I’m looking forward to heading back to Park City in January, but this news about the Sundance Film Festival’s lineup this year is making me particularly enthusiastic about getting back to the press tent:
In what festival programmers say is a Sundance first, fully half of the narrative features were made by women.
Culled from 1,227 submissions, the 16 dramas playing in the 2013 festival announced Wednesday cover a wide array of subjects and are populated by well-known actors (Casey Affleck, Daniel Radcliffe, Octavia Spencer, Jessica Biel) and complete unknowns. Many of the films, perhaps as a reflection of the gender of their directors, focus closely on personal, and often highly sexual, relationships.
“They are very much women’s stories,” said Trevor Groth, the festival’s programming director. In the 2012 festival, only three of the 16 dramatic competition films were made by women. According to San Diego State University’s Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film, only 5% of the 250 highest-grossing films last year were directed by women.
It’s great that Sundance has hit this milestone, and hopefully now that they’ve gotten there, they’ll try to maintain the ratio. But it’s also an illustration of how easy it is to get these numbers right if you really want to. This isn’t even a matter of a couple hundred television writing jobs. It’s eight movies.