The Oscars May Be The Super Bowl For Women, But Women in Film Still Need Help
3:30 pm, February 24th | by Meredith Lepore
The Oscars are tonight, aka the Super Bowl for Women. And if the Super Bowl can have 40 pre-parties then so can the Oscars. One of those is the Women in Film soiree, hosted by Women in Film, a non-profit organization dedicated to women’s achievement in the entertainment industry. Of course, the event was glamourous and replete with swag and beautiful starlets like Jessica Chastain, but it also drew attention to an important issue: women in the film industry need to promote, encourage and actually hire each other.
According to a study commissioned by the organization, in the last 11 years only 41 of 1,100 films have been directed by women. (The study looks at the top 100 films of each year). “It’s actually a horrendously terrible statistic,” said Cathy Schulman, president of both WIF and Mandalay Pictures. She added that Kathryn Bigelow’s win for Best Director should be the norm, not an exception that only happens every 81 years. Kathy is the only other woman to have received an Oscar for Best Picture for producing Crash.
According to some, a big problem is that women simply don’t get as much funding if they are the ones producing or otherwise behind the camera. Schulman told Bloomberg BusinessWeek that over the years film financiers have consistently told her she should get a male partner to help her produce a film. “Sure, it’s a rare occurrence that someone will actually say they won’t do it because you’re a woman,” Schulman says, “but the numbers speak loudly.” A woman is still considered a risky hire.
Director Naomi Foner told BusinessWeek, “People still don’t trust female pilots. We’ve been acculturated to believe that in cases of extreme stress, women will crumble,” Foner said. “When I do well with a directing job, people tell me, ‘You did it just like a man.’”