Magazine article Screen International

BFI Research Highlights Gender Imbalance in British Film

Magazine article Screen International

BFI Research Highlights Gender Imbalance in British Film

Article excerpt

Study part of BFI’s new Filmography database project.

New research by the British Film Institute (BFI) has highlighted the gender imbalance in UK films both in front of and behind the camera.

The information comes from the BFI Filmography, a new database of British film that was launched today (September 20) at London’s Southbank. It includes information on over 10,000 UK feature films, from 1911 to the present day, and 250,000 cast and crew.

The findings show that less than 1% of film crews are majority female (23 out of more than 10,000) and only 7% since 2000.

Only 4.5% of all UK films are directed by women, the most prolific female director being Muriel Box (Rattle Of A Simple Man, The Piper’s Tune) with 13 films. The most credited male director is Maurice Elvey (The Suicide Club, Love In A Wood) with 151 films.

Gurinder Chadha (Bend It Like Beckham) and Sally Potter (Orlando) are the most prolific working female film director with seven films apiece. Ken Loach is the most prolific male with 27 films.

The percentage of crew members who are women has risen from 3% in 1913 to 34% in 2017 but in many departments, such as photography and music, women still make up less than 10% of senior crew members.

Sterotypical roles

The research shows that women are still often not accurately represented on screen and are often cast in gender stereotypical unnamed roles such as prostitutes, housekeepers and nurses. 94% of all unnamed prostitutes in British films are played by female actors. They also tend to have shorter careers and on average make fewer films than male actors.

Kate Dickie (Prometheus, Filth), the most credited female film actor of the current decade, said during a panel discussion held to launch the research that she told her agent to stop sending sending her prostitute roles. …

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