Film’s Major Issue with Minority Women

It is not an unknown fact now, I think, that women are in a minority when it comes to directing films. However there are those who are at even more of a disadvantage because they are representative of multiple minorities. I am speaking particularly about black women and the film industries struggle to accept them to lead projects.

It becomes twice as hard for a black woman to make her way as a film director in an industry that so thoroughly lacks diversity. In a report of Hollywood’s Box office figures from the last 10 years it found that only 5.1% of its top 100 films were directed by black directors, and only 4% by black women.


In a statement, the report’s lead author, Stacy Smith said: “Our research consistently shows that behind the camera, directing is predominantly an occupation held by white males. When the lens is this skewed, it offers a tilted view of society to audiences – one that lacks the perspective of women and people of colour.” (Andrew Pulver, The Guardian,

This week therefore I decided to shine the spotlight on some of these minority women who have persevered through the immense struggle to get their films made.

Firstly is Sara Gomez (who’s first film De Cierta Manera is being shown in Brooklyn this week if you happen to be in that part of the world. Click the link here for more info).

She is Cuba’s first female director starting out as an assistant and eventually releasing her first film in 1974. Unfortunately it wasn’t Sara who released the film as she tragically passed away at just 31 before finishing the final cut. Two filmmaker theorists, Julio Garcia Espinosa and Gutierrez Alea, worked to Sara’s vision and finished the piece for her. Now the film is hailed as a great art piece and stands for determination and persistence.

Another amazing minority female director is Priscilla Anany who is an African-American woman originally from Ghana who struggled to make her feature Children of the Mountain. The film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2016 and won an award but unfortunately its not enough to get her funding for her next film.


“If a man makes one good film and wins an award, he is set in his career. He will get investors with ease. But for a woman, one movie is not enough. She has to repeatedly prove herself before she can find a producer who will trust her,” she said.

Whilst there is wonderful work being made by these women it is unfortunate that the industry doesn’t trust these minority women to make their wonderful work. I would highly recommend trying to check out some films this weekend directed not only by women but by women who represent minorities. Here’s a list to get you started. (List sourced from Indie Wire:

