News / Arts & Entertainment

Study Finds More Women in Independent Films

Study Finds More Women in Independent Films i
X
April 04, 2013 11:54 AM
Independent films made history this year. For the first time, women made half of the U.S. competition dramas at the Sundance Film Festival, the most important venue for American independent films. A recent study on women in American independent films reveals that there are more female content creators in independent films than in big Hollywood movies. But it also finds there are still barriers many women filmmakers face. Elizabeth Lee reports from Los Angeles.
Study Finds More Women in Independent Films
Elizabeth Lee
Independent films made history this year.  For the first time, women made half of the U.S. competition dramas at the Sundance Film Festival, the most important venue for American independent films.  A recent study on women in American independent films reveals that there are more female content creators in independent films than in big Hollywood movies.  But it also finds there are still barriers many women filmmakers face.  
 
Ava DuVernay loves making movies, especially from the perspective of a black woman.  She has directed three documentaries and two features also known as narrative films, all independently produced. She says finding funding for feature films is often a challenge for women. 
 
"In some cases male-run institutions or male-run organizations or companies find it challenging to wrap their arms about 'I’m giving all this money to a woman to make our thing," she said. 
 
DuVernay’s experience reflects the findings of a University of Southern California study on women in independent film.   It looked at films at the Sundance Film Festival between 2002 and 2012 and found that close to 40 percent of documentary content creators were female.  
 
But only about 25 percent of feature films had women in key positions. Stacy Smith co-authored the study.
 
“Females were perceived to be not as trustworthy leading a crew. They were perceived to be not as confident handling not only financial matters but also leading the production of the set," she said. 
 
There have been exceptions, like Kathryn Bigelow, who, in 2010, won Oscars for Best Director and Best Picture for her independent movie, The Hurt Locker, about US soldiers in Iraq.
 
And Zoe Kazan who wrote Ruby Sparks, a romantic comedy released last year, and managed to get funding for it. 
 
USC surveyed about 50 mostly female industry leaders and content creators who detailed the obstacles women face.
 
“One of their chief obstacles is convincing male dominated financiers and male dominated decision makers of their ability to helm a project and carry it through to commercial viability," said Smith. 
 
Narrative films depend on funding from producers or investment funds that are looking to make profits. Documentaries often get funding from non-profit groups and investors who care about the topic. Women are more successful in getting funds for documentaries. 
 
To encourage women filmmakers, Keri Putnam, at the Sundance Institute, says there are plans to train women in finance.
 
“Understanding the financing models, understanding how to ask for money, having the courage, the familiarity and the experience going in and teeing up funding, that’s something training can provide," she said. 
 
The study also suggests more mentoring programs for women, so more female filmmakers can reach the heights of success and the accolades of Kathryn Bigelow. 

You May Like

Video Snowstorm Sweeps Northeastern US

'This is nothing like we feared it would be,' New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio says; he had warned storm could be one of worst in city history More

Millions of Displaced Nigerians Struggle With Daily Existence

Government acknowledges over a million people displaced in 2014 due to fight against Boko Haram insurgency More

Facebook: Internal Error to Blame for Outages

Temporary outage appeared to spill over and temporarily slow or block traffic to other major Internet sites More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visiti
X
Aru Pande
January 26, 2015 9:33 PM
U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video Obama Urges Closer Economic Ties During Historic India Visit

U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States and India must do better to capitalize on untapped potential in their economic relationship - by removing some of the roadblocks to greater trade and investment. As VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports from New Delhi, Obama spoke after participating in India’s Republic Day celebration.
Video

Video US, EU Threaten New Russia Sanctions Over Ukraine

U.S. President Barack Obama has blamed Russia for an attack by Ukrainian separatists that left dozens dead in the port of Mariupol and cast further doubt on the viability of last year’s cease-fire with the Kyiv government. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports from Washington.
Video

Video White House Grapples With Yemen Counterterrorism Strategy

Reports say the U.S. has carried out a drone strike on suspected militants in Yemen, the first after President Barack Obama offered reassurances the U.S. is continuing its counterterrorism operations in the country. The future of those operations has been in question following the collapse last week of Yemen’s government. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Kerry Warns Against Violence in Nigeria Election

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Nigeria Sunday in a show of the level of concern within the U.S. and the international community over next month’s presidential election. Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Zoo Animals Show Their Artistic Sides

The pursuit of happiness is so important, America's founding fathers put it in the Declaration of Independence. Any zookeeper will tell you animals need enrichment, just like humans do. So painting, and even music, are part of the Smithsonian National Zoo's program to keep the animals happy. VOA’s June Soh met some animal artists at the zoo in Washington. Faith Lapidus narrates.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Saudi, Yemen Developments Are Sudden Complications for Obama

The death of Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah and the collapse of Yemen’s government have cast further uncertainty on U.S. efforts to fight militants in the Middle East and also contain Iran’s influence in the region. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports on the new complications facing the Obama administration and its Middle East policy.
Video

Video Progress, Some Areas of Disagreement in Cuba Talks

U.S. and Cuban officials are reporting progress from initial talks in Havana on re-establishing diplomatic ties. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State (for Western Hemisphere Affairs) Roberta Jacobson said while there was agreement on a broad range of issues, there also are some “profound disagreements” between Washington and Havana. VOA State Department correspondent Pam Dockins has the story.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

 

Singer Leyla McCalla takes up not only the guitar, but the banjo and cello to perform songs from her new disc, “A Tribute to Langston Hughes,” music that mixes the Creole rhythms of Haiti with the French Quarter flavor of New Orleans on this edition of "The Hamilton Live."