Women and Sundance: A New Study's Surprising Findings

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Park City, Utah

Documentaries are where the jobs are, according to a breakthrough report by WIF and the Sundance Institute.

This story first appeared in the June 21 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

Women directed a dismal 4.4 percent of the decade's 100 top box-office grossers. But fans of indie cinema (and of women) got better news in a 2013 report by the Sundance Institute and Women in Film.

The first-of-its-kind study found that female directors were five times likelier to make it into the Sundance Film Festival than onto Hollywood's top-grosser list. And documentaries offered them the best opportunities. Among all Sundance filmmakers (11,197 directors, writers, producers, cinematographers and editors from 2002 to 2012), nearly 40 percent of those who made docs were women, versus only about a quarter of those who made narrative films.

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The bad news? Women are more welcome at the low end of the indie hierarchy.

"Women congregate in the positions with the least power," the study concludes. To remedy that, Women in Film has created a mentoring program that matches 17 Sundance Institute-supported female directors and producers with leaders in the field.