As the Sundance Film Festival unfolds in Utah, the indie community can point with pride to an accomplishment behind the camera: there are more women working behind the scenes on indie films than on big budget studio movies.
That’s the finding of a new study from USC’s Annenberg School of Journalism. It found that between 2002 and 2012, women wrote, directed or produced nearly a third of the films shown at Sundance.
USC researcher Stacy Smith compared that number with successful studio films from the same period.
“If you look at top grossing films, top 100 from 2002 to 2012, only 4.4 percent of directors are women," she said. "That’s a very steep drop and there are very many impediments and barriers that may face women as they try to traverse that ground.”
Women who participated in the study said they face several issues as they move through the world of independent film. They include financial barriers, working in a male-dominated industry, feeling stereotyped on set, and facing pressure to maintain a work and family balance.
The USC study was commissioned by the Sundance Institute and Women in Film Los Angeles. The Sundance Film Festival runs through Sunday.