Women Filmmakers

VPoint TV celebrates International Women’s Day

Angelina Jolie, Sofia Coppola, Lena Dunham, these are just a few of the names that cropped up when we began discussing this year’s International Women’s Day, 8th March.

While we’ve been seeing more and more women in the spotlight recently, there are still huge gender equality issues in the film industry. Because of this, we wanted to highlight a few women filmmakers we think are awesome.

The first ever Academy Awards took place in 1929, yet it wasn’t until 2010 that Kathryn Bigelow became the first woman ever to receive an award for Best Director for her film The Hurt Locker [1]. To this day, she remains the only woman filmmaker ever to have won the award, though 4 others have been nominated since [2]. Astonishingly, this means the ratio of men to women who have won this award is 1 to 88. Although there are far fewer women filmmakers than men, in 2016, women directed only 7% of Hollywood’s top 250 grossing films [3].

Kathleen Kennedy, Film Producer and President of Lucas Film, was an obvious choice to look at, for Paul, our Creative Director. Often referred to as ‘The Queen of Hollywood’, she has been nominated for over 120 Academy Awards, has worked on over 60 films, and comes third only to Steven Spielberg and Stan Lee by way of domestic box office receipts. This is the woman who brought us E.T., Jurassic Park, The Color Purple, Schindler’s List and the last 3 Star Wars films, to name a few.

In the UK the story isn’t all that different; statistics released by the University of Southampton [4] revealed that in 2015, only 20% of Directors, Writers, Producers, Cinematographers and Editors were women. This proves that the issue lies not just within America, but within Western culture itself.

Sally, our Producer, insisted that we take a look at Film Editor, Thelma Schoonmaker. She is Martin Scorcece’s right hand and has stood by his side for no less than 23 films; most famously Goodfellas, The Wolf of Wall Street, and The Departed. Along with Film Editor Barbara McLean, she has been nominated for more Oscars than any other woman in film. Most recently, she was nominated for Best Achievement in Film Editing for Hugo (2011).

Women make up 51% of the world population. While movements are being made to lessen the gender gap in the film world, it’s still not enough. Let’s hope 2017 will be the year we finally see some real change. Change, not only the film industry, but across the board.

Other Links:

To see a wonderful collection of vintage images of women filmmakers, see: Isabel Stevens, BFI Film Forever: ‘Women with a movie camera’ 

[1] Matthew Weaver, The Guardian: ‘Kathryn Bigelow makes history as first woman to win best director Oscar’
[2] Data collected from Box Office Mojo, 6th March 2017. 
[3] Center for the study of women in television & film
[4] University of Southampton’s research project ‘Calling the Shots: Women and Contemporary Film Culture in the UK’
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