Park City, UT — Today at a gathering of filmmakers, producers and members of the film distribution industry, at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival, Keri Putnam, Executive Director, Sundance Institute, and Cathy Schulman, President, Women In Film Los Angeles, announced significant growth of a collaborative initiative designed to achieve gender parity and sustainable careers for women working in filmed entertainment.
Recent expansions of the initiative, which launched two years ago, include a deepened mentorship program, new financing intensives, an expanded network of allied organizations and new and updated research, the results of which were also released today. The study was commissioned by Sundance Institute and Women In Film Los Angeles and was conducted by Stacy L. Smith, Ph.D., Katherine Pieper, Ph.D. and Marc Choueiti at Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, University of Southern California.
Putnam said, “Our collaborative initiative has furthered the dialogue around the importance of women behind the camera. We are grateful to the researchers and allied organizations in lending their analysis and expertise to help us identify the most productive next steps to address existing challenges.”
Schulman said of the results, “In terms of our committed course of change for women, this year's study is another invaluable tool in understanding how Sundance and Women In Film can help guide the industry to institutionalize permanent progress through our programs and collective influence."
The research documented the gender distribution of filmmakers participating in Sundance Institute Feature Film Program (FFP) and Documentary Film Program (DFP) Labs between 2002 and 2013 to determine how many emerging female writers, directors and producers receive critical artistic support as part of their filmmaking background, and how this may affect their careers and the pipeline overall. It also updated last year’s inaugural study by quantitatively examining the gender of 1,163 content creators (directors, writers, producers, cinematographers, and editors) across 82 U.S. films selected and screened at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. Lastly, the research delved deeper into the original qualitative interviews to further explore obstructions facing female directors and producers in the narrative space.
Key findings include:
ARTIST SUPPORT THROUGH SUNDANCE INSTITUTE LABS
BARRIERS FACING FEMALE FILMMAKERS
The initial report revealed career obstacles that face female filmmakers, including gendered financial barriers, male-dominated industry networks, and stereotyping on set. We analyzed a subset of the original 51 interviews with industry thought leaders and seasoned content creators.
UPDATES TO LAST YEAR’S STUDY
This year’s mentorship fellows include Producer Brenda Coughlin (Dirty Wars), Director Marta Cunningham (Valentine Road), Director Mari Heller (Diary of a Teenage Girl), Director Shola Lynch (Free Angela and All Political Prisoners), Producer Jordana Mollick (Life Partners) and Producer Kim Sherman (A Teacher).
The Dove short film fellow is Cynthia Wade, who directed a short film entitled Selfie, with producer Sharon Liese. Cynthia was mentored by Academy Award-winning documentarian Barbara Kopple.
In addition, this past year Sundance Institute and Women In Film Los Angeles launched a Finance Forum in Los Angeles, where 68 female filmmakers with 58 industry advisors and guests participated. A second financing intensive will be presented in April 2014 in New York.
Sundance Institute and Women In Film Los Angeles also continued to meet with leading organizations working on gender in media. Allied Organizations involved in and lending counsel to the collaborative project include: AFI Conservatory; Alliance of Women Directors; Athena Film Festival; Chapman University; Chicken & Egg Pictures; Creative Capital; Film Independent; Fledgling Fund; Ford Foundation; FUSION Film Festival at NYU; GAMECHANGER FILMS; Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media; IFP; IFP New York; Impact Partners Women's Fund; Loreen Arbus Foundation; Los Angeles Film Festival; Loyola Marymount University; NYU; Paley Center for Media; Producers Guild of America; Reel Image Inc.; Tangerine; The Harnisch Foundation; Time Warner Foundation; UCLA; USC; USC/Annenberg; Writers Guild of America; Women and Hollywood; Women In Film NYWIFT; Women In Film; WIFV (DC); Women Make Movies; Women Moving Millions and Women's Media Center.
The Sundance Institute and Women In Film Los Angeles collaboration is supported by Dove, Norlien Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, The Gruber Family Foundation, J. Manus Foundation, Bhakti Chai, and The Harnisch Foundation.
Founded by Robert Redford in 1981, Sundance Institute is a global, nonprofit cultural organization dedicated to nurturing artistic expression in film and theater, and to supporting intercultural dialogue between artists and audiences. The Institute promotes independent storytelling to unite, inform and inspire, regardless of geo-political, social, religious or cultural differences. Internationally recognized for its annual Sundance Film Festival and its artistic development programs for directors, screenwriters, producers, film composers, playwrights and theatre artists, Sundance Institute has nurtured such projects as Beasts of the Southern Wild, Fruitvale Station, Sin Nombre, An Inconvenient Truth, Spring Awakening, Born into Brothels, Trouble the Water, Light in the Piazza and Angels in America. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
Women In Film (WIF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping women achieve their highest potential within the global entertainment, communication and media industries. WIF’s fundamental belief is that entertainment created by and for women should represent 50% of all content worldwide, in sync with the voice of the population itself. WIF’s mandate is to ensure gender parity for women in management positions as well as in front of and behind the camera, and to preserve the legacies of all women within the media industries. Founded in 1973, WIF and its Women In Film Foundation provide for members camaraderie, networking opportunities, educational programs, scholarships, grants, film finishing funds, access to employment opportunities and mentorships, as well as enabling members who exhibit advanced and innovative skills numerous practical services, as well as participation in the organization’s film and television shadowing programs and its award-winning PSA program. In 2012, WIF and The Sundance Institute partnered in a Women Filmmakers Initiative and through various educational and mentorship programs continue to make great strides in increasing opportunities for emerging female artists. For more information visit www.wif.org and www.wif.org/sundance
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Editor’s note: Key findings of the research and related infographics, developed by USC Annenberg, can be found at: http://annenberg.usc.edu/pages/DrStacyLSmithMDSCI.