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Women Make Movies


Women Make Movies was founded more than 30 years ago to address the under-representation and misrepresentation of women in media. According to the latest industry statistics, the fight goes on! Below are a few startling facts about the status of women in the industry, some heartening information from Women Make Movies, plus links to other great resources for the latest statistics, articles and opinions about women in the industry.

Film & Entertainment Industry Facts
Facts About Women Make Movies
Other Online Resources and Links

Film & Entertainment Industry Facts

  • In 2012, women comprised 18% of all directors, executive producers, producers, writers, cinematographers, and editors working on the top 250 domestic grossing films. This represents an increase of 2 percentage points from 2010 and an increase of 1 percentage point from 1998.
    - Celluloid Ceiling 2012 Report

  • Women accounted for 15% of writers, 17% of executive producers, 20% of editors, 4% of cinematographers, and 25% of producers working on the top 250 domestic grossing films of 2011. - Celluloid Ceiling 2012 Report

  • Women accounted for 9% of directors working on the top 250 films in 2012, an increase in 4 percentage points from 2011 but even with the percentage of women directors working in 1998. - Celluloid Ceiling 2012 Report

  • 38% of films employed 0 or 1 woman in the roles considered, 23% employed 2 women, 28% employed 3 to 5 women, and 10% employed 6 to 9 women. - Celluloid Ceiling 2012 Report

  • In the top 250 films of 2012, women represented: writers (15%), executive producers/producers (17%/25%), editors (20%), and cinematographers (2%). - Celluloid Ceiling 2012 Report

  • A historical comparison of women’s employment on the top 250 films in 2012 and 1998 reveals that the percentages of women directors and editors have not changed. The percentages of women writers and producers have increased slightly. The percentages of women executive producers and cinematographers have declined. - Celluloid Ceiling 2012 Report

  • Women were most likely to work in the documentary, drama, and animated film genres. They were least likely to work in the action, horror and sci-fi genres. - Celluloid Ceiling 2012 Report

  • Only 11% of all clearly identifiable protagonists are female, 78% are male. - It’s a Man’s (Celluloid) World

  • In Academy Award history, four female filmmakers have been nominated for best director (Lina Wertmuller-1977, Jane Campion-1994, and Sofia Coppola-2004, Kathryn Bigelow - 2010), but only Kathryn has won.
    - Women's E-News

  • In 2013, during the 85th Academy Awards, across 19 categories 140 men were nominated for awards versus 35 women. There were no female nominees for Directing, Cinematography, Film Editing, Writing (Original Screenplay), or Music (Original Score). - Women's Media Center

  • 9 percent of the top 250 movies at the domestic box office last year were made by female directors. That’s substantially higher than the 2011 figure of 5 percent. - NY Times Report

  • Things are not moving in the right direction for women onscreen.  The numbers are stuck at around 30%, yet remember, women buy 50% of the tickets.  The numbers continue to show that Hollywood doesn't care enough about women.  They believe that sexualizing girls and women sells tickets. - Indiewire

  • Women support women. Films directed by women feature more women in all roles. There is a 21% increase in women working on a narrative film when there is a female director and a 24% of women working on documentaries. - Indiewire

  • Females direct more documentaries than narrative films – 34.5% vs 16.9%.  - Indiewire

  • In films with at least one woman director and/or writer, females comprised 37% of all speaking characters.  In films with exclusively male directors and writers, females accounted for 28% of all speaking characters. - It's a Man's (Celluloid) World

  • Only 12% of all clearly identifiable protagonists were female in 2014. This represents a decrease of 3 percentage points from 2013 and a decrease of 4 percentage points from 2002. In 2014, 75% of protagonists were male, and 13% were male/female ensembles. - It's a Man's (Celluloid) World

  • In 2014, females accounted for 30% of all speaking characters (includes major and minor characters) in 2014, even with the figure from 2013, but up 2 percentage points from 2002. - It's a Man's (Celluloid) World

  • Top male critics wrote 82% of film reviews featured on Rotten Tomatoes during a two-month period, with top female critics accounting for less than 20%. - The Wrap


Facts About Women Make Movies

  • WMM has more than 500 films in its collection, representing more than 400 filmmakers from nearly 30 countries around the globe.

