Women in Film 2019: Significant Progress in Indie Cinema

Women directors, writers, editors and producers are making progress, reaching historic highs in  independent films.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The latest Indie Women study, released Tuesday, found that women achieved record-setting levels as:

Directors (33% in 2018-19, up from 29% in 2017-18)

Writers (32% in 2018-19, up from 26%)

Producers (37% in 2018-19, up from 36%)

Executive producers (32% in 2018-19, from 26%)

Editors (29% in 2018-19, up from 27%).

The study was conducted by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University. It surveyed women’s employment on domestically and independently produced feature films screening at more than 20 high-profile U.S. festivals including AFI Fest, SXSW Film Festival, and Tribeca Film Festival.

This year’s Sundance Film Festival had 45% of films directed by women, including Nisha Ginatra with “Late Night,” Hannah Pearl Utt with “Before You Know It,” Joanna Hogg with “The Souvenir” and Mirrah Foulkes with “Judy and Punch.”

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The report examined more than 10,700 credits on more than 970 films in 2018-19, and over 80,000 credits on almost 8,000 films over the period of 2008 to 2019.
“After many years of tracking stubbornly stagnant numbers, this year women achieved healthy gains in a number of key behind-the-scenes roles,” Lauzen said. “Despite these increases, it is important to note that women remain dramatically underrepresented, with independent films employing more than twice as many men as women in these roles.”

Men comprised 68% and women 32% of all directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and cinematographers working on films screening at festivals in 2018-19.

The survey also notes that films with at least one woman director also employed much higher percentages of women writers, editors, and cinematographers.

On films with at least one female director, women comprised 72% of writers versus 11% on films directed exclusively by men. On films with at least one female director, women accounted for 45% of editors versus 21% of films directed exclusively by men.

“These differences are dramatic and demonstrate that when women direct films, they disrupt traditional hiring patterns, installing women as writers, editors, and cinematographers,” Martha Lauzen said. “This tendency counters the widespread and seemingly intractable bias that has favored male networks.”

 

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