Film Femme Fatales: Top Black Women in Hollywood

These directors and producers add unique flair to storytelling

Award-winning "Middle of Nowhere" director, Ava DuVernay (Image: File)

It’s no secret that the film industry is male dominated, with very few females getting recognition for their contribution to the cut-throat business of filmmaking. With a unique story to tell and a creative spin on storytelling, below are four women whose careers are proving they are ready to have a lasting say in the diversity of film.

Ava DuVernay: She was the first black woman to be awarded the Best Director award at last year’s Sundance Film Festival for her film “Middle of Nowhere” and now she’s picking up recognition and respect beyond the film world. Approached by the executives from Prada and Miu Miu, DuVernay has directed a recent short film called “The Door” that sheds a unique light on the intertwining of high fashion clothing and the bond of sisterhood among an all-star cast that includes Gabrielle Union, Alfre Woodard, Emayatazy Corinealdi, Goapele and Adepero Oduye.

Angela Robinson: She’s the highest grossing black female director in history, as her cartoon film with Lindsay Lohan “Herbie: Fully Loaded” grossed $144 million worldwide. While the success of this highly popular commercial film is one that should be duly noted, Robinson is best known for knocking down doors and bringing stories focused on the black lesbian experience to the big screen.

Gina Prince-Bythewood: Best known for directing and writing the 2008 film “The Secret Life of Bees,” which grossed $40 million worldwide, Bythewood is proving that she has the experience and knowledge to bring some of the best stories to light. But don’t mistake Bythewood for a newcomer, she was also behind the making of the classic 2000 film “Love and Basketball” starring Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps.

Darnell Martin: Her 1994 film “I Like It Like That” with Columbia Pictures won a New York Critics Circle award for Best First Film and it made her the first African American woman to write and direct a film for a major Hollywood studio. Scoring again in 2008 with the film “Cadillac Records” that starred Beyoncé, Cedric the Entertainer, Columbus Short and Mos Def, Martin is showing that her career in film is one that deserves recognition.

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