Berlin: European Study Finds "Significant Under-Representation of Female Directors"

Francine Raveney - H 2016
Courtesy of European Women’s Audiovisual Network

The report by the European Women's Audiovisual Network details challenges faced by female professionals.

Men in Europe's film industry continue to be much more likely to direct movies and receive public funding for their projects than their female colleagues, according to a new report from the European Women's Audiovisual Network (EWA).

The seven-country report, due to be made public on Saturday in Berlin, finds "significant under-representation of female directors in all stages of the production and distribution process." It used figures drawn from sources in the U.K., Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, Austria and Croatia and quantitative and qualitative research with around 1,000 industry professionals across Europe.

The report, carried out with the backing of universities and national film centers across Europe, found that only one in five films is directed by a woman (21 percent) and that the vast majority of public funding resources (84 percent) go into films directed by men.

In comparison, the Berlinale's competition this year features 18 films, including two from female directors, or 11.1 percent. The competition titles from women are 24 Weeks (24 Wochen) from German director Anne Zohra Berrached and Things to Come (L’avenir) by French director Mia Hansen-Love.

Last year, the three films by women directors competing for the Golden Bear amounted to 15.8 percent of the 19 total titles in competition.

A recent study on women working in the U.S. film industry, by the Center for the Study of Women in Film and Television at San Diego State University, found that just 19 percent of the filmmakers working behind the screen on the top 250 domestic-grossing movies" were directors, writers, producers, editors and cinematographers. Women fared best as producers (26 percent) and editors (22 percent). Only 9 percent were directors, the study found.

The new EWA report highlights a big fall-off in the number of female film school graduates who go on to actually work in the industry (44 percent) and direct (just 24 percent). It also finds that "in spite of the unbalanced marketplace, female-directed films are 10 percent more likely to participate in a film festival and 6 percent more likely to win an award than a male-directed film."

The study reveals that leading national institutions are failing to keep comprehensive statistics on gender equality despite a raft of European declarations and commitments.

"Above and beyond the injustice - that there are many, many talented women directors in Europe who are simply not getting their films made - this study shows what we, as audiences, are missing out on from a lack of diversity of content," Francine Raveney, who is stepping down as EWA's director after three years, tells The Hollywood Reporter. "If we don't see films by a wide range of directors, women, minorities, people from poor socio-economic backgrounds, film is the poorer for it."