New Gender Report from the SFI

The Money Issue. Gender Equality Report

The Swedish Film Institute report (available here) explores how finances and investments in the film industry are distributed, and how that translates when it comes to the working conditions for male and female film workers.

The report, as Anna Serner (CEO of SFI) says, "is part of our action plan for greater gender equality in the film industry. Our focus this time around is on financial gender equality. The industry needs to utilize the entire talent base if this ambition is to be achieved, something that applies to low-budget and high-budget films alike. We find fewer women both behind and in front of the camera the higher a film’s budget is."

Graphics and analysis belong to SFI

For a film to be made, the filmmakers need to fund their project; set a budget, attract financiers and gather a team.

What are the conditions like for men and women when it comes to producing film?

What are the budgets like for films made by men and women, and how do different financiers distribute their money in the projects?



A film’s funding comes from a wide range of different sources and financiers. In this analysis, each financier’s contribution is calculated proportionally to the film’s total budget and is shown as a percentage. The graph illustrates the average percentages based on all the films in the selection.

 Films by Budget Category

The films have been divided into three budget categories: low, medium and high. Low budget includes films with a production budget of under 20 million SEK (41 films in the selection). Medium budget films have a budget of 20–35 million SEK (35 films), and high budget in this section refers to films with a budget of over 35 million SEK (15 films).

The division between women and men in key roles is most equal in films with a low budget, and become more uneven the higher the budget a project has. There is an equal amount of female and male directors among the low-budget films. However, the share of female directors falls rapidly with higher budget catego­ries. Amongst high-budget film, only four of them are directed by women.

The number of female producers does however not decline as much as other key roles, when it comes to higher budget levels.

Detailed Study of Funding from Distributors and Private Invest

Distributors and private financiers are the funding sources that fluctuate the most between the genders. For all key functions (scriptwriter, director, producer and leading role), the average share is lower for women and higher for men.

When it comes to leading roles, films with a male lead receive a higher share from private investors (7%) than those with a female lead (2%), and films with a mixed lead have a figure in between these two. Distributors thus contribute with 60% higher funding to films with a male lead.

The funding shares based on key functions varies. There is however a clear tendency that film projects with a woman in a key role, whichever key role that might be, receive a lower share of the funding than projects involving a man.

Distribution and Cinema admissions

In this section distribution of Swedish feature-lenth fiction films is analysed, for a period of five years. The Production section establishes that women filmmakers and women actors primarily work on films with a medium or low budget. Few women work on films with a high budget. The vast majority of cinema-goers are attracted to higher-budget films. The figures below show average cinema admissions per film for films in different budget groups.

Cinema admissions are closely linked to the budget size. Films with a low budget have just under 40,000 admissions on average. The average for medium-sized budgets is 160,000. Films with a high budget have an average of 440,000 admissions.

Films with a man as director, producer or in the lead role all have broader distribution with a higher number of première screens compared to women in the same positions. Male lead roles in particular have far broader distribution and far more cinema admissions.

Films with a male director enjoy higher average admissions, but they also have a higher average budget. The distribution companies invest more in launching men’s films in purely monetary terms. This applies to director, scriptwriter, producer and lead role

Leading roles

During the period 2013-2017, there are more men in the lead role when looking at all Swedish feature-length fiction films released at Swedish cinemas. More women can be found in lead roles in films with funding from the Swedish Film Institute compared to films without funding.

The gender of the filmmaker influences the gender of the actor in the lead role. The majority of women scriptwriters’ film projects have a woman in the lead role. However, only 28% of the films have a female scriptwriter.

Most of the major roles, those with top billing, go to men. From 1950–2017, six out of ten top billings go to men. The proportion of women in top-billed roles has increased between the 1950s and the 2010s. In recent years, women have 44% of all top-billed roles.

Men in top-billed roles have considerably longer careers than women. Men can win major roles up to the age of around 50, while women get the largest propor­tion of their roles before the age of 40. Women have a six-year shorter career on average.


Graphics and analysis © to Swedish Film institute.