Women and minorities continued to be dramatically under-represented in Hollywood directors’ chairs last year, according to an analysis released Thursday by the Directors Guild of America.
The DGA’s annual study was expanded this year, examining 651 feature films released theatrically in 2017, including films that earned less than $250,000.
According to the study, the 651 films released last year had a total of 691 directors, and just 114 — 16 percent — were female. Excluding films that earned less than $250,000 at the box office, only 12 percent of directors were women and only 10 percent were “people of color.”
“It’s outrageous that we’re once again seeing such a lack of opportunity for women and people of color to direct feature films,” said DGA President Thomas Schlamme. “Our new study shows that discriminatory practices are still rampant across every corner of the feature film business. These numbers hit home how the chips are stacked against women and people of color.”
Schlamme said the expanded study, including lower-budget and lower-earning films, disproved the perception that independent films offer greater opportunities for non-white male directors.
“There is a misconception that things are better in the smaller, indie film world, but that’s simply not the case,” he said. “From financing and hiring, to distribution and agent representation — every aspect of the entire system disadvantages women and people of color.”
The percentage of female directors of films earning at least $250,000 was up from 7 percent in 2016. In fact, the 12 percent rate was the highest of the past five years, beginning in 2013 when only 6 percent of films were directed by women, according to the study.
The 10 percent rate of minority directors last year represented a dip from the previous year, when 13 percent of directors were minorities. Last year’s rate was the lowest in the past five years, down from 17 percent in 2013.
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