Keri Putnam (pictured left), Executive Director, Sundance Institute, and Cathy Schulman, President, Women In Film Los Angeles (pictured right), announced the results of a first-of-its-kind research study examining gender disparity in American independent film. The study was commissioned by Sundance Institute and Women In Film Los Angeles and was conducted by Stacy L. Smith, Ph.D., Katherine Pieper, Ph.D. and Marc Choueiti at Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, University of Southern California.
The study found that "of the U.S. films selected for the Sundance Film Festival from 2002-2012, 29.8% of filmmakers (directors, writers, producers, cinematographers and editors) were female. Across all behind-the-camera positions, females were most likely to be producers. As the prestige of the producing post increased, the percentage of female participation decreased". The study also found that "when compared to films directed by males, those directed by females feature more women filmmakers behind the camera (writers, producers, cinematographers, editors)".
"Females were half as likely to be directors of narrative films than documentaries (16.9% vs. 34.5%). 23.9% of directors at the Sundance Film Festival from 2002-2012 were female, compared to 4.4% of directors across the top 100 box office films each year from 2002 to 2012 that were female."
Major areas identified as hampering women’s career development in film were gendered financial barriers; male-dominated industry networking; stereotyping on set; work and family balance; and exclusionary hiring decisions. Solutions mentioned were mentoring and encouragement for early career women; improving access to financing; and raising awareness of the problem. Read more on womeninfilm- Los Angeles.