The BFI, Working Title Films and Lionsgate UK have today committed to push for greater representation of women directors as part of Time’s Up’s #4PercentChallenge.
The initiative is so named because just 4% of the top 1,200 studio films made over the last decade were directed by women, according to research by the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative.
By taking the “challenge”, companies commit to working with a female director on a feature film in the next 18 months. Founded by Dr Stacy L. Smith, the project was formally launched by actress Tessa Thompson at Sundance earlier this year.
Several major studios have already committed to the challenge including Amazon, Legendary Entertainment, MGM, Paramount, STX Entertainment and Warner Bros. as well as Universal Pictures, Focus Features and DreamWorks Animation.
Working Title co-chair Eric Fellner said the production company had a “strong slate of films with some outstanding female talent” including Marjane Satrapi’s Radioactive, Autumn de Wilde’s Emma, Nisha Ganatra’s Covers and Sally el Hosaini’s The Swimmers.
Fellner added that Working Title was “committed to ensuring women directors are given the same opportunity as their male colleagues, as should be the case with all roles within the industry, to achieve their creative ambitions and bring these stories onto our screens.”
Lionsgate UK CEO Zygi Kamasa highlighted the company’s upcoming films Summerland, from director Jessica Swale, and How To Build A Girl, from director Coky Giedroyc, both set for release in 2020. He added its support of the Time’s Up challenge would “inspire and motivate the next generation of female filmmakers to make movies.”
BFI CEO Amanda Nevill stated: “It’s so important we proactively reach out and open doors for everyone with skills and creative talent… Working together I believe we can have a real impact in offering opportunity that will ensure our creative vibrancy thrives and audiences grow.”
Last year, the BFI backed 53% female directors, 53% female producers and 47% female writers with feature film funding, while this year’s BFI London Film Festival (Oct 2-13) features 40% women directors in the programme.