  • In the last decade, WMM has worked with dozens of local women’s organizations in Asia, Latin America and the Middle East to support new International Women’s Film Festivals.
  • Projects that WMM has supported and distributed have been nominated for and won all of the most prestigious media awards, including the Academy Award, Emmy Award, Peabody Award, and the duPont-Columbia University Broadcast Award, among others.
  • WMM now sponsors more than 200 projects in its renowned Production Assistance Program, and has helped filmmakers raise close to $4 million in funding over the last 5 years.
  • WMM has returned more than $1.5 million in royalties to women filmmakers over the last three years.
  • WMM serves as an advisor to pioneering projects around the world including: the Gender Montage Project which trains filmmakers in the former Soviet Republics; and a groundbreaking program developed to promote filmmaking in Iraq.
  • WMM films have been aired by major broadcasters around the world, including HBO/Cinemax, PBS, Sundance Channel, IFC and international broadcasters such as ZDF, Arte, KBS Korea and TV Globo Brazil.


Other Online Resources and Links

New York Women in Film and Television’s Resource List
NYWIFT’s list of resources that document the status of women in the industry. Contains articles, statistics and links to important reports on the subject.

Professional Organization of Women in Entertainment Reaching UP!
POWER UP works to promote the visibility and integration of gay women in the arts and all forms of media. POWER UP runs a workshop series as well as providing grants to filmmakers.

Women's Study Section
A compilation of research from the Association of College and Research Libraries provides links to information concerning women in film. There are general sites, directories, criticisms, reviews, and organizations which give links to substantive information regarding women in film.

The Guerrilla Girls
The Guerrilla Girls are a group of women artists, writers, performers, film makers and arts professionals who fight discrimination. They produce art posters, printed projects, and actions that expose sexism and racism in the art world and culture at large.

"The Woman Behind the Camera" Ann Lewinson www.independent.jknet.hk/AnnLewinson.htm
This article talks about the biases society imposes on women thus limiting their career in the film industry. Early NYU film students were told that women could not make feature films. These confessions along with chilling statistics from the Celluloid Ceiling tell the current status of women behind the camera.

The World’s Women On-Line!
The World's Women On-Line! is an electronic art networking project originally established to be presented at the United Nations Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China in 1995. Utilizing the Internet as a global exhibition format, this site focuses attention on the challenge of bringing the vast resource of women's experience and culture into the rapidly developing field of information technology. The World's Women On-Line! demonstrates the professionalism and achievement of women artists internationally; bridges language barriers through art imagery; and promotes the interdisciplinary collaboration between technologists and artists.

"Status of Contemporary Women Filmmakers" Dr. Katrien Jacobs www.libidot.org/v2/articles/womenfilm-print.html
This article gives an in-depth analysis of international filmmaking and the ideologies that restrict women filmmakers. The effects of globalization and American corporations have made the emergence of women into the industry more difficult. Yet, there are still companies that are prevailing including WMM. There are some great quotes and analysis of current trends and how they will affect the woman filmmaker.

University of Berkeley
University of Berkeley’s bibliography of books and articles concerning women in the industry.

“Interviewer Interviewed: A Discussion with Trihn Minh-ha” pages.emerson.edu/organizations/fas/latent_image/issues/1993-12/trihn.htm
Acclaimed filmmaker and professor Trihn Minh-ha reflects on the independent filmmaking process, compares and contrasts filmmaking and writing, and discusses feminism, the art of balancing scholarship with creativity, and how she defines the ‘political’ in an interview with Tina Spangler from Emerson College.

“Listen to You Own Voice! An interview with Native American independent filmmaker, Sandra Osawa
Victor Payan chats with documentary filmmaker Sandra Osawa about her influences, film school, the documentary process, opportunities for Native American filmmakers, and how she navigated through a male dominated industry. 

n.paradoxa - International Feminist Art Journal
Founded in 1998, n.paradoxa publishes scholarly and critical articles written by women critics, art historians and artists on the work of contemporary women artists post-1970 (visual arts only) working anywhere in the world. Each thematic volume in print contains artists and authors from more than 10 countries in the world and explores their work in relation to feminist theory.

WomenArts works to empower an international community of women artists and allies by sharing news about inspiring arts projects and funding opportunities, and by facilitating the annual world-wide Support Women Artists Now (SWAN) celebrations in March and April.

Geena Davis Institute on Gender in the Media
The Institute is uniquely positioned to spotlight gender inequalities at every media and entertainment company through cutting-edge research, education, training, strategic guidance and advocacy programs. Our mission is to work within the entertainment industry to dramatically alter how girls and women are reflected in media.

Women's Media Center
Women’s Media Center produces original features on important issues by women experts and journalists. Reports and commentaries provide progressive women’s perspectives on both headline stories and timely events ignored or misrepresented in the mainstream media.

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Women Make Movies is a multicultural, multiracial, non-profit media arts organization which facilitates the production, promotion, distribution, and exhibition of independent films and videotapes by and about women. contact us