The BFI, Working Title Films, and Lionsgate UK, have today announced their commitment to pushing for greater representation of women directors as part of TIME’S UP’s #4PercentChallenge, so named because only 4% of the top 1,200 studio films made over the last decade were directed by women according to research undertaken by the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative.
The #4PercentChallenge, which is a commitment to working with a female director on a feature film in the next 18 months, was formally launched by Tessa Thompson at the Sundance film festival earlier this year.
This commitment underlines the increasing momentum generated by TIME’S UP Entertainment and TIME’S UP UK to push for greater representation of women directors. Many of the major studios have already committed to the challenge including Amazon, Legendary Entertainment, MGM, Paramount, STX Entertainment, Warner Bros.as well as the Universal Filmed Entertainment Group portfolio including Universal Pictures, Focus Features and DreamWorks Animation.
“TIME’S UP is focused on creating sustainable change and building a movement, which ensures that women’s voices across this industry are heard,” says Dame Heather Rabbatts, TIME’S UP UK Chair. “The #4PercentChallenge is just one of the signposts on this journey, ensuring that women are afforded the same opportunities as their male counterparts as directors to achieve their creative ambitions in the art of story-telling. Women develop powerful narratives about lived experiences of ALL kinds of women who are the heroes of their own stories, not just wives, victims or accessories. We also know that women directors are more inclusive and make a significant contribution to the bringing on of other female professionals in roles both in front of and behind the camera. This is why it is significant, and this is why the support from the industry, which is gathering a pace, is of fundamental importance.”
Amanda Nevill, The BFI CEO, says: “Full steam ahead for the #4PercentChallenge! We thank TIME’S UP for all their work in pushing this forward. We have such an exciting and economically buoyant industry, and it’s so important we proactively reach out and open doors for everyone with skills and creative talent. This is why we encourage all productions based in the UK – big and small – to adopt the BFI Diversity Standards, which chime perfectly with the #4PercentChallenge. Last year, against our 50-50 gender target, we backed 53% female directors, 53% female producers and 47% female writers with feature film funding, and the BFI London Film festival started this week with 40% women directors in the programme. Working together I believe we can have a real impact in offering opportunity that will ensure our creative vibrancy thrives and audiences grow.”
Zygi Kamasa, from Lionsgate UK says; “Lionsgate UK has long been a champion of British Female Directors having historically released films directed by Gurinder Chadha, Lone Scherfig and will in the future have films directed by Jessica Swale and Coky Geidroyc released in 2020. We are also proud to work with the most prolific female producers in the UK releasing films made by Barbara Broccoli, Elizabeth Karlsen, Amanda Posey, Finola Dwyer, Pippa Cross, Debra Hayward and Alison Owen showcasing that films made by female filmmakers make up approximately one third of our slate. By proudly supporting this this purposeful initiative we look forward to being one of the leading companies that support
and therefore inspire and motivate the next generation of female filmmakers to make movies.”
Eric Fellner, from Working Title Films says, “Working Title is pleased to support TIME’S UP #4PercentChallenge and has a strong slate of films with some outstanding female talent. In the director role these include: Radioactive directed by Marjane Satrapi, Emma directed by Autumn de Wilde, Covers directed by Nisha Ganatra, along with Sally el Hosaini’s latest film. Working Title together with industry colleagues are committed to ensuring women directors are given the same opportunity as their male colleagues, as should be the case with all roles within the industry, to achieve their creative ambitions and bring these stories onto our screens. We understand that there is still a lot to be done but are proud to be part of the community pushing for change”.
The BFI, Working Title Films, and Lionsgate UK, join a growing list of industry talent from the US and UK who have signed up to the challenge including Andrea Riseborough, Brie Larson, Eva Longoria, Jennifer Lopez, Natalie Portman and a whole host more. Many of the major studios are also committing to the challenge, studios who have committed to date include: Amazon Studios, Legendary Entertainment, MGM Studios, Paramount
Pictures, Paramount Animation and Paramount Players, STX Entertainment, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group (Universal Pictures, Focus Features and Dreamworks Animation), and Warner Bros. Entertainment.