Female Directors – Are we There Yet?

Posted by Rena Sternfeld on April 14, 2016 in The search |


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Well, it looks like the ACLU letter about female director’s employment was exactly what was needed.

We wanted to rattle the industry.

We did.

We wanted to open it wide and drain the abscess.

We opened it wide, but the drainage is yet to come.

My dear friend, Maria Geise, showed us the way and did most of the work. we, a handful, helped as much as we could.

We didn’t do it alone.

In a coincident that no-one could foresee, the Sony Hack happened. It showed the world how the big studios think about women in front and behind the camera. Not only there were only a few female directors mentioned in those emails, it became clear that female stars are routinely getting paid less than their male co-stars.

Once the trumpet sounded, many other film organizations that were doing their work quietly, became vocal.

Women in Film got together with The Sundance institute to do a research about post-festival career path for women directors. Not surprisingly they found that a win in Sundance does not guarantee employment. Whereas men go to bigger and better-paid projects, women are expected to do more by themselves. The Geena Davis Institute for gender balance is doing a lot of work researching the number of women and girls in front of the camera, which usually shows that women have fewer lines and less character in most films, even in television programs for kids.

Many websites were built to show them all that the number of women director’s working is but a small fraction of what’s out there. The more sites were built and attention to the subject given, the excuse “I don’t know any women directors” seem to vanish. Google the term “women TV directors”, and you’ll find pictures at the top of the search result page.

But there is much more to be done.


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