Sundance: Despite Strong Showing This Year, Women Still Behind Men In Indie Film, Study Says

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Sundance: Despite Strong Showing This Year, Women Still Behind Men In Indie Film, Study Says
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Sundance: Despite Strong Showing This Year, Women Still Behind Men In Indie Film, Study Says

Women have made up 29.8% of all the filmmakers at the Sundance Film Festival over the last decade, a new study released today reveals. The report, Exploring the Barriers and Opportunities For Independent Women Filmmakers, comes in a year that sees for the first time female-helmed films making up half of the titles in the festival’s U.S. Dramatic competition. The Sundance Institute and Women in Film Los Angeles commissioned the study and looked at the gender of 11,197 producers, directors, writers, editors and cinematographers in 820 American movies programmed for Sundance from 2002-2012. While the Sundance data remains mostly flat, the report shows a stark contrast for women in the indie world and the studio world: The study finds female filmmakers made up 23.9% of directors in all categories at Sundance from 2002-2012, but just 4.4% among the top 100 box office movies over the same time frame. The study says that “gendered financial barriers” and “male-dominated industry networking” are seen as the two top reasons why women’s growth in the industry is stunted.

The Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at USC conducted the research.

Behind the camera, women are most likely to be producers of indie films, the study says, though they are losing traction there. “As the prestige of the producing post increased, the percentage of female participation decreased. This trend was observed in both narrative and documentary filmmaking. Fewer than one third of all narrative producers but just over 40% of associate producers were female. In documentaries, 42.5% of producers and 59.5% of associate producers were female,” the report read. In documentary filmmaking, women made up 34.5% of the directors in the competition category between 2002-2012, Exploring the Barriers says; female filmmakers directed or co-directed eight of the 16 films in this year’s U.S. Documentary competition lineup.

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