Women in filmmaking face many challenges that their male counterparts may not. As a woman student at the University of Missouri studying documentary journalism, I’ve gotten the opportunity to discuss these unique hurdles with successful women in the film industry. These difficulties affect women’s abilities to succeed in the field. But does the same fate befall women filmmakers internationally.
The dynamic European film industry encompassed 91,000 companies, employed more than 370,000 people, and reaped about €60 billion in revenues in 2010. Spain is one of the “Big Five” countries for cinema within the EU. According to a recent report from CIMA, the Spanish Association for Women Filmmakers and Audiovisual Media Professionals, male directors of narrative films outnumber females by a ratio of 5 to 1. More startling statistics include the 2015 nominations from the Goya awards, Spain’s most prominent national film awards. Out of 143 films, 65 narrative features were directed by men while just 12 were directed by women. In the documentary category, there were 50 male-directed films and 17 female-directed films. With about the same number of male and female students in film schools, this effect must come from forces outside the filmmaking education system.
Rebeca Juesas Celorio, a former social worker from Oviedo, Spain says, “There are practically no female women directors. There is a list of 50 directors of 20 Minutes, a digital news show, and only two are women. Of course, Spain is very bad in this regard… It is clear that women do not have access to leading positions in many jobs because they are women.”
The gender disparity in media in Spain is clearly noticeable to the general public. To combat this issue, 2010 CIMA held a meeting in 2010 with more than 100 women in film and TV and new technologies to discuss concerns. Afterwards, CIMA created European Women Audiovisual Network, EWA, “to achieve progress in establishing gender equality in the audiovisual world.” Spain is making strides to fight the overwhelming gender gap and give talented women more of an opportunity in the workplace.
Despite society’s pushback, CIMA’s director, Inés París, is an actor, writer for television and film, and writer/director of three feature films. In an interview from the article Spanish women directors provide an exciting model, París told Carla Reyes, the EWA manager, journalist, and producer, “The goal is to be able to count on full visibility in all the film festivals, whatever gender we are. It’s necessary to achieve equality within the juries of those festivals. But it’s clear that in order to arrive at such an ideal situation we must go through the specific festivals as a way to promote the feminine point of view in cinematography, and as an answer to the way men film-makers often condemn women film-makers to oblivion.”
París wants to utilize women’s film festivals to promote the talent of women, but that is not the end goal for her. She stresses the importance of women’s views being held equally to men’s. This is an important goal for society as a whole. Filmmakers hold different perspectives and ideals that they portray, consciously or subconsciously, through their work. Because society receives such a large proportion of media from the male perspective, París feels the audience is lacking a certain vantage point that women bring. Through the dedication of women like París, steps are being made in the right direction to support women filmmakers in Spain and across the globe.