EU Report: Women Direct Only 22% of Feature Films
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The European Audiovisual Observatory published a new report on the gender of directors and screenwriters in the European film and audiovisual fiction industry. In their results, women represent less than one in four film directors in Europe. The report provides an assessment of the gender imbalance between directors and screenwriters in Europe, covering both feature films (including animation) and audiovisual films and series (TV / VOD, without animation).

The analysis provides an overview of the gender of directors and screenwriters of European film and audiovisual fiction episodes, including information about film genres and content types. In addition, the gender-specific composition of director and script teams is examined and the proportion of films is determined by teams with a female majority.

For feature films, the analysis is based on data from LUMIERE of the European Audiovisual Observatory Database, which compiles annual admissions for motion pictures from various sources, including national film agencies. The sample includes European feature films that were produced between 2015 and 2018 and released in cinemas between 2015 and 2019. The audiovisual fiction series data was provided by Plurimedia and includes television films and fiction series of EU origin (including Great Britain) that were broadcast or made available between 2015 and 2018 on SVOD services or television channels across the EU.

Women are still the minority in directing and scripting film and fiction:

  • Women make up 22% of all directors of European feature films that are active between 2015 and 2018.
  • This gap is even more pronounced in audiovisual fiction, where women make up only 19% of directors. Instead, the female presence in the screenwriter category is higher, as women make up 25% of active professionals in feature films and 34% in audiovisual fiction.

  • Both film directors (28%) and screenwriters (30%) have a higher prevalence of female professionals in documentaries than in other film genres.

In two out of three cases, a screenwriter works in partnership with at least one other colleague (who is a man in 87% of cases):

  • Based on the data sample, women are more likely to work in teams with other people than men, a pattern that can be observed in all groups considered.
  • In the case of feature films that were written by at least one screenwriter, 67% were written together with another specialist. This is comparable to only 55% of the films that were co-written for the cinema by at least one male screenwriter.

  • In all the occupational groups considered, female specialists work proportionally more often than men in gender-specific teams.
  • On average, women in all groups were slightly less active than their male colleagues. For example, 91% of women directors made only one film, 86% for men.
  • For these reasons, the results, taking into account the proportion of women weighted by the total number of professionals (directors or screenwriters) for each film or episode, are lower than the proportion of active female professionals in each subgroup. However, there are significant differences between countries and occupational groups.

Only 18% of the feature films were made by directorial teams with a female majority:

  • Between 2015 and 2018, only 18% of the examined European feature films were made by a female team (i.e. by a majority of female professionals in the role of director). This number is lower for episodes of fiction series (14%). Among the screenwriters, the proportion of works by female teams is 17% for feature films and 21% for audiovisual fiction episodes.
  • Documentary is the film genre with the highest proportion of female team titles, with both directorial teams (25%) and screenwriters (25%) considered. In all groups, the proportion of work by predominantly female professional teams did not change significantly in the analyzed period.

The entire report can be viewed Here.

* In this context, “female” refers to feature films or audiovisual fiction episodes that are performed by a majority (≥ 60%) of the female professionals working in each role. Female team work can either be done by a single director / screenwriter; by several directors / screenwriters; by teams of directors / screenwriters of both genders with a female presence of at least 60%.

Source: European Audiovisual Observatory

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