Her first short film, Les Vacances, won the Jury Prize at Cannes in 1997. In 1999, she directed her graduation film, a medium-length film, La Puce, which won the Prix de la Cinéfondation at Cannes.
Acting in parallel with her career as a director (Class trip / original title La Classe de neige by Claude Miller, 1997, It All Starts Today / Ça commence aujourd’hui by Bertrand Tavernier, 1998, Right Now / À tout de suite by Benoît Jacquot, 2003), she played the lead role in her first feature film, Clément, presented in the Un Certain Regard section at Cannes in 2001. Backstage, her second film, with Emmanuelle Seigner and Isild Le Besco, was presented at the Venice Festival in 2005. In 2011, she co-wrote with Maïwenn, Polisse in which she plays a policewoman of the Brigade de Protection des Mineurs, and which won the Jury Prize in Cannes. She directed Catherine Deneuve in On My Way (original title : Elle s’en va), selected at the Berlinale in 2013. At the 2015 Cannes Film Festival, her film Standind Tall (La Tête haute) was the opening film. At the same festival, Emmanuelle Bercot received the Best Actress Award for her performance in Maïwenn’s Mon roi in which she plays a woman living a passionate but also heartbreaking love story with Vincent Cassel. She returned behind the camera in 2015 for 150 Milligrams (La fille de Brest). She played alongside Golshifteh Farahani in Girls of the Sun (Les Filles du soleil), in official competition at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival. In 2019, she was in the poster of Fête de famille by Cédric Kahn. Her film Peaceful (De son vivant) for which she reunited with Catherine Deneuve and Benoît Magimel was recently released. She plays in Goliath by Frédéric Tellier with Gilles Lellouche and Pierre Niney, currently in theaters.