In 2015, women accounted for a mere 9% of film directors, up 2% from 2014 but identical with 1998. In other roles, women comprised 11% of writers, 26% of producers, 20% of executive producers, 22% of editors, and 6% of cinematographers. This is obviously not good enough, not just in terms of representation in the film industry but also in the types of stories reflected on our screens. A 2016 Equality and Human Rights Commission Report notes that “A male dominated industry leads to male focused films, leaving women not only under-represented amongst directors but under-represented in the art and stories themselves.”
This year the Fleadh has committed to pushing female film talent and female-centred stories into the foreground. We are proud to announce that 38.5% of our World Cinema and Documentary programme is made up from films directed by women. While this is a good start, and well above the industry average, our commitment to achieving diversity among our filmmakers will be an ongoing process until 51% of films (or more) are made by women.
With this in mind we are excited to present two masterclasses by leading female film talent. Limerick-raised Ruth Negga, fresh from the Cannes success of Jeff Nichol’s Oscar-tipped Loving and her starring role in AMC’s new comic-book adaptation Preacher, will be the subject of this year’s acting masterclass. Meanwhile Kirsten Smith, screenwriter of 10 things I Hate About You and Legally Blonde, will be on hand to deliver our screenwriters masterclass.
Similarly we are excited to present a series of panels and discussions that will explore the role of women in film. These include “See it – Be it! Putting Women in the Picture” (see p. 73) a panel of women filmmakers, representatives from the Irish Film board and the equality committee of the Writers Guild and the Screen Directors Guild which will shine a spotlight on women in the Irish film industry, and our own Women in Film panel (see p. 9) which will introduce you to some of the amazing filmmakers and films at the Fleadh this year.