Director Gap: Part 3

Source: New York Times

NYTimes dargis article

LIGHTS, CAMERA, TAKING ACTION

On Many Fronts, Women Are Fighting for Better Opportunity in Hollywood

The American movie mainstream needs a revolution — and if some women have their way, it just might get one. It’s time. Not because Ava DuVernay wasn’t tapped as a best director in the recent Academy Award nominations, even though her acclaimed movie “Selma” received a best picture nod. There has been a lot of speculation about the snub, but the reasons are less crucial than the message that the largely white, male directors in the Academy sent: This woman doesn’t deserve credit for her own movie. Women in film are routinely denied jobs, credits, prizes and equal pay, so the rebuke was familiar. That’s because while individual men struggle in the industry, women struggle as a group

…Some of these activists, like Geena Davis, are focusing on female representation in the media; others, like Maria Giese, a member of the Directors Guild of America, are going after their own organization. Gamechanger Films is practicing checkbook activism by funding female directors. The Sundance Institute and the advocacy group Women in Film have commissioned an important study for which researchers like Stacy L. Smith are crunching the numbers. Consider some recent findings: Only 4.4 percent of the top 100 box-office domestic releases between 2002 and 2012 were directed by women. In 2012, only 28.4 percent of all on-screen speaking characters in the top 100 were women. If you thought women in movies don’t have much of a voice, you’re right.

American commercial cinema has long been dominated by men, but I don’t think there has ever been another time when women have been as underrepresented on screen as they are now. The biggest problem isn’t genuinely independent cinema, where lower budgets mean more opportunities for women in front of and behind the camera. The problem is the six major studios that dominate the box office, the entertainment chatter and the popular imagination. Their refusal to hire more female directors is immoral, maybe illegal, and has helped create and sustain a representational ghetto for women… (Complete article at the source.)

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