Director’s Guild of America | Diversity statistics paint gloomy picture

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New diversity statistics suggest that films from female and people of colour haven’t grown in number over the past five years, at least not in cinema.

Growing diversity in the film industry is a pressing issue for many, and while many areas of the sector have seen positive change over the last few years, one of the most influential areas remains pretty stagnant.

Diversity in casting may be on the rise, and behind the camera, positive strides continue to be made. But that doesn’t appear to have filtered into feature film directing yet, at least not according to statistics published today by the Directors Guild of America.

The DGA unveiled a Feature Film Diversity & Inclusion report on Thursday (as reported on by Deadline) which lays bare the slow progress that has been made in feature film directing over the last few years. The report covers just over 1000 films that have been made in the last half-decade that are covered by the DGA. Here’s the takeaway:

From 2018 to 2022, ‘just 16% of these films were helmed by women, with 17% being directed by directors of colour’. According to the report, ‘directing jobs for women ranged across the five-year period from a low of 12% in 2018 to a high of 22% in 2020. Similarly, directors of colour ranged from a low of 13% in 2019 to a high of 25% in 2021.’

Since the last five year period, female directors have claimed an eight percent rise in directing jobs, while people of colour have seen a meagre four percent growth. Sure, it’s an upward trend, but it’s a pretty small one compared to TV where both groups have seen directing opportunities double.

The DGA has acknowledged the stagnant growth and we’ll see what happens next.

With TV clearly offering much more in the way of opportunity for women and people of colour to work as directors, the film industry stands to lose lots of tomorrow’s filmmakers, who have unique and underrepresented stories to tell. While that’s a shame, it’s also the reality facing Hollywood as it struggles to overhaul a system that – like our own UK industry – isn’t entirely meritocratic.

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