Where are the women directors in European films?
Conference on EWA study findings and best practice recommendations
Berlin, 13th February 2016.
EWA’s report is the result of a two-year study and statistics-gathering exercise. The evidence is now on the table for measures to change the situation for women and to realise female directors’ full artistic and market potential. EWA urges policy makers at national and regional level to take the urgently needed and long overdue steps to bring inclusiveness and balance back to our screens.
A ground-breaking report on gender equality produced by the European Women’s Audiovisual Network (EWA) reveals what has long been suspected: that industry structures fail to sustain female directors’ careers. The talent exists. Yet women’s creative potential and perspective is not reaching Europe’s audiences.
Our research across seven countries also reveals that leading national institutions are not keeping comprehensive statistics to inform policy change – this in spite of national and regional commitments to gender equality, and a general recognition, confirmed by EWA’s pan-European questionnaire, that gender inequality exists.
EWA’s seven-country study finds significant under-representation of female directors in all stages of the production and distribution process:
- There is a significant fall-off in the proportion of women graduating from film schools and entering the film industry (44%) and the overall proportion of female directors working in the industry (24%)
- Only one in five films is directed by a woman (21%) with significative differences among the countries involved.
- The vast majority of public funding resources (84%) go into films that are directed by men.
In spite of the unbalanced marketplace, EWA’s report also shows that in 2013 female-directed films are 10% more likely to participate in a film festival and 6% more likely to win an award than a male-directed film.
Panel debate –What changes are needed at pan-European level to sustain women directors in today’s industry? moderated by Kate Kinnimont, with Francine Raveney (EWA Network), Isabel Castro (Eurimages) and Pauline Durand-VIalle (FERA)
In recent years there has been outrage at the lack of female directors represented at the Cannes Film Festival and the Oscars. EWA’s report now provides the evidence needed to advance structural change. Through fifteen recommendations EWA calls for affirmative action, including targets:
- To address the under-representation of female directors in educational programmes;
- To equalise the distribution of public funds;To achieve equal representation and greater awareness on commissioning boards;
- To incentivise producers to support female directors;
- To provide much greater support and a targeted strategy for publicity, advertising and distribution;
- To maintain and monitor the necessary statistics.
Findings and best practice recommendations. Moderated by K.Kinnimont with Holly Aylett, Beryl Richards, Nicole Ackermann, Elizabeth Prommer and Esther Gronenborn
This research study was organised and managed by the European Women’s Audiovisual (EWA) Network with the support and collaboration of:
the Austrian Film Institute, the Croatian Audiovisual Centre, CNC (France), University of Rostock (Germany), Birkbeck (University of London), Centre d’histoire culturelle des sociétés contemporaines (CHCSC – Université de Versailles/Université Paris-Saclay), Direzione Generale Cinema/MIBACT (Italy), Swedish Film Institute, Creative Skillset (UK), the Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research, Sheffield Hallam University (UK) and the BFI (UK). It was prepared on the basis of detailed quantitative research and qualitative research involving approximately 1000 industry professionals from throughout Europe.
EWA Network is a pan-European members’ association which is striving for greater on and off-screen equality for women throughout the audiovisual sector. Its axes of work are: research, advocacy, training and outreach.