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Women in Independent Film Report on Behind-the-Scenes Employment in 2016-17 Films

Dr. Martha M. Lauren, Executive Director of the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film, has published the latest Women in Independent Film report. Women in Independent Film is the most comprehensive study of women's behind-the-scenes employment on independent films available. The study considers 10,943 credits on 1,472 films in 2016-17, and over 59,000 credits on more than 6,000 films over the period of 2008 to 2017.

Last year, U.S. festivals screened three times as many narrative films, and almost twice as many documentaries, directed by men as by women. The festivals considered screened an average of 6 narrative films directed by at least one woman compared with an average of 18 features directed by men, and an average of 7 documentaries directed by women versus an average of 13 directed by men. The marketplace capital these festivals provide can be vital in launching films with limited resources. They also shine a spotlight on new directors, helping to build and establish public reputations.

Overall, women comprised 28% of directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and cinematographers working on the independently and domestically produced films considered. This represents an increase of 3 percentage points from 2015-16.

Films directed by at least one woman also employed dramatically higher numbers of women as writers, editors, and cinematographers. For example, on films with female directors, women comprised 74% of writers. On films with exclusively male directors, women accounted for just 7% of writers.

Read the full report.


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NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts
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