Earlier this year, “Hurt Locker” filmmaker Kathryn Bigelow made history as the first female to win an Oscar as Best Director — in addition to being the first so honored by the Directors Guild of America, and winning numerous other accolades.
Now, there are at least three woman-directed movies bound to be in the mix through this coming awards season: Sofia Coppola’s “Somewhere” that just won top honors at the Venice Film Festival, Lisa Cholodenko’s “The Kids Are All Right,” and Julie Taymor’s “The Tempest” starring Helen Mirren in the now-female lead role of Prospera. The latter, unveiled as the closing film (not in competition) in Venice drew a huge ovation and reviews at polar extremes — not unusal for the visionary Taymor.
So, women are making progress in the filmmaking world, right?
Unfortunately, statistics from Martha M. Lauzen’s most recent The Celluloid Ceiling annual study tell a different story. Lauzen, executive director of the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University, found that there was actually a smaller percentage of women directors of 2009 films than 2001 – with a mere 7 per cent, down 3 per cent, in fact. The stats for cinematographers were worse; only 2 per cent of the top 250 films of last year were lensed by females.