Gender inequality has persisted in Hollywood since the early days of the silver screen, but it’s only in recent years that the mainstream media has devoted much attention to sexism on screen and off. Happily, this problem is finally receiving some long overdue consideration, and the public is taking notice.
So Epix’s announcement that they’ll air a series of six original short films interrogating gender bias in Hollywood couldn’t come at a better time. “The 4%: Film’s Gender Problem” will premiere on March 8 — International Women’s Day — and continue throughout the month. The first episode debuted at the Women at Sundance Brunch in Park City, Utah, yesterday.
The docu-series is produced by Oscar and Emmy winner Alex Gibney’s Jigsaw Productions. Buttressed by Dr. Stacy L. Smith’s research with the USC Annenberg School’s Media, Diversity and Social Change Initiative, “The 4%: Film’s Gender Problem” features commentary and insights from both female and male directors and creative personalities. Participants include Kristen Wiig, Mira Nair, Sam Taylor-Johnson, America Ferrera, Mo’Nique, Paul Feig, Catherine Hardwicke, Judd Apatow and Women and Hollywood’s founder and editor Melissa Silverstein.
The series’ title refers to the fact that across the 1,300 top-grossing films between 2002 and 2014, only 4.1% of all directors were female, which translates into a ratio of 23.3 male directors to every 1 female director.
“Epix has supported Stacy’s research for years and these shorts offer a richer, more authentic portrayal about the role of women and girls in media today. Support for this project has also brought together the talented Alex Gibney, and a prestigious list of some of the most gifted artists and creatives from the worlds of entertainment and the arts. Our objective is to help provide a forum for the discussion of ideas and potential solutions, as we collectively work towards closing the gap that exists today,” said Mark S. Greenberg, Epix president and CEO.
Dr. Smith added, “The series offers an opportunity for a national audience to hear from the entertainment industry directly about the issues women face both as filmmakers and in other creative roles. My research is clear: females face a very real fiscal cliff as they pursue work at the highest echelons of this industry. I am proud that my research is associated with a team and a network that cares about female filmmakers and creating systemic change.”
The series has support from Meryl Streep and the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media.
“The 4%: Film’s Gender Problem” is directed by Caroline Suh.