From her early role as a child assassin in The Professional to her real-life stint at Harvard to her Oscar-winning performance in Black Swan, Natalie Portman has actively sought out professional challenges.
Amy Heckerling’s quirky directorial style and her knack for discovering fresh angles on classic stories led to her popular and critical successes with films like Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Clueless.
Jill Soloway’s mixture of curiosity and empathy for unusual characters, from funeral directors to people suffering from multiple personality disorder, earned her multiple Emmy awards for her creation of Transparent.
A folklorist by training, Susan Levitas has used documentary and feature films to capture unexpected facets of the cultural history of the American South, from blues musicians in Washington to Jewish boxers in Savannah.
Gila Almagor earned acclaim as a writer, actress, and filmmaker for her autobiographical Summer of Aviya in 1988, but when critics questioned details of her story, she embraced the criticism and went on to create a sequel, 1995’s Under the Domim Tree.
With a lifelong passion for both theater and history, Adele Gutman Nathan made a career of creating historical pageants, leading to her crowning achievement, writing a guide for Americans to celebrate their country’s bicentennial.
Meredith Monk’s avant-garde, mixed-media creations blend music, dance, film, and live performance to explore the collision of past and present, from the Black Plague to the AIDS crisis and from the medieval ghetto to Ellis Island.
Lena Dunham became the first woman to win a Director’s Guild Award for Outstanding Director for a Comedy Series for her HBO series Girls, for which she writes, directs, produces and plays the lead character.
Joan Micklin Silver bucked Hollywood assumptions about what made a successful film, becoming a critically acclaimed director of independent films with Jewish themes like Hester Street and Crossing Delancey.
Ruth Hagy Brod’s varied career as a journalist, documentary filmmaker and literary agent made her the ideal publicity director for Job Orientation In the Neighborhoods, helping high school dropouts train for careers.