Tuesday, May 23, 2017

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Over the past year, high-profile film festivals in the United States screened three times as many narrative films directed by men as by women. (Credit: SXSW Film Festival) Over the past year, high-profile film festivals in the United States screened three times as many narrative films directed by men as by women. (Credit: SXSW Film Festival)
 


Unequal Screen Time

An SDSU study shows high-profile film festivals screen films directed by women significantly less than those directed by men.
By SDSU News Team
 

Over the past year, high-profile film festivals in the United States screened three times as many narrative films, and almost twice as many documentaries, directed by men as by women, according to a new study released by Martha Lauzen, executive director of the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University.

The study, “Women in Independent Film, 2016-17,” monitors women’s representation on domestically and independently produced feature-length films screening at 23 festivals, including AFI Fest, Los Angeles Film Festival, New York Film Festival, SXSW Film Festival, and Tribeca Film Festival.

The festivals considered screened an average of six narrative films directed by at least one woman, compared with an average of 18 directed by men. Although behind-the-scenes women tend to enjoy higher employment rates on documentaries than on narrative features, the festivals screened an average of seven documentaries directed by women versus an average of 13 directed by men.

“The marketplace capital these high-profile festivals bestow on filmmakers and their films cannot be overstated,” Lauzen said. “They are an effective and proven apparatus for generating attention. Inclusion in these festivals provides the vital first step in the public life cycle of films with limited marketing resources, and can boost the reputation of their directors.”

On a positive note, films directed by at least one woman also had dramatically higher percentages of women working as writers, editors, and cinematographers.  For example, on films with female directors, women comprised 74 percent of writers, compared to just 7 percent on films with exclusively male directors.

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Related Articles:

The New York Times: Women Face Long Odds at U.S. Film Festivals, Study Finds

The Hollywood Reporter: Study Finds Major Festivals Continue to Screen More Films Directed by Men

USA Today: Women filmmakers: Opportunities not much better in indie films, study shows