As part of the 8th edition of the Festival de Cinéma Européen des Arcs, between 10 and 17 December 2016, a Programme of New Women Filmmakers was organised, the aim of which is to focus on emerging women film directors. Within this context it was decided to commission an in-depth study of the place of young women film directors of the new generation in the context of European cinema.
The study analyses the period 2012-2015 (inclusive)
The quantitative study: what the numbers show
The results are compelling. Today, 19.4% films are made by women in Europe, 23.3% for first features, 22.44% for first and second features and 15.42% for third features or more. We can therefore notice that there is a 51.1% increase between the younger and older generations in films made by women.
The study conducted by the team of Les Arcs Film Festival shows that the situation of European female filmmakers is not static: it is evolving, but the numbers of this evolution are smoothed by the sedimentation of directors from earlier ages. This means that the general statistics on the proportion of female directors are always delayed in comparison with the real situation.
In addition to this quantitative dimension, the 2016 study also offered a qualitative analysis in order to understand and explain this evolution.
The qualitative study: trying to establish a link between policies and statistics
In order to do so, the national film centers of every EU country were contacted and asked about the measures they took, if any, in order to increase the proportion of films directed by women.
Most countries had already surpassed the stage of awareness regarding what is at stake, and a lot of them had already implemented policies.
The headliners are Norway and Sweden, two countries that obtain the best proportions of films directed by women, and the most complete measures to face the challenge. Besides an impressive policy of quotas (40% of public fundings are granted to women in Norway, 50% in Sweden), the NFI (Norwegian Film Institute) and the SFI (Swedish Film Institute) have established policies for education on the matter and support towards female directors.
No other country has instituted quotas yet, but several have insured objectives as far as funding granted to female directors (generally horizon 2020). Several have also implemented soft quotas, allowing female-lead projects to be prioritized.
Some countries, such as Romania, have decided to take no measures, in order to respect every person’s talent. It is interesting to notice that the numbers are growing in this country despite the absence of encouraging policies. This says a lot about the cultural transformations that are occurring, and transcend public policies even when they are not implemented.