Honoring Women in Filmmaking, Entertainment, and the Media Arts

March 19, 2024

Throughout history, women in filmmaking, entertainment, and media have left an indelible mark in the arts. Challenging conventions, and inspiring generations with their creativity and talent, figures like Frida Kahlo, Annie Leibovitz, Jane Campion, Sofia Coppola, and Ava Duvernay have shaped their respective fields, paving the way for future generations of artists to thrive. Today, female directors, producers, writers, and actors continue to make remarkable contributions to visual storytelling, driving essential conversations about gender equality.

Honoring Women in Filmmaking, Entertainment, and the Media Arts

With the rise of platforms like Medium, TikTok, Substack, and many more, there have never been as many methods to tell a story. Many artists are aligning their creative and entrepreneurial skills to build lasting careers in the arts, finding new and inventive ways to follow their dreams.

Here is a selection of just a few women making serious strides in the content creation, film, new media, and the arts. 

Anna Marie Tendler, Photographer and Visual Artist

Visual artist Anne Marie Tendler, known for her eye-catching and dramatic photographs, has a one-of-a-kind style. Demonstrated through collections such as “rooms in the first house,” as well as a range of self-portraits and landscapes, Tendler is extremely skilled in her craft. While documenting the renovation of her Connecticut home, Tendler shared photos depicting various personal challenges in her life, inspiring women everywhere.

women in filmmaking, entertainment, and media

Tendler, who also makes Victorian lampshades and textiles, recently partnered with Christie’s to integrate fine art and design pieces from the Getty’s iconic hilltop estate into her Connecticut residence for a series of photographs. Her upcoming memoir, Men Have Called Her Crazy, delves into the daunting expectations and burdens confronting women in the modern era. Anne Marie Tendler via The Cut.

Tegan Taylor, Makeup Artist

Tegan Taylor is an established makeup artist who has worked on films including Mr. and Mrs. Smith, War of the Worlds, and Beowulf, as well as television series such as Still Standing, Big Love, and Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life. She has collaborated closely with some of the film industry’s foremost directors, such as James Cameron, NYFA Guest Speaker Steven Spielberg, John Ridley, and Takashi Shimizu, working on the makeup and special effects team on Avatar. Her work on Avatar was groundbreaking, which leveraged makeup and visual effects, and immersed audiences into the world of Pandora. 

Da’vine Joy Randolph, Actress

Even before winning the Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for The Holdovers, actress Da’vine Joy Randolph had an established body of work. With a filmography that includes The United States vs. Billie Holiday, Rustin, Kajillionaire, Dolemite Is My Name, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish, as well as hit television shows such as Empire, On Becoming a God in Central Florida, Only Murders in the Building, High Fidelity, and This is Us, Randolph has demonstrated her exceptional acting skills.

Like many women in Hollywood, Da’vine is also an advocate of roles that aren’t “shallow or one-dimensional characters.”

“I was so overjoyed to read this character, someone who was really struggling, but also trying to persevere in spite of her situation,” Randolph said of her character in The Holdovers. Image via Variety.

Sabrina Brier, Content Creator and Actress 

Sabrina Brier, a comedian living in New York City, used TikTok to build a dedicated following of fans. Writing and performing her own skits around the city, Sabrina has quickly become known as a “real-life Carrie Bradshaw,” as she acts out relatable scenarios that most women in their 20s and 30s face. Since then, her career has taken off. She was even featured on Abbott’s Elementary in season three, playing a teacher.

Delyanne Barros, Content Creator

It’s a golden era for content creation, a visual art of storytelling that requires individuals to be entrepreneurial, inventive, and resourceful. Social media influencer and podcast host Delyanne Barros seized the opportunity to become a subject matter expert in her field, using her experience and knowledge in finance to teach women about investing and the stock market.

women in filmmaking, entertainment, and media

Her Instagram, TikTok, Pinterest, and Facebook accounts excel in providing streamlined and straightforward information to her audience. Barros, who relocated from the US to Portugal, is enthusiastic about empowering women and hosts a podcast with CNN. Image via Fortune.

Dana Hemes, Multimedia Artist

Dana Hemes is a multimedia artist who creatively uses venues such as “gallery spaces, parks, concerts, backyards, and corn fields” to bring her imagination to life. In her “Inter-Species” display, Hemes created a six-foot-tall black box, sand, and other materials to create an experiential and interactive installation with harvester ants. Using microphones and speakers, the movement of anyone walking through the exhibit is communicated to the ants through vibrations. Meanwhile, the humans in attendance get to hear ant sounds. Her unique use of sound design is an exceptional example of how visual artists are innovating with the latest technology.

