×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Sundance Reports Gains for Women Directors in Submitted Movies

The Sundance Film Festival has seen an increase in women directors in submissions and acceptances to the 2019 line-up, according to reports unveiled Friday.

The Sundance Institute reported that 31% of feature-length submissions this year had at least one woman director, as did 35% of episodic and shorts content. Of feature films and episodic content accepted in 2019, 41% had a woman director while 52% of shorts did.

Those numbers represent gains from 2017 and 2018. An analysis issued Friday in partnership with Professor Stacy L. Smith and the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative found that 28% of feature-length and episodic projects submitted to the Sundance Film Festival across 2017 and 2018 had at least one woman director, as did 34.1% of shorts. Of feature films and episodic content accepted in 2017 and 2018, 35% had a woman director, while 51.4% of short films did.

“This study shows us where the pipeline for women and people of color is robust and where more support is needed,” said Smith. “The gains we saw for women over the past decade reveal that change is possible and where more support is needed.”

The Sundance Institute also said women and people of color were “well represented” in the Institute’s labs and artist support programs. More than half of the participants in the Sundance Institute’s Directors Lab were women (55%) and people of color (60%).

“It’s clear from this data that there is a robust and exciting talent pool including women and people of color,” said Keri Putnam, executive director of the Sundance Institute. “We are proud of the investments the Institute has made in identifying and supporting underrepresented artists, and we are even prouder of the results those investments have catalyzed, over the two years captured here.”

The reports also showed gains in representation for directors of color. During 2017 and 2018, 45.5% of U.S. short films and 24.3% of U.S. dramatic features accepted to the Sundance Film Festival had a director of color. Less than 15% of directors of submitted projects within each festival category analyzed were women of color. Only 7.4% of U.S. dramatic feature directors accepted to the festival in 2017-18 were women of color.

For the 2019 Sundance Film Festival, 55% of accepted short films and 38% of accepted dramatic features had a director of color. Additionally, 18% of accepted projects, across features, episodics, and shorts, were directed by one or more woman of color.

The announcement also noted that gains in representation drop off dramatically as filmmakers advance in their careers. People of color directed 22.3%, and women only 4%, of the country’s top grossing films in 2018. Only nine out of 1,335 directors of the most popular 1,200 films across 12 years were women of color, according to another recent report from the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative.

“Good stories depend on diverse perspectives,” said Lena Waithe. “Those perspectives will only be supported with intentional outreach and support for intersectional voices across the spectrum. The audience is there to support good stories but we have to work harder to see those stories brought to light.”

The findings of the study will be discussed at a panel at the Sundance Film Festival on Friday. The event will be moderated by Franklin Leonard and include Smith, Nina Jacobson, Waithe, and Sundance Institute’s director of outreach and inclusion Karim Ahmad.

Read the full report here.

More Film

  • Macon Blair27th Annual Gotham Independent Film

    Macon Blair to Direct and Write 'Toxic Avenger' Reboot for Legendary (EXCLUSIVE)

    Macon Blair has been tapped to write and direct Legendary’s reboot of the cult classic “The Toxic Avenger,” sources tell Variety. Legendary acquired the feature film rights in December and have quickly made the project a high priority at the studio. Lloyd Kaufman and Michael Herz of Troma Entertainment will serve as producers with Alex [...]

  • Danny Boyle Bond 25

    Danny Boyle Calls His Exit From 'Bond 25' a 'Great Shame'

    Director Danny Boyle has finally spoken out after leaving the upcoming 25th James Bond movie over creative differences. After splitting from the new 007 flick last August, Boyle told Empire in a story published on Thursday that the script he penned with his “Trainspotting” co-writer John Hodge “wasn’t finished, but it could have been really [...]

  • Film Review: 'Everybody's Everything'

    Film Review: 'Everybody's Everything'

    An elegiac documentary exploring the brief life of rapper Lil Peep, “Everybody’s Everything” certainly doesn’t lack for perspectives. Interviewing virtually everyone who knew the musician (born Gustav Ahr), directors Sebastian Jones and Ramez Silyan cover the waterfront, from Peep’s family to his girlfriends, his innumerable collaborators, his managers and his fans, trying to distill exactly [...]

  • A Brinks armored truck pulls into

    Layoffs Hit Fox After Disney Completes Deal

    Layoffs have hit Fox following the entertainment company’s sale to Disney. The staff cuts are hitting employees at the SVP, EVP, and president level. Senior staff is expected to be among the first to be impacted. However, the cuts will be deep, with the ax falling hardest of Fox’s film team. There could be as [...]

  • Emily Blunt in Talks for Inspirational

    Emily Blunt in Talks to Star in Annapurna Drama 'Not Fade Away'

    Emily Blunt is in negotiations to star in Annapurna’s inspirational drama “Not Fade Away” with David O. Russell and John Krasinski producing. The project is based on Rebecca Alexander’s 2015 memoir “Not Fade Away: A Memoir of Senses Lost and Found.” Alexander was born with a rare genetic mutation called Usher syndrome type III and [...]

  • Yalitza Aparicio as Cleo, Marco Graf

    Alfonso Cuaron's 'Roma' Nabs Nine Nominations for 6th Premios Platino

    As was widely anticipated, Alfonso Cuaron’s triple Oscar-winning “Roma” dominated the 6th Premios Platino nominations, unveiled Thursday at Hollywood’s legendary Roosevelt Hotel, the site of the very first Oscars. It snagged a total of nine nominations, including best film, director, art direction, cinematography, and acting for its two Oscar-nominated actresses, Yalitza Aparicio and Marina de [...]

  • Stephen Bruno

    Stephen Bruno Exits Netflix for Top Marketing Job at MGM

    Netflix global marketing chief Stephen Bruno has exited his post for MGM, where he has been named chief marketing officer. His departure follows that of Netflix CMO Kelly Bennett and marks a major shake-up for the streaming giant. Bruno had been with the streamer since 2014, and is known as an innovator. He joins MGM [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content