Female Directors, How Do We Continue from here?

Posted by Rena Sternfeld on August 2, 2016 in The search |

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It all begins with respect.


Treat female directors with the respect that comes from their sheer numbers – 51% of the population. We are not diversity, we are not minority. We are half of the people who have been treated with condensation and called “little woman”, women who were told to takes care of the house, the kids and themselves, so they could wait for the hard working husband and mix a martini for him.

It’s a process because we need to change people’s minds.

Change is hard, people like consistency, they like “we’ve always done it this way”. Especially when the sentiment is industry-wide.

They don’t trust us, women, with big budget movies. Why? They just can’t believe they can put a woman at the helm of something so expensive. As if she’ll squander the money, take it and buy… I don’t know, shoes.

So it’s going to be a process, but, I believe we have already taken the first few steps.

What can we do moving forward?

  • Continue talking about it in the press, highlight women’s work. Talk about it. Don’t let it die down.


  • The federal authorities are already checking into it, thanks to our activity. No industry like the federals snooping around their business. That puts pressure on the big guys.


  • We need more producers talking about it, the likes of J.J. Abrams and Paul Feig. In television Greg Berlanti who, according to Lexi Alexander, asked all his show runners to look for more women directors. John Wells did it years ago – the best fellowship program ever existed – but no one else followed suit.


  • We need something like the Rooney Rule in football. Find a way to implement it with women. Make the producers meet women before the beginning of the season. Let them be exposed to the numbers and the different kinds of women that exist in our world. They just might find someone they like.


  • We all know that quotas are not allowed. But for years, until very recently, there was some kind of self-imposed quota – 2 women per season, out of 23-24 episodes in most network shows. How come, I asked myself, that different shows have the same number – 2. Not 3 or 1, but 2. Year after year, show after show. I believe that this was a self-imposed quota, not to appear gender bias. Increase that number to 6 a season and then we’ll see what happens.


  • We have 2 generations of women who missed the boat; I believe we need a fund of some sort, at the DGA, to enable women with prior experience in directing to update their resume by doing short films financed by the fund.


  • Create a fund for first feature for women. Most countries around the world have some kind of government fund that helps finance movies. Canada just announced that 50% of the funds will go to women. We have to create a similar program to increase the number of women coming into the field.


  • Agents don’t like to represent women because it’s a lot of work and very little in return. When women will start to work more, and earn, more agent will want to jump aboard.


  • The DGA needs to do a bit more for their women. I know they are dealing with mostly male membership, but women were underemployed for so long that it’s time to throw some money at the problem.

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