Career Pipeline From Shorts To Studio Films Fails Female Filmmakers

“The career pipeline from shorts to studio films fails female filmmakers.” That’s just one of the key findings from “Gender & Short Films: Emerging Female Filmmakers and the Barriers Surrounding their Careers” a study released last week by Dr. Stacy Smith USC Annenberg’s Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative in partnership with LUNAFEST.

The study examined women directors across more than 3,200 short and mid-length films screened at top 10 film festivals worldwide so as to better understand the challenges women face as directors in the film industry.

“These findings demonstrate that female film directors face a fiscal cliff in their careers soon after making a short film,” said USC Annenberg Professor Stacy L. Smith, author of the study and founding director of the Initiative. “Male and female directors are put on opposite paths as their careers progress. For males, opportunities grow, while for females, they vanish.”



However, the study did find one game changer. Festivals like LUNAFEST film festival, a year-long traveling film festival that highlight award-winning short films by, for, and about women, celebrate women’s voices. As a result, there’s a dramatic difference in gender representation behind and in front of the camera. For example, girls and women appear in 63% of the speaking roles in LUNAFEST shorts, and 81% of the lead or co lead roles were held by females. Learn more about the study here and share it with your friends and family to spark a conversation about the importance of representation.