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Film Industry's Gender Inequality Targeted by Sundance Institute and Women In Film's Research

by Sophia Savage
January 21, 2013 1:47 PM
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"Middle of Nowhere."
"Middle of Nowhere."

The results of a first-of-its-kind study on gender disparity in independent film, conducted by the Sundance Institite and Women In Film Los Angeles, were shared today with a group of industry leaders at the Park City festival. The study was conducted by Stacy L. Smith, Ph.D., Katherine Pieper, Ph.D. and Marc Choueiti at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, University of Southern California.

Sundance's Keri Putnam states: "The results of this research are encouraging, and we hope they will highlight the barriers and opportunities facing women behind the camera."

Women In Film's Cathy Schulman adds that the data "shows us that there is a higher representation of female filmmakers in independent film as compared to Hollywood – but it also highlights the work that is still to be done for women to achieve equal footing in the field.”

Specific problems identified in the study as detrimental to women's career development in film include: gendered financial barriers, male-dominated industry networking and stereotyping on set. Consider the findings below:

The research was conducted with a two-prong approach. First, it quantitatively assessed the gender of 11,197 directors, writers, producers, cinematographers and editors in U.S. movies programmed for the Sundance Film Festival between 2002 and 2012 to identify the prevalence of female filmmakers. Second, researchers documented the qualitative experiences of female filmmakers through interviews with filmmakers and film industry representatives.

- Of U.S. films selected for the Sundance Film Festival from 2002-2012, 29.8% of filmmakers (directors, writers, producers, cinematographers and editors) were female.


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