Dr. Martha M. Lauzen, the executive director of the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University, released the 2018-2019 Indie Women report in June 2019. Conducted since 2008, Indie Women is the only study that examines women’s behind-the-scenes representation on independently and domestically produced films screening at more than 20 high-profile festivals in the U.S., including SXSW, AFI, Sundance, and Tribeca.
The percentages of women working as directors, writers, producers, executive producers, and editors on independent films reached historic highs in the 2018-2019 year. The percentage of women directors grew from 29% in 2017-18 to 33% in 2018-19 and the percentage of women writers rose from 26% last year to 32% this year.
That said, independent films still employ more than twice as many men as women (68% vs. 32%) as directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and cinematographers. In addition, 83% of the films had no women cinematographers, 73% had no women writers, 69% had no women editors, 65% had no women directors, 62% had no women executive producers, and 32% had no women producers.
While significantly healthy gains have been made for women working in a variety of behind-the-scenes roles in independent film, this report highlights where the industry is still lacking.