January 31, 2023


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Fewer minority and women-directed movies in 2022, study finds

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Hollywood hired fewer female filmmakers and directors from underrepresented communities to produce its biggest films in 2022, according to a new study by the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative.

The USC Annenberg report found that of the 111 directors hired to make the 100 top-grossing movies last year, only 9% were women. That was down from 12.7% in 2021. At the same time, the number of Black, Asian, Hispanic/Latino, and multiracial and multiracial filmmakers also decreased from 27.3% in 2021 to 20.7% in 2022. Women of color account for only 2.7% of directors of last year’s top 100 movies. The movie business, and especially the big studios that call the shots, are under pressure to give more opportunities to female artists and people of color in the wake of social justice and advocacy movements like #MeToo and #OscarsSoWhite.

Women’s employment in the film business was also the focus of a second study, called “The Celluloid Ceiling,” by Dr. Directed by Martha Lauzen. university This report not only focused on directors, but widened its lens to include other important roles such as cinematographers, editors and producers. It appears that only modest progress has been made since San Diego State University began examining the topic in 1998. Twenty-five years ago, 17% of the top 250 working directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors and cinematographers were women. American film. In 2022, women hold 24% of these positions. During that time, the number of female filmmakers went from 9% to 18%, the number of female cinematographers went from 4% to 7%, the number of female editors increased by percentage points to 21% in 2022. In other roles, women make up 19% of writers (compared to 13% in 1998), 25% of executive producers (compared to 18% in 1998), and 31% of producers (compared to 24% in 1998). Taken together, the two reports show how difficult it was to change the structure of an industry dominated by whites.

“Given the number of panels, research reports and hand-wringing devoted to this issue over the past two and a half decades, one would expect more significant gains,” Lauzen said in a statement. “It took more than two decades of advocacy efforts, research reports, and an EEOC investigation to double the percentage of female directors from 9% to 18%, and women are still dramatically underrepresented in those roles. One can only imagine that in other positions like cinematographer and editor. An equal amount of effort will be needed to increase the number of working women.”

In terms of filmmakers underrepresented in last year’s top films, 11 directors were Asian, five were multiracial/multiracial, four were black and three were Hispanic/Latino, according to a USC Annenberg study. The study states that this represents 3.8 white directors for every underrepresented director.

“Many people have traditions because they look back on the past and the year ahead,” Dr. Stacey L. said Smith, founder of the Inclusion Initiative “At the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, it seems our tradition is to lament how little things have changed for women and people of color behind the camera in popular film. We want to see a change not only in traditions, but also in hiring practices that marginalize women and people of color as directors.”

There were notable exceptions. Some of the best-reviewed films of the year, a group that includes Chinoni Chukwu’s “Til,” Gina Prince-Bythewood’s “The Woman King” and Maria Schrader’s “Said,” are directed by women. Another, Sarah Polley’s “Women Talking,” debuts in limited release in late 2022 and was not included in the USC Annenberg study. And black directors like Ryan Coogler (“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”) and Jordan Peele (“No”) made some of last year’s highest-grossing movies. The studies also focus on theatrical releases and don’t measure most movies made by companies like Netflix and Amazon.

A San Diego State University study found that films overseen by female directors tend to be more populated by female artisans and artists. In films with at least one female director, 53% of women are writers, 39% are editors, 19% are cinematographers, and 18% are composers. However, in films directed exclusively by men, women account for 12% of writers, 19% of editors, 4% of cinematographers and 6% of composers.

USC Annenberg has been tracking presentations behind the camera since 2007. Improvements have been made during that time. In 2007, only 2.7% of the top grossing films were by female filmmakers. This percentage has fluctuated, rising to 15% in 2020 and falling as low as 1.9% in 2013 and 2014. In 2007, only 12.5% ​​of filmmakers in major Hollywood productions were from underrepresented communities.

Among major distributors, Sony Pictures worked with five female directors in 2022, the most of any studio. After that there were two Universal Pictures. Lionsgate, Paramount Pictures, STX Entertainment, 20th Century and Walt Disney Studios have not hired any female filmmakers for 2022 releases, the USC Annenberg study says.

Universal Pictures was the top performer in hiring underrepresented directors in 2022, as five of its films were directed by non-white directors. This is followed closely by Disney whose four films are represented as follows. Lionsgate, STX and 20th Century Studios failed to work with an underrepresented director in 2022.

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