If you’re a woman in film, I feel I can safely conjecture that your career is far more than a choice. It is your calling, your life purpose, your soul path. You undoubtedly, undeniably love what you do. And if you don’t, let me be the first to recommend you go do something else. Because being a woman in film is not just the metaphorical equivalent to rolling a boulder up a hill, as they say—it is more comparable to rolling heaving a square boulder up a hill.
Women in film must have a trailblazer force of will. A pioneering ingenuity. An immutable strength. A fiery sense of self. And more courage than most men.
Statistics for a Woman in Film
In case you didn’t already know, the stats for female filmmakers are appalling. According to a USC study that examined 700 popular films between 2007 and 2014, our work has only just begun. Among the 100 most popular films of 2014, only 18.9% were produced by women, just 11.2% were written by women, and a mere 1.9% were directed by women. In other words, of those 700 films studied, only 28 of them had female directors.
And only three of those female directors were black.
However, I will keep heaving that square boulder up the gargantuan hill because this, indeed, is my purpose. And I have come to recognize that what it means to be a woman in film is measured far beyond one’s own personal success. By simply being here, being present in this industry, we are chipping away at the proverbial boulder. And if you or I never manage to heave it all the way to the top, our contribution will make it easier for someone else to get there.
Each piece of content and every meeting, pitch after pitch and dollar for dollar fundraised, we broadcast our perspective and raise our collective voice. Bit by bit, our boulder becomes rounder, the corners smoother, so that we might someday experience equal opportunity to our male counterparts.
So what does it mean to be a woman in film? It means you are crusading to have your voice, and so many underrepresented voices, heard. It means you are breaking ground in one of the bedrocks of modern human culture. It means you are sculpting the future of a pervasive, powerful, globally beloved media.
It means you’re playing an instrumental part in the history of cinema. So keep rolling—ehem—heaving that boulder.