Fewer Female Directors Worked on Top Films in 2011

10:37 AM PST 01/24/2012 by Rebecca Ford
Peggy Sirota

Women comprised only 5 percent of directors on the 250 highest-grossing movies last year, according to a study by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film.

With strong female casts such as Bridesmaids and The Help making waves in the awards race, it seems as if it has been the year of the woman in front of the camera.

However, behind the camera, women are still lagging far behind men in work in the film business. According to a study by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University, women made up 18 percent of all directors, producers, writers, cinematographers and editors working on the top 250 highest-grossing movies last year. That represents a 2 percent bump from 2010.

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Only 5 percent of directors were women. That’s a decrease of 2 percentage points from 2010 and approximately half the percentage of women directors working in 1998. THR featured two of 2011’s female directors  -- first time director Angelina Jolie and Kung Fu Panda 2 director Jennifer Yuh Nelson -- on its cover in December. While neither of them would label herself an activist for female causes per se, the questions why there aren't more women directors -- only 13.4 percent of the DGA's director members are female.

“I don't think about the gender thing very much. But when I speak at schools, I've had female students say to me afterwards, ‘I never envisioned myself being a director, since I've never seen women do it.’ But after seeing me, they can picture themselves directing, so maybe we'll see more female directors. And half of these kids in art and animation schools are girls,” Nelson told THR.

As for the other jobs on set, women comprised 25 percent of producers, 14 percent of writers, 20 percent of editors, 18 percent of executive producers and 4 percent of cinematographers.

Women were most likely to work in the documentary, drama, and comedy genres. They were least likely to work in the horror, action, and animated genres.

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