrence in the lead role. Very little is known about the film, which also stars Brian Tyree Henry and Samira Wiley.


THE SOUVENIR PART II: Directed by Joanna Hogg

Joanna Hogg follows her semi-autobiographical drama with the second part of her life story. Honor Swinton Byrne and her mother Tilda return and are joined by Charlie Heaton, Harris Dickinson, and Joe Alwyn.

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SCHWESTERLEIN: Directed by Stéphanie Chuat and Véronique Reymond

A German playwright follows her husband to his new job in Switzerland but finds herself unable to focus on her own life as her twin brother fights leukemia and falls sicker by the day.


REMINISCENCE: Directed by Lisa Joy

The cinematic directorial debut of Westworld co-creator Lisa Joy, Reminiscence is a sci-fi thriller about a man who offers clients the unique chance to relive any memory they desire and what happens when a mix-up in memories implicates one woman in a series of violent crimes.


ALL INCLUSIVE: Directed by Malgorzata Szumowska

Seven Polish women take an all-inclusive holiday to Morocco, but are forced to confront reality when they step outside the comfort of their hotel and the privilege of their tourist packages.


NIGHT SHIFT: Directed by Anne Fontaine

Based on a novel by Hugo Boris, Anne Fontaine’s latest film focuses on three Parisian police officers charged with driving a stranger back to the border. Once one of them realizes that the prisoner will most likely be killed once he is returned to his own country, she tries to convince her colleagues to let him go.


MISBEHAVIOUR: Directed by Philippa Lowthorpe

A dramatization of the 1970 Miss World competition, wherein the first black queen was crowned and the event was protested by feminist activists.



Kayleigh is a features writer for Pajiba. You can follow her on Twitter or listen to her podcast, The Hollywood Read.


Header Image Source: Getty Images.


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