Indiewire's Thompson on Hollywood founder, Anne Thompson moderated a women's director panel at Sundance, and a video of the discussion was released earlier this week by SundanceNOW's Doc Club. Joining Thompson on stage were filmmakers Lucy Walker (The Crash Reel), Rory Kennedy (Last Days in Vietnam), Shola Lynch (Free Angela and All Political Prisoners), and Chicken and Egg co-founder Judith Helfand (director of Cooked.)
Thom Powers introduced the panel, saying, "We can't ignore the gender gap [in directing] still exists. The down side is the risk of being reductive. Onstage we have four great directors, period. Being a woman is one factor in their life, [and] there's many aspects of their background that they bring to their choices. I never see a panel of male directors being asked what it's like to be a man and a director and a husband and how it influences them."
The panel focused on women filmmakers in the documentary genre. Walker refuted the idea that the nonfiction film world has been eradicated of sexism: "Some people say 'documentary and women' is fine. It is a bit better than fiction film and you could say that for lots of reasons. There's a lot of people not getting paid [but] working really hard [audience laughs] on causes that they're really passionate about." Walker continued that gender disparities still exist at the "award level" and in terms of the unequal wages male and female documentarians receive for their work.
Watch the Spotlight on Women Directors panel below: