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18 May 2017

Fiction films directed by men outnumber those directed by women 3 to 1 in US Festivals

The latest Women in Independent Film study has found that high profile film festivals in the US screened three times as many narrative films directed by men as by women in 2016-17. The report, conducted by the Centre for the Study of Women in Television & Film at San Diego State University also found that the same festivals screened almost twice as many documentaries by men as by women.

Women in Independent Film is the most comprehensive study of behind-the-scenes employment of independent films available and looked at 23 of the US’ top festivals, including Sundance Film Festival, SXSW, New York Film Festival, AFI Fest and Austin Film Festival.

Overall, 29% of directors of the films studied were women, just a 1% rise on the previous year but a 7% increase since 2008-09, with women better represented in directing documentaries (31%) than fiction features (25%).

Tellingly, films with at least one woman director had substantially higher percentages of women writers, editors and cinematographers.

  • On films with at least one female director, women comprised 74% of writers vs. 7% on films directed exclusively by men.
  • On films with women directors, women  accounted for 36% of editors compared with 17% on films directed exclusively by men.
  • On films with women directors, women comprised 23% of cinematographers versus 6% on films directed exclusively by men.

Women accounted for 32% of producers on the films studied.

Read the study in full here.