WEEK IN WOMEN: New Stats show drop in WoC-directed films – Brandy McDonnell reports

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Stacy L. Smith and her cohorts at University of Southern California Annenberg Inclusion Initiative have revealed more about the status of female filmmakers in the movie business.

Their latest study, Inclusion in the Director’s Chair? Analysis of Director Gender & Race/Ethnicity Across 1,300 Top Films from 2007 to 2019 reveals a 20 to 1 ratio of male to female directors across 13 years, despite the fact that there was no difference in Metacritic scores based on filmmaker gender.

The new research revealed 10.6% of the directors of 2019’s top movies were women, the highest percentage of female directors in the top films in 13 years, with 12 women each directing one of the 100 top films of 2019. Although the overall percentage of female directors across the 13-year time frame remains 4.8%, 2019’s number was the highest across the years examined.

The study also offers a revealing (and depressing) look at the percentage of directors from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups, examining specifically women of color working as directors.

Female director representation may be the highest it’s been in 13 years, but the number of women of color is still low. The percentage of underrepresented directors reached 16.8% in 2019, a drop from 2018’s high watermark of 21.4%. Just four women of color directed a top 100 movie in 2019. Continue reading on THE WEEK IN WOMEN.

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Brandy McDonnell

Brandy McDonnell

Brandy McDonnell writes features and reviews movies, music, events and the arts for The Oklahoman, Oklahoma's statewide newspaper, and NewsOK.com, the state's largest news Web site. Raised on a farm near Lindsay, Okla., she started her journalism career in seventh grade, when she was elected reporter for her school's 4-H Club. Taking her duties seriously, she began submitting stories to The Lindsay News, and worked for the local weekly through high school. She attended Oklahoma State University, where she worked for The Daily O'Collegian and earned her journalism degree with honors. She worked for three years at small Oklahoma dailies The Edmond Sun and Shawnee News-Star. In 2002, she joined The Oklahoman as a features reporter, writing about movies, the arts, events, families and nonprofits. She moved to The Oklahoman's entertainment desk in 2007. In 2004, she won a prestigious Journalism Fellowship in Child & Family Policy from the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism. Along with her membership in AWFJ, she also is a founding member of the Oklahoma Film Critics Circle. Brandy writes The Week In Women blog for AWFJ.org.