Linnea Larsdotter, Actress and Producer

NYFA Musical Theatre alum Linnea Larsdotter, an actress and producer, founded the Nordic Film Festival. The festival, held annually in New York City, puts Scandinavian films on display, and aims to “build bridges between the Nordic region and the international film community.

women in filmmaking, entertainment, and media

This year marked the 9th anniversary of the festival, which was held at Scandinavia House and Fotografiska.  At this year’s festival, Linnea shared her go-to advice for aspiring filmmakers. Image via Nordic Watchlist.

Judianna Makovsky, Costume Designer

Judianna Makovsky may have been behind the scenes, but her work is on full display. As an established costume designer, Makovsky has dictated the appearance of beloved characters in iconic films such as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Big, A Little Princess, Great Expectations, Pleasantville, Practical Magic, The Hunger Games, and Seabiscuit. Makovsky has also worked on several Marvel and DC films including X-Men: The Last Stand, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, The Suicide Squad, and The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. Her portrayal of superheroes adds depth and personality to the films, and essential for character development.

Hilary Campbell, Content Creator 

Hilary Campbell, known by her followers as cartoonsbyhilary, is a content creator and visual artist. Her popular Instagram channel features her original illustrations and captions, which she sells on Etsy. She recently released a book called “What Did I Do Today?” in addition to co-hosting a podcast and sending out a Substack newsletter. Campbell has had successful partnerships with publications such as The New Yorker and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, as she covered the Academy Awards via live drawing. Campbell’s success demonstrates the potential for artists to promote and sell their work utilizing PR, social media, and collaborations.

Ayo Edebiri, Actress

Comedian, writer, and actress Ayo Edebiri is having a moment. Known for her work in television (as well as her hilarious Letterbox reviews), Edebiri has gained recognition for her roles in shows like Big Mouth and The Amber Ruffin Show. She was the 2023 winner for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for The Bear, where she plays whipsmart chef Sydney opposite Jeremy Allen White.

women in filmmaking, entertainment, and media

She’s starred in films such as Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, Omni Loop, and Inside Out 2. Edebiri is slated to appear in upcoming films Ella McCay with NYFA Guest Speaker Jamie Lee Curtis and Opus with John Malkovich and Murray Bartlett. Image via The Today Show.

Kayla Sims, Gamer and Content Creator

At one point in time, it seemed impossible to make a living playing video games. However, with the explosion of social media platforms like YouTube and Twitch, many gamers are doing just that. Kayla Sims (yes, that’s actually her last name) built a following from her channels by giving advice and insight into her favorite game, The Sims. In addition to having a significant fanbase, Kayla has also partnered with EA Games various times to test new expansion packs and contribute to new releases. 

Avantika Vandanapu, Actress and Producer

Avantika Vandanapu starred in this year’s hit film Mean Girls: The Musical, based on the popular 2004 film. The Indian actress, who starred in movies in Telugu and Tamil, starred as the lovable Karen Shetty, a role originally filled by Amanda Seyfried.

Before Mean Girls, Avantika starred in films and television series such as Senior Year, Diary of a Future President, Mira, Royal Detective, The Sex Lives of College Girls, and Big Girls Don’t Cry. She recently announced that she will produce and star in an adaptation of A Crown of Wishes by Roshani Chokshi. Additional upcoming projects include the horror movie Tarot and the mini-series Masoom. Image via Allo Cine.

Apeksha Agarwal, Photographer 

NYFA Photography alum Apeksha Agarwal, hailing from New York, is an exceptionally talented photographer renowned for her expertise in fashion and beauty photography. Agarwal has worked closely with actors, artists, models, and celebrities worldwide, and garnered recognition from esteemed publications such as Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Elle, Glamour, Grazia, and L’Officiel. Her recent work incorporates Generative AI art. In 2023, she did an Editorial for Harper’s Baazar titled, “Queen of the Jungle Runway: Reigning Over Fashion with Power and Elegance,” paying tribute to the power of women.