  1. “35 Shots of Rum” by Claire Denis (2008)
  2. “A Different Image” by Alile Sharon Larkin (1982)
  3. “A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night” by Ana Lily Amirpour (2014)
  4. “Advantageous” by Jennifer Phang (2015)
  5. “Ala Modalaindi” by Nandini Bv Reddy (2011)
  6. “All About You” by Christine Swanson (2001)
  7. “Alma’s Rainbow” by Ayoka Chenzira (1994)
  8. “Appropriate Behavior” by Desiree Akhavan (2014)
  9. “B For Boy” by Chika Anadu (2013)
  10. “Bande de Filles/Girlhood” by Céline Sciamma (2014)
  11. “Belle” by Amma Asante (2013)
  12. “Bend it Like Beckham” by Gurinder Chadha (2002)
  13. “Bessie” by Dee Rees (2015)
  14. “Beyond the Lights” by Gina Prince-Bythewood (2014)
  15. “Bhaji on the Beach” by Gurinder Chadha (1993)
  16. “Caramel” by Nadine Labaki  (2007)
  17. “Circumstance” by Maryam Keshavarz (2011)
  18. “Civil Brand” by Neema Barnette (2002)
  19. “Compensation” by Zeinabu irene Davis (1999)
  20. “Daughters of the Dust” by Julie Dash (1991)
  21. “Double Happiness ” by Mina Shum (1994)
  22. “Down in the Delta” by Maya Angelou (1998)
  23. “Drylongso” by Cauleen Smith (1988)
  24. “Earth” by Deepa Mehta (1998)
  25. “Elza” by Mariette Monpierre (2011)
  26. “Endless Dreams” by Susan Youssef (2009
  27. “Eve’s Bayou” by Kasi Lemmons (1997)
  28. “Fire” by Deepa Mehta (1996)
  29. “Frida” by Julie Taymor (2002)
  30. “Girl in Progress” by Patricia Riggen (2012)
  31. “Girlfight” by Karyn Kusama (2000)
  32. “Habibi Rasak Kharban” by Susan Youssef (2011)
  33. “Hiss Dokhtarha Faryad Nemizanand (Hush! Girls Don’t Scream)” by Pouran Derahkandeh (2013)
  34. “Honeytrap” by Rebecca Johnson (2014)
  35. “I Like It Like That” by Darnell Martin (1994)
  36. “I Will Follow” by Ava DuVernay (2010)
  37. “In Between Days” by So-yong Kim (2006)
  38. “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge” by Martha Coolidge (1999)
  39. “It’s a Wonderful Afterlife” by Gurinder Chadha (2010)
  40. “Jumpin Jack Flash” by Penny Marshall (1986)
  41. “Just Another Girl on the IRT” by Leslie Harris (1992)
  42. “Just Wright” by Sanaa Hamri (2010)
  43. “Kama Sutra” by Mira Nair (1996)
  44. “Losing Ground” by Kathleen Collins (1982)
  45. “Love & Basketball” by Gina Prince-Bythewood (2000)
  46. “Luck by Chance” by Zoya Akhtar (2009)
  47. “Mi Vida Loca” by Allison Anders (1993)
  48. “Middle of Nowhere” by Ava DuVernay (2012)
  49. “Mississippi Damned” by Tina Mabry (2009)
  50. “Mississippi Masala” by Mira Nair (1991)
  51. “Mixing Nia” by Alison Swan (1998)
  52. “Monsoon Wedding” by Mira Nair (2001)
  53. “Mosquita y Mari” by Aurora Guerrero (2012)
  54. “Na-moo-eobs-neun san (Treeless Mountain)” by So-yong Kim (2008)
  55. “Night Catches Us” by Tanya Hamilton (2010)
  56. “Pariah” by Dee Rees (2011)
  57. “Picture Bride” by Kayo Hatta (1994)
  58. “Rain” by Maria Govan (2008)
  59. “Real Women Have Curves” by Patricia Cardoso (2002)
  60. “Saving Face” by Alice Wu (2004)
  61. “Second Coming” by Debbie Tucker Green (2014)
  62. “Something Necessary” by Judy Kibinge (2013)
  63. “Something New” by Sanaa Hamri (2006)
  64. “Still the Water” by Naomi Kawase  (2014)
  65. “Stranger Inside” by Cheryl Dunye (2001)
  66. “Sugar Cane Alley/Black Shack Alley” by Euzhan Palcy (1983)
  67. “The Kite” by Randa Chahal Sabag (2003)
  68. “The Rich Man’s Wife” by Amy Holden Jones (1996)
  69. “The Secret Life of Bees” by Gina Prince-Bythewood (2008)
  70. “The Silence of the Palace” by Moufida Tlatli (1994)
  71. “The Watermelon Woman” by Cheryl Dunye (1996)
  72. “The Women of Brewster Place” by Donna Deitch (1989)
  73. “Their Eyes Were Watching God” by Darnell Martin (2005)
  74. “Things We Lost in the Fire” by Susanne Bier  (2007)
  75. “Wadjda” by Haifaa Al-Mansour (2012)
  76. “Water” by Deepa Mehta (2005)
  77. “Whale Rider” by Niki Caro  (2002)
  78. “What’s Cooking?” by Gurinder Chadha (2000)
  79. “Where Do We Go Now?” by Nadine Labaki  (2011)
  80. “Whitney” by Angela Bassett (2015)
  81. “Woman Thou Art Loosed: On The 7th Day” by Neema Barnette (2012)
  82. “Xiu Xiu: The Sent-Down Girl” by Joan Chen (1998)
  83. “Yelling to the Sky” by Victoria Mahoney (2011)
  84. “Young and Wild” by Marialy Rivas (2012)

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