Only 22% of European feature films made between 2015-2018 were directed by women, a new study by the European Audiovisual Observatory has revealed. When it comes to female professionals directing audiovisual fiction episodes, the percentage drops to 19%.
Women are slightly better represented in the screenwriting department, accounting for 25% in films and 34% in audiovisual fiction series. However, out of all films written by at least one female screenwriter, 67% were written in teams with other colleagues. And, in two out of three cases, a female screenwriter works in partnership with at least one other colleague — who is a man in 87% of cases.
The research shows that documentary is the film genre with the highest share of titles by female-driven teams, both considering both teams of directors (25%) and screenwriters (25%).
The growth in numbers of female directors from previous research conducted by the Observatory is minuscule. The 2019 study shows a figure of 21% compared to 22% in the latest numbers.
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For feature films, the analysis used data from the European Audiovisual Observatory’s Lumiere database, which collates annual admissions to theatrically released films from a variety of sources, including national film agencies. The data on audiovisual fiction series were provided by Plurimedia and include TV films and fiction series of European origin (including the U.K.), broadcast or made available on SVOD services or TV channels across the EU between 2015 and 2018.
Elsewhere, a study shows that the representation of women on screen continues to grow. The Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film generated a report titled “It’s a Man’s (Celluloid) World Study,” that was released in January. It revealed that the percentage of top grossing films featuring female protagonists rose from 31% in 2018 to 40% in 2019.