Female Movie Directors

It’s only in the year 2010 that for the first time in the film history did a woman win and took home the prestigious accolade of the best director in that years Academy Awards, the female filmmakers still are not getting the same opportunities or recognition that they deserve as compared to their male counterparts (male directors).

When the female director, Kathryn Bigelow went to the dais to collect her Oscar earlier that year, she did so having been the only fourth woman to ever be nominated in the prestigious Academy Awards in the director category. Well we can’t say that the Academy panel certainly overlooks the female directors; however it is also a bad coincidence that only Kathryn Bigelow as a female director has ever won the prominent DGA and BAFTA awards as the top director, while Barbra Streisand happens to be the only female director to have ever won the outstanding Golden Globe as a winning director. Also the Cannes Film Festival has very poor records in recognizing the achievements of the women directors in the film world, and every year the film festival always comes under fire when very few or no films directed by the female gets selected for the main honors of the competition accolades.

Lack of female recognition doesn’t stem from the lack of quality movies. While the “Inception” by Christopher Nolan was getting the entire buzz, the two of the most celebrated American films with the best reviews that summer was directed by female: Winter’s Bone (Debra Granik) and The Kids Are All Right (Lisa Cholodenko), only Toy Story 3 had a higher Meta score. As we shall see in a while, these are far from being the only critically acclaimed film titles from the female movie directors.

For decades, the women have always been directing in different genres ranging from the comic (Real Genius by Martha Coolidge, Wayne’s World by Penelope Spheeris, Big by Penny Marshall) and horrific films (Pet Sematary by Mary Lambert) to animation (Shrek by Vicky Jenson) and sports (Bend It Like Beckham by Gurinder Chadha). The female directors have also made a mark in the box office-flop category (Ishtar by Elaine May). However, not all genres have always been open to the female directors; for instance, few women other than Mimi Leder of Deep Impact or Kathryn Bigelow have ever had the occasion to direct an all action film.

The opportunities for the women directors in all genres are as always relatively rare. The San Diego State University’s Center for the Women Study in Film and Television regularly reports the trends in this industry, and the findings always confirm a very major disparity: only an average of 7% to 9% of the 250 top grossing films are directed by the women for the last 25 years. The gender disparity is always extending, though not quite severe, to the film goers and the film critics.

Right now we are not exploring the main possible reasons as to why such a huge gap of disparity exists; instead, we are cerebrating the female movie directors and also put our focus on the good work that they have done for the past 30 years in our film industry.

The women directors are awarded and recognised are various festivals like Cannes or Oscars. Celebrities across the world look forward to this award and they plan for their travel ahead. The flight tickets, visitor insurance, hotels, travel agencies, cabs are generally flooded with business during these festivals. When groups or family travel risks can be covered by travelers insurance; student travelers can avail rates and plans for students.

Woman Directors in History

Almost all the well known directors are male. Just name it: Hitchcock, Welles, Spielberg, Kubrick. It’s no great mystery that the contribution of women to film directing is often overlooked by fans. Although small in number, their contributions of female directors to the industry is huge. One of the contemporary acclaimed female directors is Sofia Coppola, of the Coppola family fame (his father, Francis, directed the Godfather trilogy). She has had an illustrious career despite her young age: the 2003 film Lost in Translation remains one of her crowning achievement. Her film Somewhere (2010) won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival.

Claire Denis directed Chocolat (1998), a French film which was nominated for the Academy Award best picture. Jane Campion directed the poignant film The Piano (1993), which won the top award at the Cannes and three Academy Awards. Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker (2008) won the Oscar for Best Picture and bagged her the Best Director award. Women have been known as great filmmaker in the past too: the great German filmmaker Leni Riefenstahl was the favorite choice of Hitler to do his propaganda work. She directed Triumph des Willens (Triumph of the Will), a Nazi propaganda piece that have been critically praised for its cinematic brilliance.

Film Education for Women

“Girls in the Director’s Chair” is a film program, sponsored by Stayfree®, that gives 20 young women (ages 14-19) the opportunity to learn more about the film industry, while getting the chance to work on a movie set for a week with live actors and equipment. Why? According to the film program, only 17 percent of major jobs behind the camera are done by females, while just seven percent are women directors.
Future Filmmakers
“‘Girls in the Director’s Chair’ has given me the confidence I need to work on some of the greatest films,” says Shauna Fleming, another student in the program who plans to attend Chapman University (Orange, CA) in the fall for public relations and advertising for the entertainment industry. “I got to work behind the camera, assistant direct, work with lighting and sound, and edit part of the film. It was great. I got to see what fits me and what I don’t particularly care for.”
Film Education
A film program is a great way to learn about something you’re passionate about. Whether it’s being a director, producer, or editor, you’ll get to learn the basics and eventually specialize in what you are interested. Some classes one may take, depending on the school, include history, techniques, sound, and classes about various genres. The goal of the film programs is usually to give a student a good base and knowledge of film and the film industry. The competition for directors is certainly high, as it is one of the more glamorous and sought-after jobs in the film industry. The actual function of the director entails the interpretation of the script and its representation on screen. They are extremely involved in most aspects of the filmmaking process. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that producers and directors made an hourly wage of about $36 for the film industry in May 2004. However, they also say that the salary of directors varies greatly, depending on the project and the industry. A film program at an accredited institution is certain to boost your career in film.

Woman Make Movies

Woman Make Movies was established in 1972 in order to address the misrepresentation and representation of women in the media industry. It is a non-profit, multi racial, multi cultural media arts organization, which facilitates the exhibition distribution promotion and production of independent movies by woman and about women. The aim of the organization is to provide services to users and makers of video programs and films with the emphasis on supporting movies by women of color.
The Women Make Movies is the primary program of the organization and the leading distributor of films in North America. It includes all non-profit organizations and agencies, colleges and universities, galleries, museums, arts centers and more. Their collection of over 500 titles of movies by women includes mixed-genre work, dramatic, animation, experimental and documentary movies by women.
The films all represent diversity of styles, perspectives, and subjects in women’s lives. Over half of the collection of the movies by women directors and producers are of diverse cultures. The collection includes a variety of movies by lesbians and about lesbians, woman with disabilities and older women. The last three years was great for the organization with them turning over $1.5 million over to women producers in royalty payments.
Women Make Movies works with thousands of women’s organization in the Middle East, Latin America, and Asia in the support of new International Women’s Film festivals. They aim to increase the visibility of women in front of the camera as well as behind the camera.
Renowned films in their collections include movies by women directors such as Ulricke Ottinger, Ngozi Onwurah, Pratibha parmar, kim Longinotto, Valie Export, Tracey Moffat. Lourdes Portillo. Minh ha, Sally potter, Julie Dash, Jane Campion and more. Some of the movies by women garnered top prizes at prestigious film festivals such as sundance and Cannes.