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Why We Need Female Directors

The entertainment industry has been, and continues to be, dominated by men. Within any form of art, it’s important to show perspectives from a multiplicity of voices. While there is a noticeable lack of diversity in the media (in more ways than one) a group of individuals who often don’t get the recognition that they deserve in the film industry are women.

Throughout the 89 years of the Oscars, only four women have ever been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director and only one woman has ever won the award: Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker (2010). Within the past year, there has been a decrease in female directed films coming out of the Hollywood industry. It has been calculated that in 2016 only 7% of the top films were directed by women. While those numbers are disappointing, it’s not only the director’s chair that lacks women. The ratio of male to female representation with other key roles in production is also astoundingly slanted towards men.

As a woman who is interested in making films, seeing women be successful and recognized for their talents is important to me. More women in the industry may mean more diverse films about women. There is something encouraging and genuine about seeing a film about women that is being told from the perspective of a woman. I want to see more films about hard working mothers directed from the perspective of a mother, films that are solely about female friendships that are written and directed from the perspective of a diverse group of women, and I want to see more coming-of-age stories about young women that are directed from the perspective of young women.

There are films that I’ve loved that I never even realized had women at the helm as their main creative force and there are also films that I wish would have had more of a female influence. I think it’s also important to acknowledge that women are just as capable of directing traditional genre films as men are. I can’t wait to see more of a female presence in the industry that will no doubt bring new perspectives and ideas to the screen. Already this year, there have been some great films directed by women, such as Before I Fall (dir. Russo-Young) and Raw (dir. Julia Ducournau).

Denise Di Novi is a long-time film and television producer, whose credits include Edward Scissorhands (1990), The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants (2005), and If I Stay (2014). She has just directed her first film, Unforgettable, which is a drama/thriller that follows newly married Julia Banks (Rosario Dawson) as she tries to adjust to her life as a wife and step-mother, but her dream life is challenged by her husband’s ex-wife, Tessa Connover, (Katherine Heigl), whose jealousy has gotten the best of her. Unforgettable is in theatres starting April 21st.

The rest of this year looks to be a promising year for women in film. More female directed films to look forward to include Wonder Woman (dir. Patty Jenkins) in June and Pitch Perfect 3 (dir. Trish Sie) in December. I’m so proud of all the women who are making films and I can’t wait to see what the next few years will bring!

Kailynn studies English Literature and Film Studies at UBC. Her studies are also her passions and she can never finish a novel or televison series before starting a new one. She's currently working on her own writing projects and hopes to publish a novel and develop a feature film screen play in the future! Aside from her love of writing, she also loves to travel - even if it's just a weekend at the lake. You'll most likely find her in one of the library basement's or in line for coffee on campus, but you can always find her on twitter! 
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