Coolidge is the only female president the Directors Guild of America has ever had, which is a pretty landmark thing in and of itself. But in addition to that, she’s also directed a whole lot of interesting, different films, from the ’80s comedies Real Genius and Valley Girl to dramatic features like Rambling Rose and Introducing Dorothy Dandridge.

– Vulture.com’s “100 Women Directors Hollywood Should Be Hiring”




What makes a director?

Martha Coolidge can answer that.

Coolidge broke through many ceilings to become the award winning and internationally respected director she is today.  The obstacles that held back other women from the dream of directing only spurred her forward.  When she was told “You can’t be a director, you’re a woman.” She asked, “Why?” Today she says, “I didn’t like people telling me I couldn’t do something I want to do.”

Her passion for storytelling, moving the camera and performance shines through in her work.  A consummate filmmaker she’s also been known as an “actor’s director.” Robert Duvall, Halley Berry, Nick Cage, and Laura Dern, are just a few of the actors who have won awards and reaped praise for their work in her hands.  The medium she works in is secondary in importance to her and has developed her versatility. “I’m lucky” she says, “Because the palate of the business and the financial models are changing”.  She has directed studio and indie features, television, cable and internet shows and alternative release formats.  She has also produced, written and considers herself a good editor. “I will do what is necessary to get a film done, but above all I’m a great collaborator and love working with talented people.”

For the last few years she has also been teaching directing, in an attempt to give back to the next generation, “I’m constantly exploring how to teach the complexities of directing.  I want young directors to love every aspect of the job, and love working with actors and other artists”.

Her cornerstone hit comedies VALLEY GIRL and REAL GENIUS not only put her on the map, they launched the careers of Nicholas Cage and Val Kilmer and established Coolidge’s reputation for having a great eye for casting. Two of her award winning dramas INTRODUCING DOROTHY DANDRIDGE and RAMBLING ROSE, lead Coolidge to new level’s of success and also launched Halle Berry as an Oscar worthy actress winning her Emmys and Golden Globes. Rambling Rose did the much the same for Laura Dern and Diane Ladd, each received Oscar nominations and Golden Globes for their parts. RAMBLING ROSE won three IFP SPIRIT AWARDS, Best Director for Ms. Coolidge, Best Picture and Best Supporting Actress for Diane Ladd.  Dorothy Dandridge won 5 Emmys, including Halle Berry, a Golden Globe, the SAG Award and three IMAGE Awards; and won Coolidge several nomination for Best Director at the DGA and the Emmy’s

Among Ms. Coolidge’s other notable TV movies and episodic shows are CSI, Sex and the City and two more Best Director nominations one for IF THESE WALLS COULD TALK II, with Michelle Williams and Chloe Sevigny, and another for AMERICAN GIRL: CHRISSA STANDS STRONG.  She helped produce and directed a breakthrough long form, horror anthology series, for the web and Crackle, THE UNKNOWN, starring  Dominic Monaghan, Tony Goldwyn, Taryn Manning among others.  “Anthologies are very difficult because each story is a separate movie, new sets and cast.  We did this very creatively with very little money. And had a great time”

Currently Coolidge is directing episodic shows and enjoys the variety and the challenge.  She is also working with Second City producer Diane Alexander and writer Nick Torokvei developing an improve based comedy movie, to be shot in 2015. She also has several of her own projects in development.  She has also ventured out of the country to China with a co-production company, Jaiflix, developing and teaching an acting program for Chinese actors.  “It’s so exciting to see these young people respond to these western techniques.  They are so appreciative of everything we teach”

Ms. Coolidge was elected President of the Directors Guild of America in 2002, the first (and only) woman.  She had served as the Chair of the Creative Rights Committee for ten years, been Vice President and initiated the Guild’s program to improve employment for women and minorities.  She was awarded the Robert Aldrich Award for distinguished service to the guild in 1998. She continues to serve ex officio at the DGA and has served on the boards of the AFI and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Ms. Coolidge is a full professor at Chapman University in Directing.  She is also a member of the NYU Tisch School of the Arts Dean’s Advisory Council and has served as a Trustee of Rhode Island School of Design.

An avid horsewoman Ms. Coolidge holds National Championship titles for showing her Paso Finos.  For years she has directed a horse troupe called HOLLYWOOD PASO FINOS, with actors, dancers and stunt performers putting on acts for charity shows and parades like The Tournament of Roses.

She lives in Los Angeles and is married to Award winning Production Designer James Spencer and they have one son.









2016 Music, War and Love (filming) (2016)

2016 Angie Tribeca (TV Series) (1 episode) (2016)

2014 Madam Secretary (TV Series) (2014)

2014 The Night Shift (TV Series) (1 episode)
– Blood Brothers (2014)

2014 Killer Women (TV Series) (1 episode)
– Warrior (2014)

2013 The Glades (TV series)
– Glade-iators!(2013)

2013 Cult (TV series)
– The Good Fight

2012 Saving Seymour (pre-production)

2012 The Unknown (TV series)(post-production)
– Life Sentence (2012)
– Privacy Settings (2012)
– Yesterday (2012)
– Spare The Child

2011 Drop Dead Diva (TV series)
– Episode #3.3 (2011)

2006-2010 CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (TV series)
– Fracked (2010)
– Take My Life, Please (2010)
– Redrum (2007)
– Living Legend (2006)

2009 Tribute (TV movie)

2009 Psych (TV series)
– Truer Lies (2009)

2009 An American Girl: Chrissa Stands Strong (video)

2007 Weeds (TV series)
– Sh*t Highway (2007)

2006 Material Girls

2006 Related (TV series)
– Not Without My Daughter (2006)

2005 Huff (TV series)
– All the King’s Horses (2005)

2004 The Twelve Days of Christmas Eve (TV movie)

2004 The Prince and Me

2003 Hidden Hills (TV series)
– The Concert (2003)

2002 Girls Club (TV series)
– Sex, Drugs and Being Madonna (2002)

2002 Sex and the City (TV series)
– I Heart NY (2002)
– A ‘Vogue’ Idea (2002)

2001 The Ponder Heart (TV movie)

2001 Leap Years (TV series)
– Pilot (2001)

2001 The Flamingo Rising (TV movie)

2000 If These Walls Could Talk 2 (TV movie) (segment “1972”)

1999 Introducing Dorothy Dandridge (TV movie)

1997 Out to Sea

1995 Three Wishes

1994 Angie

1993 Lost in Yonkers

1992 Crazy in Love (TV movie)

1991 Rambling Rose

1991 Bare Essentials (TV movie)

1989 Trenchcoat in Paradise (TV movie)

1988 CBS Summer Playhouse (TV series)
– Roughhouse (1988)

1988 Plain Clothes

1985-1987 The Twilight Zone (TV series)
– Shelter Skelter (1987)
– Welcome to Winfield/Quarantine (1986) (segment “Quarantine”)
– Night of the Meek/But Can She Type?/The Star (1985) (segment “Night of the Meek”)

1986 Sledge Hammer! (TV series)
– Under the Gun (1986)

1985 Real Genius

1984 Joy of Sex

1984 City Girl

1983 Valley Girl

1978 Bimbo (documentary)

1978 Winners (TV series)

1976 Not a Pretty Picture

1976 Employment Discrimination: The Troubleshooters

1974 Old-Fashioned Woman (documentary)

1973 More Than a School (documentary)

1972 David: Off and On (documentary short)



JD. Sobol




Debbie Deuble at APA

405 S. Beverly Dr.

Los Angeles, CA 90212

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