When festivals announce their lineups, Women and Hollywood crunches the numbers to determine the percentage of female directors behind the films being screened. While the numbers vary according to each festival, women are generally horribly underrepresented. So it comes as no surprise that new research published on the data-visualization site Silk.co led The Guardian to conclude that women filmmakers “are being sidelined in selection for major film festivals, even in programmes expressly designed to nurture emerging talent.”
The Women at International Film Festivals of 2015-2016 project launched to track women’s presence at major film festivals. The site observes that although women are often the focus of attention at film festivals, it’s actually their fashion and accessories that get written about. In contrast, there’s little recognition given to how few women behind the cameras are represented at the festival, as the overwhelming majority of the films are male-directed.
So far Silk.co has produced graphs and data for two festivals, Venice International Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival. In 2015, Venice featured 13 percent of women directors and 31 percent of women writers out of 55 films in competition, while Toronto included 26 percent of women directors and 27 percent of women writers of the 405 films in competition. (Note: Some of the information on women writers is missing, or incomplete, so the percentages are not wholly accurate. We’re assuming that the numbers they’ve produced for Toronto include shorts: Women accounted for just 20 percent of the features screened at TIFF this year but 45 percent of shorts.)
Of the 400-plus films screened at TIFF, 69 were directed by a woman and included a female writer, whereas 229 films were comprised of all-male directors and writers.
Silk.co will be updated with more information and graphs as festival lineups and award nominees are announced, such as those for Sundance, SXSW and the Academy Awards.