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DGA Unveils Report on Minorities and Women; President Shea Expresses Shock

DGA Unveils Report on Minorities and Women; President Shea Expresses Shock

Expresses Shock

by Mark Rabinowitz

The Directors Guild of America released the results of their most recent
report on women and minority hiring yesterday, and the numbers show a
marked decline in employment for these groups. Days worked by women DGA
film directors fell from a paltry 8.8% in 1996 to an even lower 7.0% in
1997, while days worked by minority directors declined from 6.9% to 6.4%
over the same period. This decline is particularly noteworthy, given
that the total number of days worked by DGA film directors as a whole
actually increased by almost 6% from ’96 to ’97. In a prepared
statement, DGA First Vice President Martha Coolidge illustrated this
fact, “It is outrageous that in a year in which all DGA directors worked
almost 4,000 days more than in the previous year, women and minority
directors actually lost nearly 900 days worked.”

In the same release, DGA President Jack Shea commented that “anyone
reading these numbers has to be shocked that the major studios and
production companies hire so few women and minority directors.” DGA
women tape directors suffered the same fate as their film counterparts,
with days worked dropping 3.6%, while the total number of days worked by
DGA tape directors actually rose by 9.3%. However, minority tape
directors nearly doubled their days worked, rising from 7.6% in 1996 to
14.2% of the total in 1997. The overall percentage of women in the DGA
is slightly over 22%, while minorities comprise a little more than 7% .

With regards to the studios’ treatment of women and minorities versus
the situation in the independent sector, DGA Spokesperson Chuck Warn
told indieWIRE yesterday that “Clearly, by observation at the leading
film festivals, one can observe that women and minorities do much better
in the independent film community than they do in so-called mainstream
film production.” A look at the 1998 Sundance Film Festival catalog supports
that claim in part, revealing that approximately 20% of the directors, short
and feature-length combined, were women. By contrast, clearly one-in-five
studio films released in 1997, or any other year for that matter,
were not directed by women.

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