Kaouther Ben Hania, Director

The 2024 awards season was ripe with impactful documentary films. Director Kaouther Ben Hania’s documentary Four Daughters was included in the nominations for Best Documentary Feature, recognizing the film’s innovative approach to non-fiction storytelling. Kaouther follows the story of the kindhearted Tunisia mother Olfa, who is mourning the loss of two eldest daughters who fled to the Islamic State in Libya.

women in filmmaking, entertainment, and media

Kaouther cast two actresses in their place, creating a unique narrative that explores loss, family, and connection. The film marks Kaouther’s many accomplishments in the film industry, which include Les imams vont à l’école, Le Challat de Tunis, Zaineb Hates the Snow, Beauty and the Dogs, and The Man Who Sold His Skin. Image via The New Arab.

Danielle Brooks, Actress

Danielle Brooks made her Broadway debut in the 2015 revival of The Color Purple. In 2024, she was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for a film adaptation of the same name. Prior to The Color Purple, Brooks appeared in television shows and movies including Girls, Master of None, Orange is the New Black, Close Enough, and Peacemaker. She’ll be appearing in future episodes of Peacemaker, as well as Minecraft, based on the popular video game. 

Jenny Slate, Comedian and Actress

Jenny Slate, an SNL alum, comedian, and actress, has a long filmography including Obvious Child, Zootopia, The Secret Life of Pets, Venom, Marcel the Shell with Shoes On, the Daniels-directed hit movie Everything Everywhere All At Once, as well as TV series such as Girls, Parks and Rec, Adventure Time, Star vs. The Forces of Evil, Muppet Babies, Bob’s Burgers, Big Mouth, and The Great North.

The multi-faceted actress, known for her fun personality, released a book titled Little Weirds that Vanity Fair titled one of the Great Quarantine Reads. In her newest comedy special, Seasoned Professional on Amazon Prime, she discusses topics that include being brave for love, motherhood, and therapy. Image via WGBH.

Selyna Warren and Marissa Read, Writing Team

The writing team and NYFA Screenwriting faculty members Selyna Warren and Marissa Read proved the power of partnership with their YouTube Original series FOURSOME. The two were also 2023 #ATTUntoldStories finalists for their film Bat Mitzvah. Warren has acted in FOURSOME, as well as popular television series such as Black-ish, Guilty Party, Idiot Sitter, and Shameless. 

Lily Gladstone, Actress

Actress Lily Gladstone stunned audiences in the 2023 film Killers of the Flower Moon. The role earned her a nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role at the Academy Awards. Gladstone made history as the first-ever Native woman of American descent to receive a nomination.

women in filmmaking, entertainment, and media

Originally from the Blackfeet Indian Reservation, Gladstone is known for her roles in Certain Women (2016), The Unknown Country (2022), Quantum Cowboys (2022), The Last Manhunt (2022), and Fancy Dance (2023), and is one of many exceptionally talented Native American storytellersImage via Town and Country.

Heather Huntington and Danielle Evenson, Writing Team 

Heather Huntington and Danielle Evenson teach and write together as a team while running the podcast UNSOLVED DEATH MURDER CRIMES. They’ve also partnered on additional podcasts and short films. Evenson has worked as a writer on series including The New Adventures of Old Christine, Frankenstein MD, and Whatta Lark. The two are Screenwriting faculty at NYFA.

Juno Temple, Actress

When it comes to women in filmmaking, three-time Primetime Emmy nominee Juno Temple’s rise has been incredible to watch. Known for her iconic role as Keely Jones on Apple TV’s Ted Lasso, Temple’s career dates back to 2000, with roles in hit films and television series such as Atonement, The Other Boleyn Girl, Notes on a Scandal, The Dark Knight Rises, Lovelace, Wonder Wheel, Maleficent: Mistress of Evil, Dirty John, and Fargo.

women in filmmaking, entertainment, and media

She recently portrayed Bettye McCartt, legendary producer Al Ruddy’s secretary, in the Paramount Plus series The Offer. McCartt, while not as well-known as Ruddy, was instrumental in the creation of The Godfather, and went on to establish her own talent agency. Temple is starring in the upcoming film Venom: The Last Dance, as well as Everest, Crooks, and Good Luck, Have Fun, Don’t Die. Image via IMDB.

Find Your Creative Voice at NYFA

Advances in technology have democratized content creation, allowing storytellers to experiment with new narrative forms and reach wider audiences across the globe. The integration of visual effects, animation, and interactive elements has opened up new avenues for immersive storytelling experiences, blurring the lines between traditional and emerging mediums. At NYFA, prospective visual storytellers can explore a diverse array of platforms and mediums, building skills in filmmaking, screenwriting, cinematography, game design, 3D animation, and content creation. 

Pursue your own entrepreneurial and creative path through our hands-on programs. Explore our areas of study to learn more!