For The First Time Ever, Sundance Has An Equal Number Of Male And Female Directors
4:15 pm, January 2nd | by Meredith Lepore
Well, hot dog. For the first time ever, the famous Sundance Film Festival will feature an equal number of men and women in the U.S. Dramatic Competition category. This is a first for the festival, begun in 1981, which is usually dominated by male directors.
This is huge news considering what an important launching pad Sundance is for getting independent films and films by first-time directors distributed as well as more media attention. Industry insider Anne Thompson told Public Radio International, “The new indie model that is emerging is much more collaborative — barter talent, share roles,” she said. “All these filmmakers are sort of roaming the country helping each other make films in all these different locations and all these different ranges of experiences and it works. Women are really good at that kind of thing.”
Sundance has always been supportive of women in the film industry but we can really see progress happening within the institution itself. Last year at the festival it was announced that both the Sundance Institute and Women In Film Los Angeles would be collaborating to support independent women filmmakers working in both narrative and documentary feature film. Cathy Schulman, President of Women In Film Los Angeles, said then, “Studies have shown that women make up just 16% of the behind the scenes crew on domestically produced commercial films. We want to commit our collective Women In Film and Sundance Institute influence and resources to make sure women beginning their filmmaking career at Sundance Institute continue to have a support system all along the way. We want to encourage long and productive careers for these women, in hopes that they will pave the way to increasing the overall number of films made for and by women into the future.”
Clearly, it is working. Good on Sundance for committing to gender parity, especially in contrast to other festivals like Cannes, in which which zero female directors were included on its list of 23 directorial nominees last year.