Women still only account for 11% of film directors

Angelo Anderson
January 12, 2018

Ten percent of films employed six to nine women, while only 1 percent employed 10 or more women. "This negligence has produced a toxic culture that supported the recent sexual harassment scandals and truncates so many women's careers", Lauzen said in issuing the report.

This news comes at a time when women have taken a front and centre role in Hollywood with the #MeToo movement and Time's Up initiative, a legal defence fund to help protect less fortunate women in other fields from sexual misconduct.

In many ways, 2017 was a great year for female film-makers.

Reinforcing findings of past studies, Lauzen determined that having women lead a film as director means that more women are brought on as writers, producers, executive producers, editors and cinematographers.

More women directed the top 250 highest-grossing domestic films in 2017 compared to the year before, according to a new study, but the increased figure is a far cry from marked progress.

Studios often argue that women are too inexperienced to handle big-budget films and yet hand massive franchises to male filmmakers with only one movie under their belt, like Gareth Edwards (Monsters to Godzilla), Josh Trank (Chronicle to Fantastic Four) and Colin Trevorrow (Safety Not Guaranteed to Jurassic World).

That's just 1 percent more than the figure for 2016 ― as well as for 1998, the first year the center conducted its studies. The percentage of female cinematographers has stayed exactly the same.

Only 11% were writers and 4% worked as cinematographers.

This year's study also considers the employment of women on the top 100 and 500 domestic grossing films.

Historical comparisons between 1998 and 2017 showed that female directors, executive producers and producers have increased, while women writers and editors have declined.

Focusing on the 100 top-grossing films (excluding foreign films and reissues), which reflect numerous bigger budgeted studio features, the numbers were even less encouraging.

The most successful film with a female director in 2017 was Patty Jenkins' Wonder Woman - the ninth top-grossing film of the year.

In analyzing the top 100 films in 2017, women accounted for only 16 percent of all directors, writers, executive producers, producers, editors and cinematographers, representing an increase of two percentage points from 2016, and even with 2015's percentage. "Because fewer women directed films in 2016, it would not be surprising to see the percentage rebound in 2017 as a part of the normal fluctuation in these numbers".

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