2016-17 Women in Independent Film Report

Key Findings

  • High-profile film festivals in the U.S. screened three times as many narrative films directed by men as by women in 2016-17. The 23 festivals considered in this study screened an average of 6 narrative films directed by at least one woman compared with an average of 18 features directed by men.
  • U.S. festivals screened almost twice as many documentaries directed by men as by women in 2016-17. The festivals in this study screened an average of 7 documentaries directed by at least one woman compared with an average of 13 directed by men.
  • Overall, independent films screened at high-profile film festivals in the U.S. employed more than twice as many men as women in key behind-the-scenes roles in 2016-17. 72% of those working in these roles were males and 28% were females. This represents a recent historical high. It is an increase of 3 percentage points from 25% in 2015-16, and an increase of 4 percentage points from 24% in 2008-09.
  • Womenโ€™s representation as directors on independent films screening at the festivals considered increased slightly from 28% in 2015-16 to 29% in 2016-17. This is an increase of 7 percentage points from 2008-09.
  • Women continue to enjoy higher employment on documentaries than on narrative features. Women accounted for 31% of individuals working on documentaries versus 26% of those working on narrative features.
  • Women are more likely to direct documentaries than narrative features. Women accounted for 33% of directors on documentaries versus 25% of directors on narrative features.
  • Films with at least one woman director also had substantially higher percentages of women writers, editors, and cinematographers. On films with at least one female director, women comprised 74% of writers vs. 7% on films directed exclusively by men. On films with women directors, women accounted for 36% of editors compared with 17% on films directed exclusively by men. On films with women directors, women comprised 23% of cinematographers versus 6% on films directed exclusively by men.

READ THE WHOLE REPORT: 2016-17 Women in Independent Film Report