A drop in female directors

A study has found that the number of female directors in the list of the top 250 highest-grossing films in the US has declined by 2% over the last 17 years. Dr. Martha Lauzen, the author of the study at San Diego State University, said that “it’s remarkable that we’re still at 1998 levels – whatever is being done to address this problem is not working and we need to look for industry-wide solutions.”

Women only accounted for 7% of directors in the top 250 list for 2014, with only one in the top 100 – that was Angelina Jolie for her prisoner-of-war film Unbroken. The figures are even more damning when it comes to music and sound departments: only 1% of film composers were women, and only 5% of sound designers.

Nearly a quarter of film producers were women though, along with nearly a fifth of editors – though these figures, along with those for writers (11%), also fell since 1998. In TV, the picture was more equal, though still miles off parity – women accounted for 28% of showrunners, producers, directors, writers, editors, and directors of photography on shows aired in the 2012-2013 season.

Hollywood does have a handful of high-profile female directing successes. One of this year’s Oscar favourites, Selma, was directed by Ava DuVernay, and a host of critical hits in 2014 had women at the helm, including Obvious Child, The Babadook, Belle, and Edward Snowden documentary Citizenfour. One of 2016’s most anticipated blockbusters, Wonder Woman, is appropriately going to be directed by Michelle MacLaren, who cut her teeth on Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones.

Kathryn Bigelow edged into the macho world of action with Point Break and K-19: The Widowmaker, before brilliantly tackling the ‘war on terror’ in The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty, the former making her the first female recipient of a best director Oscar. But as Lauzen says, “everyone started talking about a ‘Bigelow effect’ that might radiate out and lift the careers of other women directors. I don’t think we ever actually saw that happen.”

These are unprecedented times, and the role of media to tell and record the story of South Africa as it develops is more important than ever. But it comes at a cost. Advertisers are cancelling campaigns, and our live events have come to an abrupt halt. Our income has been slashed.

The Mail & Guardian is a proud news publisher with roots stretching back 35 years. We’ve survived thanks to the support of our readers, we will need you to help us get through this.

To help us ensure another 35 future years of fiercely independent journalism, please subscribe.


Safety at schools: ‘Keep your distance and your pen’

The department of basic education has developed guidelines to assist schools with minimising the spread of the coronavirus

‘Soon he’ll be seen as threatening, not cute’: What it’s...

There is no separating George Floyd’s killing from the struggles black people have faced ever since the first slave ships landed on these shores

How schools could work during Covid

Ahead of their opening, the basic education department has given schools three models to consider to ensure physical distancing

Press Releases

Mining company uses rich seam of technology to gear up for Covid-19

Itec Direct technology provides instant temperature screening of staff returniing to the workplace with no human contact

Covid-19 and Back to School Webinar

If our educators can take care of themselves, they can take care of the children they teach

5G technology is the future

Besides a healthcare problem Covid-19 is also a data issue and 5G technology, with its lightning speed, can help to curb its spread

JTI off to court for tobacco ban: Government not listening to industry or consumers

The tobacco ban places 109 000 jobs and 179 000 wholesalers and retailers at risk — including the livelihood of emerging farmers

Holistic Financial Planning for Professionals Webinar

Our lives are constantly in flux, so it makes sense that your financial planning must be reviewed frequently — preferably on an annual basis

Undeterred by Covid-19 pandemic, China and Africa hold hands, building a community of a shared future for mankind

It is clear that building a community with a shared future for all mankind has become a more pressing task than ever before

Wills, Estate Administration and Succession Planning Webinar

Capital Legacy has had no slowdown in lockdown regarding turnaround with clients, in storing or retrieving wills and in answering their questions

Call for Expression of Interest: Training supply and needs assessment to support the energy transition in South Africa

GIZ invites eligible and professional companies with local presence in South Africa to participate in this tender to support the energy transition

The best local and international journalism

handpicked and in your inbox every weekday