Sundance: The Rise Of Women Directors

The Sundance Film Festival came to a close today in Park City, Utah. And although I was unable to be there this year, I have been keeping tabs on the happenings there and have come across some very exciting news that I just had to share with you all.

For the first time in Sundance history, the film festival has an equal number of women directors as it has men directors for its “in competition” films! That’s 8 of the 16 films from women directors — with more than a dozen other women directors in other sections of the festival.

What a contrast to the Cannes Film Festival last year!

In a Sundance Report article by Sharon Waxman, she says, “After so many years of debate over the reason for the lack of women directors, it is hard to know if this year marks a watershed of change or represents a welcome one-time bump. Either way, the directors themselves believe it represents a significant step toward greater balance.”

Sundance Report logo

And Lucas Shaw’s later Sundance Report article adds that, “According to a new study commissioned by the Sundance Institute and Women in Film Los Angeles, women have made huge strides behind the camera, directing 24 percent of the films at Sundance between 2002 and 2012.”

So it sounds like the Sundance Film Festival has really been at the forefront of strides made by women directors and filmmakers in this industry. What an encouraging thing to hear!

Now if only the rest of the festivals and the studios and, hell, rest of the industry would jump on board as well. Despite the growing presence of female filmmakers at Sundance, women directed only 4.4% of the top 100 films at the box office from 2002 to 2012.

But we’re making progress, and it’s getting better every day as more and more women are creating truly amazing content and fighting to make a name for themselves. And as president of Women in Film L.A Cathy Schulman put it, “We need to focus less on what opportunities need to be given to women and more on what women can do to get the opportunities.”

So ladies, if you’re a filmmaker and you’re reading this, then get out there and make some more opportunities for yourselves! Don’t be afraid to challenge the status quo, ask for more money, and take the male-dominated barriers head on. I plan to do the same. Let’s go get em!

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