Amy Wilkinson in Film & TV


Making Change Happen: Industry Recognises Creative England’s Backing of Female Talent in the Film Industry

The Directors UK commissioned study, “Cut Out Of The Picture - A study into Gender Inequality Amongst Directors within the UK Film Industry”, has highlighted Creative England’s positive contribution to the sector with the following findings:

·        49.7% of funding awards via Creative England (Jan 2011 to October 2015) went to female applicants.

·        Women applying to Creative England have a much higher success rate (16.6%) than men applying (10.1%).

However, the research shows that public funding support from all bodies for films with female directors has fallen dramatically in the past seven years (from 32.9% in 2008 to just 17% in 2014). Creative England is calling out to industry and partners to buck this trend and to support female talent throughout the career trajectory, as the organisation itself is actively doing.

With more than one out of every five feature films made in the UK being supported in some way by a public funding body, the above figures show Creative England making tangible strides in this area and making a real impact on industry.

Caroline Norbury MBE, CEO of Creative England, said: “This research highlights the fact that the film industry has failed to support talented, creative women. At the heart of Creative England is a desire to challenge entrenched perceptions, develop new approaches and help talent to fly.  One of the ways we have done this is through a proactive approach to talent development via initiatives such as Funny Girls (for women directors working in comedy) and (in games), Queen of Code.

 “We recognised that women directors weren’t visible in film a couple of years ago which is why we developed Funny Girls and also why we have closely monitored our investment decisions to ensure a more equitable playing field for talent. We know the demand is there too, Funny Girls achieved about three times the number of applications we had anticipated – so it’s evident that women directors are out there: they just need to be given a chance.”

Reads the report (pp.42): “It is encouraging to note that [in the Creative England data sets] Creative England appears to be extremely supportive of female directors. 42.1% of the films they supported in development and/or production had a woman director and roughly half of their funding awards go to female applicants.

Creative England is also supporting the introduction of 50-50 gender parity for all public film funding by 2020, as called for by DirectorsUK.

“Public funding in the cultural and creative industries needs to be representative of the country’s most exciting up and coming talent – to give it an opportunity that can’t be realised elsewhere," said Caroline Norbury. "In order for it to encompass and truly represent new and emerging voices in film, we need to mirror the population and give an even footing to both male and female directors who are looking for the next step in this competitive industry.

“In reality of course we also need to look much deeper at other diversity targets in public funding too. At Creative England we are actively reviewing our data and putting in place programmes that identify, nurture and support under-represented groups and we support the DirectorsUK approach of benchmarks being introduced in order to achieve this across the board.”

Read the full report here.

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