Study: Women Better Represented In Indie Films Than Studio Productions

6:14 PM PST 01/21/2013 by Erik Hayden

The research, commissioned by the Sundance Institute and Women in Film Los Angeles, analyzed data culled from twelve years of films shown at the Sundance festival.

A new study analyzing twelve years of Sundance films has found that female directors are better represented in independent films shown at the festival than in studio productions.

From 2002 through 2012, nearly 24 percent of Sundance films were made by female directors, while only 4.4 percent of the top 100 grossing films at the box office were directed by women, the study found.

STORY: Study: On-Screen Gender Inequality Persists in Hollywood

“This 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," said Cathy Schulman, President of Women In Film Los Angeles, in a news release. 

The study was commissioned by the Sundance Institute and the non-profit Women in Film Los Angeles. Staff from USC's Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism conducted the research.

The research found that 29.8 percent of filmmakers of U.S. films at Sundance from 2002 to 2012 were female. And films with female directors were more likely to also have more female "writers, producers, cinematographers [and] editors" than films directed by men, the study noted. 

Keri Putnam, the executive director of the Sundance Institute, stated in the news release that she hopes the results of the study "will highlight the barriers and opportunities facing women behind the camera."

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