More women are directing indie movies and documentaries than there are women directing features for major Hollywood studios, according to a study by the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University. Only 7 percent of 2014’s highest-grossing movies had a woman in the director’s chair, but women made up 29 percent of directors working on documentaries and 18 percent of those directing independent narrative features. Those figures offer a strong rebuttal to anyone who would suggest that “there just aren’t enough qualified women directors out there.” “The findings drive home the point that women who direct are much more plentiful than the numbers from the mainstream film industry would lead us to believe,” said Dr. Martha Lauzen, executive director of the center. “Claims that qualified women directors don’t exist or are in short supply are at odds with the data.” A big part of the problem is that these type of low-budget indie movies directed by women are often not shown in mainstream theaters, but play to small crowds at festivals and art house venues. The study comes on the heels of the ACLU calling for federal and state agencies to investigate Hollywood hiring practices for what it described as “rampant gender discrimination in recruiting and hiring female directors.”
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