We are just sayin… A few fun facts about the few female filmmakers

February 28, 2012 | Comments (0) | | Category: Forward This On the Set Quote of the Month Video Spotlight

We are just sayin… A few fun facts about the few female filmmakers

Several years ago, I had the pleasure of working with young people who were interested in learning video and film production. It was through a contract with Douglas County Television where I got to make shows and create stories about kids and for kids.  My production partner at the time was a talented shooter / editor named Megan. Time and time again, we went into public schools – from elementary through high school – and had young girls express surprise when they saw a two-woman crew, with Megan operating the camera. They often said they didn’t know women did this job.

I wasn’t surprised that they were surprised: In the two-plus decades I’ve been working in production, I’ve only worked with ONE camera woman and (TWO) female editors.  Of course this isn’t Hollywood, but the Oscars last night were about Hollywood, so now feels like a good time to mull over a few facts:
(We’re not getting political.. just reporting the facts. No judgment here.)
–    Of all the movie directors in 2011, only 5% of them were women – a decrease from 2009 and 2010.
–    94% of the 2011 films had no female directors.
–    In 2011, women accounted for 5% of directors, a decrease of 2 percentage points from 2010 and approximately half the percentage of women directors working in 1998.
– In 84 years only 4 women have been nominated for best director. Only 1 has won.  (Kathryn Bigelow was the first woman in the 82-year history of the Oscars to earn Hollywood’s top prize for filmmakers.)

– “Documentary Short Subject” is one of three categories in which more women are nominated than men.

–    In summary, since 1998:
– the percentage of women directors has declined
– the percentages of women writers and producers have increased slightly
– the percentages of women executive producers, editors, and cinematographers     have remained the same
– In the category of art direction, women outnumber male nominees, one of only 3 categories where this is true.

Katie Couric, who has worked in front of and behind the camera, stated “I think too often….  we focus on leading ladies rather than the lack of ladies who lead. In 2011, women directed just 5% of the top grossing films, were just 18% of all executive producers and just 4% of all cinematographers.
“We need to foster the next generation of women leaders behind the camera, women like the late Laura Ziskin who scaled the studio walls like Spiderman (her film, by the way) and came in with guns blazing, action-film style.” (Read more at: www.missrepresentation.org/hollywood/women-and-film-katie-couric-and-others-reflect/ )
So.. who’s at fault? Nobody really. When you’re a little girl and you grow up seeing women in front of the camera and not behind it, it doesn’t occur to you that filmmaking is  a real career choice for females, aside from Penny Marshall.  Nonetheless, women have always been master agents of change. So come on ladies, start telling your stories on film.

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Good story. Well told.
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