Chalk this up as being barely a surprise. A study recently found that, of the 250 top-grossing Hollywood films, only 9% of the directors were women in 2012. And that is actually an increase from 4% in 2011. The study comes out as indie producers announced the launch of a new production company at the Sundance Film Festival: Tangerine Entertainment, which will focus on female directors and "strong roles for women."
The study, by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film, said that women made up 18% of all directors, executive producers, writers, cinematographers and editors, BBC reports.
The study found that women either gravitated or were more welcomed in documentary, drama and animated film genres. The organization, which has surveyed the industry for over a decade, said that female producers have comprised about 25% of the total over the past two years, while female writers rose from a low of 10% in 2006 to 15% today. About 20 - 21% of editors have been female over the past decade and cinematographers have been about 2 - 4% female.
The independent realm has been kinder to women filmmakers, according to a study by the Sundance Institute. Of 820 narrative and documentaries screened over the past decade at the Sundance Film Festival, women represented just under 30% of the total.
Hoping to narrow the gap, Tangerine Entertainment, launched by veteran indie producers Anne Hubbell and Amy Hobby, will work with female directors in all genres. Its aim is to increase "the presence of smart, complex women both behind and in front of the camera. Tangerine will create commercially viable, character-driven content and a strong brand known for superior quality without high costs."
"Raising awareness for and cultivating community around female filmmakers will be unique and essential to the plan," said Hubbell in a statement. "Utilizing all social media tools and creating grassroots opportunities for personal interaction, Tangerine will cultivate a fan base, while simultaneously creating work for that audience." Added Hobby: "The imbalance created by the lack of gender parity offers an opportunity for Tangerine to take advantage of relevant stories and distinct voices found in this underserved work force."
Tangerine will collaborate with experienced producers, directors, and talent and each film will be produced for what it calls, "an appropriate, responsible budget capitalizing on strong vendor relationships, state incentives, international co-productions, and Hobby's and Hubbell's own production expertise."
The company hopes to bring more women-lead projects to festivals and beyond. Last year, organizers of last year's Cannes Film Festival were criticized for not programming any films by women directors in its main competition slate.
"This data shows us that there is a higher representation of female filmmakers in independent film as compared to Hollywood - but it also highlights the work that is still to be done for women to achieve equal footing in the field," noted Women in Film president Cathy Schulman.