Epix to Air Docuseries About Film's Gender Bias From Alex Gibney's Jigsaw Productions

Stacy Smith Illo - H 2014
Illustration by: Alexandra Compain-Tissier

Stacy Smith Illo - H 2014

Film’s gender inequality issue is getting the documentary treatment.

Epix will air The 4%: Film’s Gender Problem, a series of six original short films that explore the issues around the current gender gap in Hollywood. The docuseries will premiere on International Women’s Day, March 8, and run throughout March, coinciding with Women’s History Month. The first short will be presented at the Sundance Film Festival’s 2016 Women at Sundance Brunch on Jan. 25.

Produced by Alex Gibney’s Jigsaw Productions (Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine), the series spotlights directors and creative personalities — including Judd Apatow, Jill Soloway and Kristen Wiig — who share first-person insights about the role of women in Hollywood.

Among the others who participated: Joe Arcidiacono, Lake Bell, Amy Berg, Patricia Clarkson, Toni Collette, Jonathan Dayton, Julie Delpy, Valerie Faris, Paul Feig, America Ferrera, James Franco, Donna Gigliotti, Geoffrey Gilmore, Debra Granik, Catherine Hardwicke, Mary Harron, Amy Heckerling, Dawn Hudson, Anjelica Huston, Vicky Jenson, Sam Taylor-Johnson, Rebecca Keegan, Jon Kilik, Ellen Kuras, Mimi Leder, Franklin Leonard, Tina Mabry, Victoria Mahoney, Michael Mann, Lori McCreary, Mo’Nique, Michael Moore, Rachel Morrison, Mira Nair, Amanda Peet, Kimberly Peirce, Keri Putnam, Pamela Romanowsky, Cathy Schulman, A.O. Scott, Melissa Silverstein, Dr. Stacy L. Smith, Anne Sweeney, Anne Thompson, Rosemarie Troche, Christine Vachon and Mandy Walker.

The series is informed by research conducted by USC Annenberg’s Dr. Stacy L. Smith in conjunctions with Women in Film Los Angeles and the Sundance Institute. According to a multiyear study led by Dr. Smith conducted by the USC Annenberg Media, Diversity and Social Change Initiative, across 1,300 top-grossing films from 2002 to 2014, only 4.1 percent of all directors were female.

“Epic has supported Stacy’s research for years and these shorts offer a richer, more authentic portrayal about the role of women and girls in media today. Support for this project has also brought together the talented Alex Gibney, and a prestigious list of some of the most gifted artists and creatives from the worlds of entertainment and the arts. Our objective is to help provide a forum for the discussion of ideas and potential solutions, as we collectively work towards closing the gap that exists today,” said Mark S. Greenberg, Epix president and CEO. 

Dr. Smith added, “The series offers an opportunity for a national audience to hear from the entertainment industry directly about the issues women face both as filmmakers and in other creative roles. My research is clear: females face a very real fiscal cliff as they pursue work at the highest echelons of this industry. I am proud that my research is associated with a team and a network that cares about female filmmakers and creating systemic change.” 

The 4%: Film’s Gender Problem points to the fact there is an undeniably gaping disparity in Hollywood. It’s one that many — including those in Hollywood and at the ACLU and EEOC — believe needs to change. What better way to draw attention to the issue than to have some of the business' most recognizable voices come together in support of more diversity in making movies," said director Caroline Suh. "I’m very happy that the project found a partner in Jigsaw, a company known for its activism in exploring human rights violations and the abuse of power. Jigsaw is an amazing group of diverse yet like-minded people whom I’ve loved working with. Further pleased to be working with the support of Epix, led by Mark Greenberg, who has been committed to these issues for a long time.  There’s also a great team of executives and production people who have rallied around the cause."

The 4%: Film’s Gender Problem, which has the support of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and Meryl Streep, is executive produced Suh, Gibney, Stacey Offman, Laura Michalchyshyn, Lynne Kirby and Betsy West, Jocelyn Diaz, Ross Bernard and Jill Burkhart, with Erika Frankel serving as a producer.