We all know the issue. That’s why you’re probably reading this. Gender diversity in the film industry sucks. And this isn’t an issue that is purely confined within the Australian border. Film as a global industry suffers from this lack of diversity and in this new series of blog posts I wanted to take a look at what the situation was like elsewhere in the world and what other countries are doing to rectify this.
Firstly I’m going to dive into one of the most well-known industries in the world. America has a lot to answer for when it comes to how we view women in the media and the way it’s structured it’s industry has lead to it become one of the most commercially successful film industries in the world. So with in mind, what is America doing about gender diversity?
Since the Academy Awards began in 1929 only 4 female directors have ever been nominated for an Academy Award, Katheryn Bigelow being the only women director to have won out of those four. That is 88 years’ worth of cinema in which only one gender has won awards, for directing in particular.
And things really haven’t gotten any better.
In the Blockbuster world only 7% of the 250 highest grossing films were directed by females in 2016, a number that is lower than it was in 1998. This means that over the past 10 years things have actually gotten worse. That’s not to say that America is totally ignoring this problem however. On a positive note there are a number of organisations that are trying to rectify this disparity.
Women in Film is an organisation that runs out of LA, which I have spoken about in many other blog posts here: 5 Hashtags For Film Equality, 3 Things We’ve Learned About Women in the Film Industry. They promote watching female directed films in order to spread awareness of their work, which is one great way of helping to dissolve the stereotype that women, somehow, aren’t fit for making movies.
There are also plenty of other online social pages that promote female filmmakers in many categories outside of directing such as, Film Fatales, Female Filmmakers, Women Occupy Hollywood and many more.
In terms of funding female directed work the lifestyle site Refined 29 established a project called Shatterbox Anthology in 2016, which provides funding and distribution for a series of works directed by female filmmakers. Most notably the project has funded Kirsten Stewart’s short film, and directing debut, Come Swim, which also showed at Cannes this year. View the works here.
And that is just an example of one. There is an entire list of grants for women filmmakers in America that range from finishing funds to complete finances of projects. To view the list click here. Grants are an excellent way of helping women get off their feet and making films.
One of the major places where America is really faltering is in the promotion of films directed by women. DC’s latest film instalment Wonder Women is directed by female director Patty Jenkins and has received less promotion than any of the universes male directed counterparts. Especially the up and coming Justice League Film which has more promotion already and its not even in theatres for another 6 months! For more evidence on the matter check out this article by Donna Dickens.
The best thing for all of us to do is to try to watch the female directed films coming out of America. Supporting the women as much as the men is one of the ways that we can help shape the future of the American Film industry.