52 Films Directed By Women To Watch In 2023

We just wrapped a year of some solid female-directed films: Dimee Shi’s animated explosion “Turning Red,” Sarah Polley’s Mennonite masterpiece “Women Talking,” Joanna Hogg’s exquisitely understated “The Eternal Daughter.” Now it’s time to get hype for another slate of women-led projects, including two wide-release comedies centered around Asian-American women, the next Greta Gerwig joint, and Elizabeth Banks’ “Cocaine Bear.”

READ MORE: The 100 Most Anticipated Films Of 2023

It’s officially our fifth year running this feature, so hopefully, by now, you know the drill. Below are 52 upcoming films by women we hand-picked just for you. You’ll notice that we don’t have release dates for all of these yet, and some are just getting started on the festival circuit. (Though conveniently, nearly all the Sundance releases are also streaming online during the festival.) Consider this a possible starting point as you begin your 2023 film-watching journey, and we hope you find even more examples of new female-directed movies as the year goes on!

Follow along with all our Best Of 2022 coverage here. and our 2023 coverage here.

5 Seasons of Revolution
The independent filmmaker Lina, born in Damascus, offers a unique look at the Syrian conflict with her first feature, “5 Seasons of Revolution.” A contender in Sundance’s World Cinema Documentary competition, Lina uses “5 Seasons” to document her and her friends’ experiences as early conflict gives way to the unending grind of war. Part memoir, part journalism, this promising doc has been in the making, undercover, for ten years.
Release date: Premieres in January at Sundance, then TBD.

A Thousand and One
Teyana Taylor (“Coming 2 America”) stars in this understated drama about a struggling woman who kidnaps her son from foster care. Written and directed by A. V. Rockwell, this feature debut is in competition for the biggest prizes at Sundance. With “I Saw the TV Glow” cinematographer Eric Yue behind the camera and Lena Waithe acting as a producer, there is some serious juice behind this film. No wonder it’s one of the films entering the festival with a distributor already on lock.
Release date: Premieres in January at Sundance, then on March 31 via Searchlight.

All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt
The first (and certainly not last) A24 release on this list, “All Dirt Roads Taste of Salt” will premiere at Sundance before its release later in the year. This romantic drama by Raven Jackson, whose shorts “Nettles” and “A Guide to Breathing Underwater” have been picked up by the Criterion Channel, follows a Black woman in Mississippi from girlhood to adulthood. This film’s entry on the Sundance program promises an immersive, sensual experience that will leave you longing for the bucolic quietude of the South.
Release date: Premieres in January at Sundance, then TBD via A24.

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret
It has been too long since Kelly Fremon Craig, the woman behind 2016’s whip-smart, tragically overlooked “The Edge of Seventeen” had something on the big screen. And while it’s a little daunting to think of “Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret” getting a film adaptation in 2023 — it is, after all, a 1970 Judy Blume novel that features menstrual pads with belts — Fremon Craig more than proved her coming-of-age chops with “The Edge of Seventeen.” With Blume producing, this could be a stellar adaptation — one that both appeals to a new generation and taps into the nostalgia of the many women who grew up reading the book. Rachel McAdams and Benny Safdie play Margaret’s parents, whose interfaith marriage stirs up family drama, and Abby Ryder Fortson (“Tales from the Loop”) stars as Margaret. Kathy Bates as Margaret’s Jewish grandma, Sylvia, is the one iffy casting choice but, well, we’ll see…
Release date: Expected April 28 via Lionsgate.

Filmmaker Sofia Alaoui is no stranger to sci-fi — her short “So What If the Goats Die,” about a shepherd facing down an alien invasion, won Sundance’s Grand Jury Prize in 2020 and the César for Best Short Film in 2021. “Animalia” looks like it will explore similar subject matter, this time centered around a pregnant, affluent woman in Morocco whose husband is away on business. Though she’s loyal to the fantastical, Alaoui tends to tell out-there stories in a subtle, humanistic way. We can’t wait to see what she does with her first feature-length runtime.
Release date: Premieres in January at Sundance, then TBD.

Bad Behaviour
28-year-old actor Alice Englert (“Beautiful Creatures,” “Ginger & Rosa”) makes her feature directorial debut with “Bad Behaviour,” which she also wrote and stars in. (Does anybody else feel lazy just reading that?) This Sundance dramedy follows Lucy (Jennifer Connelly), a former child actor hell-bent on tanking her already a codependent relationship with her daughter, Dylan (Englert). While Lucy is on a retreat led by her guru, Elon (!), all hell breaks loose. This New Zealand production sounds like an absolute delight, especially considering Ben Whishaw is on deck as the ridiculous guru. This one will definitely get snapped up by a distributor during the festival.
Release date: Premieres in January at Sundance, then TBD.

Bad Press
This Sundance doc centers on Mvskoke Media, the free press of the Muscogee Nation, as they take on some questionable tribal officials who would rather do away with press freedom altogether than be transparent. Directed by documentarian Joe Peeler and Rebecca Landsberry-Baker, the executive director of the Native American Journalists Association, this looks like an incisive exploration of press freedom in a setting that is rarely explored. Definitely one to note for any journalism/free speech geeks. 
Release date: Premieres in January at Sundance, then TBD.

Perhaps the single most buzzy film on this entire list, Greta Gerwig’s upcoming “Barbie,” starring Margot Robbie as the titular dollface, needs no introduction. The trailer, a nearly shot-for-shot homage to “2001: A Space Odyssey,” set the internet ablaze last month. The cast and crew are ridiculously stacked, featuring Ryan Gosling as the Ken to Robbie’s Barbie; “The Irishman” cinematographer Rodrigo Pietro; Alexandre Desplat on the score; plus America Ferrera, Kate McKinnon, Simu Liu, and Will Ferrell. The script, which Gerwig co-wrote with Noah Baumbach, chronicles Barbie’s exploits after she has been expelled from Barbieland for being “a less than perfect-looking doll.” We can’t wait to see what she gets up to here among the normals. Apparently, it involves a lot of rollerskating.
Release date: July 21 via Warner Bros.

Emma Seligman’s debut feature “Shiva Baby” solidified her as one of the sharpest new writer-directors working today. Her upcoming second feature, which she co-wrote with lead actor Rachel Sennott — who also played the main role in “Shiva Baby” — looks like another win. Per Sennott, “Bottoms” is about “two girls in a classic American football town who start a fight club under the guise of female empowerment, but it’s actually so they can have sex with cheerleaders.” Though a release date has yet to be specified, shooting has wrapped, so this one is definitely due in 2023. Keep an eye out for more news — or, if all else fails, for the Sapphic bat signal that will undoubtedly go into effect once this thing hits theaters.
Release date: TBD via UA. We’ll be impatiently waiting.

Cat Person
One of a few holdovers from our 2022 list, “Cat Person” marks the long-awaited adaptation of Kristen Roupenian’s viral New Yorker short story of the same name. “Masters of Sex” scribe Michelle Ashford wrote the screenplay, and “Booksmart” co-writer Susanna Fogel will make this her third directorial venture, following “Life Partners” and “The Spy Who Dumped Me.” Emilia Jones, the star of “CODA,” scored the lead role of Margot. She will act opposite Nicholas Braun, who plays Robert, Margot’s short-lived, older love interest. (Isabella Rossellini is also there, for some delightful reason.) This tale of muddled power dynamics and unsatisfying sex made for an absolute gut punch of a short story, so we’re keen to see how it does after getting the big screen treatment.
Release date: Premieres in January at Sundance, then TBD, but it’s certain to get snatched up.