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Image / Editorial

Despite Recent Success, Female Directors In Hollywood Still Struggling


By Jeanne Sutton
13th Jan 2016

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Sam Taylor-Johnson attends the UK Premiere of "Fifty Shades Of Grey" at Odeon Leicester Square on February 12, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

Despite Recent Success, Female Directors In Hollywood Still Struggling

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12: Sam Taylor-Johnson attends the UK Premiere of "Fifty Shades Of Grey" at Odeon Leicester Square on February 12, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Gavan/Getty Images)

2015 saw women directors in Hollywood make film history strides. Sam Taylor-Johnson dominated thinkpieces as she brought the Fifty Shades phenomenon to the big screen. Taylor-Johnson scored the biggest opening ever for a female director with the erotic drama. Elizabeth Banks? made her directorial debut with the smash hit sequel Pitch Perfect 2. Ana Lily Amirpour astounded arthouse audiences with A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night

In recent days, the Center for the?Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University released a report, nicknamed ?The Celluloid Ceiling?, which shows female directors haven’t made as much of an impact on the box office as the headlines would suggest. In fact, just 9% of directors of the 250 highest grossing movies last year were women, Variety reports. Of the 500 highest grossing movies, women amounted 12%. That’s a 2% increase from 2014. Progress? Yes, but not the leaps and bounds we need in the industry. You see, these numbers aren’t a stride at all. In 1998 the figures were the same. That’s nearly 20 years ago. The good times peaked in 2000 when women directors comprised 11% of the top 250.

Ava DuVernay, Elizabeth Banks and Sofia Coppola,
Ava DuVernay, Elizabeth Banks and Sofia Coppola,

Dr. Martha Lauzen, who co-wrote the report and is the executive director of the center, admits this data doesn’t indicate an impending gender revolution when it comes to correcting the behind-the-camera disparity. Then again, Lauzen cautions, “It would be unrealistic to expect that attitudes about women directors to change over night.”

While we understand change can take time, it’s a bit difficult to expect women to wait around for opportunities. Especially when the wealth of talent out there ?is astounding. Sofia Coppola reigns as one of the few filmmakers in the past decade you can say is truly carving out an iconic aesthetic. Catherine Hardwicke was the woman who brought Twilight and its distinctive look to the masses before being replaced for the rest of the franchise. Ava DuVernay’s work on Selma was so important, Mattel made a Barbie doll of her.

In fact, Vulture made a list of 100 women directors out there right now who studios should be hiring. Hollywood, FYI here’s that list in its inspiring entirety.

Via Variety