Just 16% of films were directed by women last year, according to a report released this week by the Directors Guild of America (DGA). The new data analysis included 651 feature films released in America in 2017 and cast a wide net to ensure big budget studio and independent films featured in the report.
DGA President Thomas Schlamme says, “It’s outrageous that we’re once again seeing such a lack of opportunity for women and people of colour to direct feature films. Our new study shows that discriminatory practices are still rampant across every corner of the feature film business. These numbers hit home how the chips are stacked against women and people of colour. We dug into our proprietary data to see if we could isolate areas that were bright spots or especially problematic. But as we kept going, it became clear that no matter how you slice the 2017 numbers, the outcome is virtually the same. There is a misconception that things are better in the smaller, indie film world, but that’s simply not the case. From financing and hiring, to distribution and agent representation – every aspect of the entire system disadvantages women and people of colour. Change is long overdue. Inclusion is a fight we’ve been fighting with the industry for four decades now, and it’s been an uphill battle to get them to change their hiring practices. In our two most recent negotiations, we pushed for the industry to adopt the Rooney Rule into their hiring practices, but they wouldn’t budge on the issue. Neither will we — we are committed to keeping at this for as long as it takes.”
Breaking down the figures even further to include ethnicity, 10% of films with a box office taking of $250,000+ were directed by those from a diverse background which is down 3% from 2016. This amounted to 91% of directors being white for films which grossed $10m or more and 84% of those which took less than $10m. Of the 651 films included, in exact figures 577 were directed by men and just 114 by women. The total adds up to 691 as many films were helmed by more than one person.
Keep. It. Reel.