We bet you’ll know these Netflix shows, but do you know the women who made them?
Although we still have a long way to go until fully-formed, Bechdel test passing female characters are considered the norm in the entertainment industry, women are becoming better represented on the big and small screens.
But although this is good news, as shown by many of our favourite Netflix hit shows, the amount of women behind the camera is severely lacking.
This fact was made glaringly obvious at this year’s Golden Globes, as Natalie Portman took aim at the “all male” nominees for best director category.
It’s evident in the disappointing stats that show just 4% of films were directed by women last year or, for example, in the open letter written by 70 British TV writers who spoke out about their “fury and confusion” earlier this month after it was suggested that less than 10% of new dramas being launched this year will have female lead writers.
So it’s more important than ever to champion the incredible work being done by the women who have managed to fight their way into these positions, and make it clear how capable women are of creating badass, high-quality content.
To celebrate these women and all their talents, we’ve picked four of our favourite female-led shows on Netflix and taken a look at the woman behind them.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt by Tina Fey
Viewers went wild for the untamed optimism and kooky ways of ex-cult member Kimmy Schmidt when she broke outta that bunker back in 2015. But it wasn’t just the fans at home that appreciated the show’s creativity, hilarious writing and clever cultural references – critics were quick to praise the show’s creator, Tina Fey, too.
That’s right – feminist and acting heavy-weight Fey is also the genius creator of the multi-series show and has been nominated for a colossal 15 awards for her work.
Orange is the New Black and GLOW by Jenji Kohan
As churning out diverse, hilarious and powerful female-focused content goes, Jenji Kohan has got it nailed. This talented writer and producer not only brought us the story of Piper Chapman and her adjustment to life behind bars in Orange in the New Black, but championed strong and diverse female narratives in GLOW.
Kohan is famed for creating richly layered female characters, promoting sexual and ethnic diversity and was named as one of TIME Magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2014.
Alias Grace by Mary Harron
After the roaring success of the Handmaid’s Tale, we were gasping for more Margaret Attwood adaptions. Cue Mary Harron and Alias Grace. The story is an on-screen retelling of Attwood’s book of the same name, which was written in 1996 and inspired by the true tale of a young Irish maid working in Canada who was blamed for two murders in the house she worked.
Mary Harron sat in the director’s chair for every episode of Alias Grace, and although this is her first time directing a series from start to finish, the show has already been nominated for five awards.
Mudbound cinematography by Rachel Morrison
This Netflix original film made serious waves upon its debut, delivering a searing portrayal of a racially divided community in the Deep South of America in the Second World War. Although the cast wasn’t female-dominated, sterling performances by Mary J Blige and Carey Mulligan stole the show and highlighted what it means to be the matriarch of a struggling family.
Rachel Morrison is responsible for the magical, sun-worn aesthetic Mudbound has been praised for and was the first female cinematographer ever to be nominated for an Academy Award. She also worked on the production of Black Panther which has been commended for championing women of colour.
Now if that isn’t a good excuse to indulge in a Netflix binge, we don’t know what is.
Images: Rex Features