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Must-See Movies Directed by Black Women

Jodi Turner-Smith and Daniel Kaluuya in "Queen & Slim" Universal Pictures

In an industry where white male directors dominate, let’s bring our focus to the Black female filmmakers who challenge the Hollywood standard. From big blockbuster movies to underrated indie gems, check out these must-see movies directed by Black women.

A Dry White Season

Directed by: Euzhan Palcy
Starring: Donald Sutherland, Jürgen Prochnow, Marlon Brando, Susan Sarandon

A white middle class South African suburbanite agrees to help his gardener find his jailed son.

Daughters of the Dust

Written, Directed, and Produced by: Julie Dash
Starring: Cora Lee Day, Barbara O., Alva Rogers, Trula Hoosier
WMG Film

Set in 1902, the film tells the story of three generations of Gullah women as they prepare to migrate off the island, out of the Southern United States, and into the North.

Eve’s Bayou

Written and Directed by: Kasi Lemmons
Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Meagan Good, Jurnee Smollett, Lynn Whitfield
ChubbCo Film

Over the course of a hot Louisiana summer, a ten-year-old girl discovers that her family's rich existence is merely a facade.

Miss Juneteenth

Written and Directed by: Channing Godfrey Peoples
Starring: Nicole Beharie, Kendrick Sampson, Alexis Chikaeze

A former beauty queen and single mother enters her daughter into a local “Miss Juneteenth” pageant.

I Will Follow

Written and Directed by: Ava DuVernay
Starring: Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Omari Hardwick, Blair Underwood, Beverly Todd
Kandoo Films

This drama chronicles a day in the life of a grieving artist, and the twelve visitors who help her move forward after the death of her aunt.


Co-written and Directed by: Tina Gordon (and produced by Marsai Martin)
Starring: Regina Hall, Issa Rae, Marsai Martin
Universal Pictures

An overbearing boss is transformed into a 13-year-old version of herself.

Little Woods

Written and Directed by: Nia DaCosta
Starring: Tessa Thompson, Lily James, Luke Kirby, James Badge Dale
Water's End Productions

Two sisters work into the world of cross-border drug trading after the death of their mother.

Losing Ground

Written and Directed by: Kathleen Collins
Starring: Seret Scott, Bill Gunn, Duane Jones

A philosophy professor and her artistic husband spend a summer away from the city, straining their rocky relationship.

Love & Basketball

Written and Directed by: Gina Prince-Bythewood
Starring: Sanaa Lathan, Omar Epps, Alfre Woodard
New Line Cinema

Monica and Quincy play basketball together through life challenges from childhood to adulthood.

Mississippi Damned

Written and Directed by: Tina Mabry
Starring: Tessa Thompson, D.B. Woodside, Malcolm Goodwin, Malcolm David Kelley
Morgan's Mark

Three children living in Mississippi deal with their family’s cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse.


Co-written and Directed by: Dee Rees
Starring: Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Clarke, Jason Mitchell

Two men return home from World War II to work on a farm in rural Mississippi, where they struggle to deal with racism and adjust to post-war life.

The Photograph

Written and Directed by: Stella Meghie
Starring: Issa Rae, Lakeith Stanfield, Chelsea Peretti, Lil Rel Howery
Universal Pictures

The estranged daughter of a famous photographer falls in love with the journalist investigating her mother’s life.

Queen & Slim

Directed by: Melina Matsoukas (Written by: Lena Waithe)
Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Jodie Turner-Smith, Bokeem Woodbine, Chloë Sevigny
Universal Pictures

A first date takes an unexpected turn when a traffic stop goes wrong.

Selah and the Spades

Written and Directed by: Tayarisha Poe
Starring: Lovie Simone, Celeste O’Connor, Jharrel Jerome, Henry Hunter Hall
Secret Engine

A senior at an east coast boarding school leads a faction of students called “The Spades,” who sell drugs to other students.

The Watermelon Woman

Written, Directed, and Edited by: Cheryl Dunye
Starring: Cheryl Dunye, Guinevere Turner, Valarie Walker
First Run Features

Considered a landmark in New Queer Cinema, a young black lesbian filmmaker investigates the life of “The Watermelon Woman,” a 1930’s actress who played stereotypical roles.

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