Berlin Film Festival Releases Gender Gap Figures

The Kindness of Strangers
Courtesy of the Berlin Film Festival

An extensive study into gender representation at the 2019 Berlin International Film Festival finds 37 percent of current films screening were directed by women.

The Berlinale has published a detailed gender evaluation study for this year's festival on its website, breaking down the gender gap between male and female filmmakers in the 400 titles represented at this year's event.

The study shows that, when it comes to directors, 191, or 45 percent, of the directors represented in films this year are women, and 52 percent men. For 13 titles, there was no relevant information provided.

Of the 265 current productions screening in Berlin this year, which excludes retrospectives and the like, 98, or 37 percent, were made exclusively by female directors; 146 exclusively or predominantly by male helmers (55.1 percent); nine films had directorial teams with equal gender ratios; 11 films had no information regarding gender; and there was one director-less film.

In Berlin's main competition section, the pics vying for the Golden and Silver Bears, 7 of 17, or 41.2 percent, were directed by women. While that might fall short of an ideal 50/50 ratio, it is a major improvement on Europe's two other big A-list festivals, Venice and Cannes. Last year, Cannes had just three female helmers in its 21-film competition lineup, and Venice's 20-film competition selection included only a single woman director, The Nightingale's Jennifer Kent.

Berlin's 48-page study, which can be downloaded here, also breaks down gender representation across production, screenwriting, cinematography and editing to try and provide a more complete picture of the festival's true gender gap.

The study was based both on official application forms and self-disclosure on the part of the filmmakers, who were also given the option not to disclose their gender information or to choose "non-binary" instead of male or female.