New Survey Spotlights 30 Promising Female Directors, Highlights Gender Imbalance

     September 7, 2016

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In 2015, a study from the Center for the Study of Women in Television & Film found that only 15% of all the films released in 2014 only had female directors, while another report determined that only 9% of the top 250 films in 2015 were helmed by women. Since then, there’s been a massive social movement to fix the gender imbalance in Hollywood, including a federal investigation into the matter. This year, a new survey described as a Black List for female directors has emerged to highlight promising but still untapped female talents.

According to THR, The Alice Initiative was launched on September 7th and highlights 30 women — 20 who directed at least one non-studio feature film, and 10 who gained notoriety for their work in television and on short films.


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Image via erbp

The list of women spotlighted for their feature work include Alice Winocour (Disorder), Ana Lily Amirpour (Girl Walks Home Alone at Night), Andrea Arnold (American Honey), Anna Rose Holmer (The Fits), Dee Rees (Pariah), Deniz Gamze Erguven (Mustang), Gillian Robespierre (Obvious Child), Hannah Fidell (6 Years, The Road), Jennifer Kent (The Babadook), Julia Ducournau (Raw), Lake Bell (In a World…), Leigh Janiak (Honeymoon), Michelle MacLaren (Population 436, Game of Thrones), Marielle Heller (Diary of a Teenage Girl), Nisha Ganatra (Cake, Transparent), Rachel Goldenberg (Deadly Adoption), Rebecca Johnson (Honeytrap), Rebecca Thomas (Electrick Children), Sian Heder (Tallulah), and SJ Clarkson (Toast, Jessica Jones pilot).

The 10 women featured for their television and shorts are Amy Seimetz (The Girlfriend Experience), Amy York Rubin (Foursome), Emily Carmichael (“Stryka” short), Emily Kai Bock (“Grimes” music videos), Frankie Shaw (“SMILF” short, “Too Legit” short), Katja Blichfeld (“High Maintenance”), Melina Matsoukas (“Insecure” pilot), Pippa Bianco (“Share” short), Ryan Case (Wrecked, Mindy Project), and Sarah Getrude Shapiro (“Sequin Raze” short, UnREAL creator).

These women were chosen by a panel of more than 40 industry insiders, and The Alice Initiative spotlights even more names on its official website. A statement provided to THR reads:

By sharing this list, our hope is to shine a spotlight on this talented next wave of female directors. We hope producers and executives will use it as a reference as they build lists to fill open directing assignments to ensure no capable woman is left off.

This is a major step in the fight for more diversity in Hollywood that also includes diversity of race and sexual orientation. Released today, a report from USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism calls Hollywood “the epicenter of cultural inequality” as it reported women made up 31.4% of 4,370 speaking or named characters in the top 100 grossing films of the last year.


Elsewhere, the study found that 49 of the films had no Asian or Asian American speaking or named characters, 17 had no black or African American characters, and 82 lacked LGBT characters.

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