For over a decade, The Celluloid Ceiling study has tracked women’s representation as directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and cinematographers on the top 250 domestic grossing films. In an effort to assess the larger picture of women’s employment in film, this year we also monitored production designers, production managers/production supervisors, sound designers/supervising sound editors, key grips, and gaffers.
The following summary provides employment figures for 2008. This is the first time such statistics have been compiled, thus figures from prior years are not available for comparison.
This study analyzed behind-the-scenes employment of 1,318 individuals working on the top 250 domestic grossing films (foreign films omitted) of 2008 with combined domestic box office grosses of approximately $9.4 billion.
Women accounted for 25% of production managers working on the top 250 films of 2008. Eighty five percent (85%) of the films had no female production managers.
- Women comprised 44% of production supervisors. Seventy-two percent (72%) of films had no female production supervisors.
- In 2008, women accounted for 20% of all production designers working on the top 250 films. Eighty one percent (81%) of films had no female production designers.
- Women comprised 5% of sound designers. Ninety seven percent (97%) of films had no female sound designers.
- Women accounted for 5% of supervising sound editors working on the top 250 films of 2008. Ninety six percent (96%) of films had no female supervising sound editors.
- In 2008, women comprised 1% of key grips. Ninety nine percent (99%) of films had no female key grips.
- Women accounted for 1% of gaffers working on the top 250 films of 2008. Ninety nine percent (99%) of films had no female gaffers.
Production managers and production supervisors are responsible for the management of a production including the creation and maintenance of a budget, hiring crews, and managing union contracts. Sound designers and supervising sound editors determine the overall sound of the film. Production designers are in charge of the art department and work closely with the cinematographer and costume designer to create the overall look of the film. Key grips oversee the other grips, the rigging technicians on a set. Gaffers head up the electrical department on films.
Martha M. Lauzen, Ph.D.
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