Indie Women: Behind-the-Scenes Employment of Women in Independent Film 2019-2020
The percentages of women working as directors and writers on independent films continue to climb, reaching recent historic highs in 2019-2020. Women comprised 38% of directors working on narrative features and documentaries, up from 33% in 2018-19 and 29% in 2017-18. Women accounted for 35% of writers, up from 32% in 2018-19 and 26% in 2017-18. Overall, men accounted for 66% and women 34% of all directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors, and cinematographers working on films selected and/or screened at the festivals in 2019-2020. Documentaries continue to offer more opportunities for women than narrative features. Women comprised 40% of those working in key behind-the-scenes roles on documentaries but only 29% of those working on narrative features. In addition, whereas the festivals selected and/or screened twice as many narrative features directed by men as by women, they selected and/or screened almost equal numbers of documentaries directed by men as by women. The study provides employment figures for domestically and independently produced feature-length documentaries and narrative films selected and/or screening from July 2019 through June 2020 at more than 20 high-profile festivals in the U.S., including SXSW, AFI, and the New York Film Festival. Indie Women is the most comprehensive and longest running study of women working in independent film available and has tracked over 88,000 credits on almost 9,000 films over the period of 2008 to 2020.