Extensive Study Shows Deep-Rooted Bias Against Female Directors in Mainstream Cinema

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A three-year study of the film industry has statistically reaffirmed that the lack of female-directed films comes from deep-rooted sexism. The study, which was commissioned by the Sundance Institute and Women in Film, surveyed 59 filmmakers, film buyers, and film sellers (39 men and 20 women) to gauge industry attitudes, and examined distribution deals and results for films coming out of Sundance over a 12-year period. Among the results of the study, nearly half of the respondents believe that female-directed films appeal to smaller audiences than those directed by men. Twelve percent of respondents believe that women “can’t handle” certain types of films or aspects of production, such as commanding a large crew.

Cathy Schulman, president of Women in Film Los Angeles remarked about the study:

Having completed this three-year study, we have accomplished a thorough analysis of this issue and now know that female filmmakers face deep-rooted presumptions from the film industry about their creative qualifications, sensibilities, tendencies and ambitions… Now we need to move a heavy boat through deep waters, and WIF is committed to year-round action until sustainable gender parity is achieved.