Female director Sofia Coppola on the set of her film 'Somewhere'. Photo: Getty Images
The Tumblr blog Shit People Say To Women Directors has only been around for just over a fortnight, but already it’s making waves. The website, which shares the on-set experiences of female filmmakers anonymously, has been steadily hitting the headlines with its revelation of the outrageous gender bias and sexism faced by women in the film industry on a daily basis.
And that’s just a warm up. It gets worse the further you delve into the blog’s archives.
Speaking to Mashable, the blog’s (anonymous) female founders, who work in the film industry, said that they viewed the website as a “crisis intervention”.
“Our hope was for women to let off a little steam while shining a light on a pervasive problem. We figured at first we would just source stories from all of the women we are connected to in the business. What we did not anticipate, however, was the overwhelming amount of submissions we got from the public.”
The blog was launched on the day as a damning study commissioned by the Sundance film festival about the reception faced by female filmmakers in the industry was released.
The study found that at the Sundance festival the ratio of male-to-female directed films between 2002 and 2014 was 3:1.
Female director Kathryn Bigelow, the only woman to have won the Oscar for Best Director. Photo: Getty Images
Furthermore, female-helmed films were less likely to find big studio support and were more likely to be independently produced. This is in keeping with wider industry knowledge about the position of female filmmakers in Hollywood. Just 16% of key crew on big budget Hollywood films in 2013 were women, research found.
The study, which also surveyed men and women from the industry attending the film festival, found that almost half of those surveyed believed that female filmmakers only made females for a “less significant portion of the marketplace”. 1 in 4 surveyed also believed that women lacked ambition to take on big directing roles. 12% of the respondents said that they believed that women “can’t handle” big budget films and commanding a large crew.
“Female filmmakers face deep-rooted presumptiosn from the film industry about their creative qualifications, sensibilities, tendencies and ambitions,” Cathy Schulman, president of Women in Film Los Angeles told Variety about the survey.
“Now, we need to move a heavy boat through deep waters… [we] are committed to year-round action until sustainable gender parity is achieved.”