Most people, when pushed to name female filmmakers, would be stumped. They’d probably say Sofia Coppola, Kathryn Bigelow and hit a brick wall. A new campaign wants to redress the lack of female filmmakers at the top and bring more attention to the talented ones out there the majority of us just don’t know about. #52FilmsByWomen wants you, the average film fan, to watch one film directed by a woman a week for a year.
The campaign by Women In Film calls itself “a fun way to bring attention to the many talented female filmmakers around the world, and a great way to spark a creative and interactive conversation.” By pledging to watch one film by a woman a week for a year, those involved will have viewed 52 female-directed films and as a by-product have supported these directors.
“In our latest round of research, Exploring the Careers of Female Filmmakers: Phase III, we found that one of the barriers for female directors is a perceived scarcity of talent pool and experience,” the website states. “Many of those surveyed couldn’t name a female director. Can you believe that? There are over one thousand female directors on The Director List, 1300 female directors at the DGA and 45 who have helmed a $25 million movie in the last 13 years.”
If you look at this year’s BAFTA nominations for Best Director, announced this morning, you’ll see there’s a running trend. Steven Spielberg, Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Adam McKay, Ridley Scott, Todd Haynes: they’re all blokes. Sexism is deeply engrained in the film industry on so many levels that it’s difficult to pick it apart. But in 2015 the lack of minority filmmakers was being seriously questioned and heaps of stats were released to back up the disparity between the genders – male directors, for example, made up 93 per cent of the top 250 grossing films of the previous year. So take the step, sign the pledge, get watching and perhaps we can make sure it’s a different take this year.