Time’s Up and the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative announced the #4PercentChallenge at Sundance Film Festival this weekend to increase the number of women directors making top-grossing films.
According to research from the Inclusionists, only four percent of the 1,200 highest-grossing films from 2007 to 2018 were directed by women.
“It’s time for a change - announce your commitment to work with a female director on a feature film in the next 18 months,” @Inclusionists posted on social media January 26.
Tessa Thompson, Reese Witherspoon, Olivia Wilde, Armie Hammer, Amy Schumer, JJ Abrams, Angela Robinson, Kerry Washington, Kumail Nanjiani, Paul Feig, Gina Prince-Bythewood and Bryce Dallas Howard are currently committed, along with more than 40 others.
“As an actor and director, I am sickened by these statistics,” Howard tweeted. “This needs to change now. I officially accept the #4PercentChallenge to work with other female directors on a feature film in the next 18 months.”
Constance Wu, Brie Larson, Rachel Brosnahan and Tracee Ellis Ross also announced their commitments via social media.
“I am so fortunate to spend six months out of the year working with a female director/writer/producer/creator extraordinaire, Amy Sherman-Palladino, on @maiseltv,” Brosnahan posted on Instagram. “Today I commit to joining the #4PercentChallenge and will work with at least one female director on a feature film in the next 18 months.”
Though female directors are rarely given the same opportunities as males - especially when it comes to top-grossing films and awards season - FF2 Media critics watched and reviewed more than 250 films from female writers and directors in 2018, proving Editor-in-Chief Jan Lisa Huttner’s adage: “the films are there - what’s missing is the audience.”
This sentiment was echoed by writer, director and women-in-film activist Rachel Feldman on Twitter: “It’s not just about saying yes to the same female filmmakers, it’s about opening doors to the army of female-led projects and filmmakers with whom you may not yet be familiar,” she tweeted. “Few have name recognition. Many are highly accomplished. Open minds will open doors.”
© Georgiana E. Presecky (1/28/19) FF2 Media
Featured Photo: At Sundance, Tessa Thompson commits to working with a female director in the next 18 months; she also announced on Instagram that she hopes to help double the number of women and people of color covering her 2019 film releases (including Nia DaCosta’s exceptional Little Woods).
Bottom Photo: Graphic via @Inclusionists on Twitter