[Filmfestivalresearch] Women show their Face, Men their Films - Gender Study on Film Festivals

tck at filmfestival-studien.de tck at filmfestival-studien.de
Mon May 23 13:49:27 CEST 2016

Dear members of the film festival research network,

herewith we would like to inform you about our recent Gender-Study on
German Film Festivals.

Best regards, 

Tanja C. Krainhöfer
_Studies on Film Festivals_ 

  Women show their Face, Men their Films [1]

[1] Freely adapted from Fanny Cottençon, Virginie Despentes, Coline
„A Cannes, les femmes montrent leurs bobines, les hommes, leurs films"
In: Le Monde (11.05.2012) 

20th May, 2016 - On the initiative of Maya Reichert, Women's
Representative at the Academy for TV and Film (HFF) Munich, Tanja C.
Krainhöfer, (media researcher) and Konrad Schreiber (information
scientist) analysed the representation of film works by women at 19
German film festivals. Result: women are significantly
study conducted in cooperation with the Association of Bavarian Film
Festivals bears the title: "Women show their face, Men their films". Ms.
Krainhöfer thus based her work on the gender research recently conducted
by Prof. Michgaela Krützen, (HFF Chair for Communications and Media
Sciences), which examined the career paths of HFF graduates with the
analysis FILME.MACHERINNEN (Films. Female Filmmakers).

QUESTIONS, RESEARCH, CONCLUSION - female film makers are
under-represented at festivals. In their study of the representation of
film works by women in Germany's film festival line-ups, Krainhöfer and
Schreiber posed the initial questions: To what extent do the films made
by women quantitatively diverge from those made by men; and how do they
differ in such specific characteristics as running time, genre, and year
of production. To get their answers, they examined the programs of 19
film festivals in 2015. The analysis shows that the gender balance
determined throughout all aforementioned film festivals amounts to 27
percent of female-directed films to 73 percent male-directed works. This
closely corresponds to a ratio of 1:3. Limited to the German section of
the programs, productions by women go up to 32%, whereby the ratio
slightly increases to 1:2. 

Even considering that the lower production output by female directors,
as proved by various studies, inevitably influences the pool of female
films available for programming and therefore also affects the volume of
festival programs, pursuant quota comparisons nevertheless go well
beyond this correlation. 

Since German female directors can only lay claim to 22 percent of the
annual production volume of feature-length films (Prommer/ Loist: 2015),
their share of such features in festival programs is consequently
further reduced by half - to merely 12 percent, resulting in a gender
ratio close to 1:9. This result likewise indicates that female festival
entries largely consist of lower-budget productions, such as short or
mid-length films, as well as documentaries and animation films. 

This is aggravated by the fact that the monetary value of prizes veers
significantly in favour of films by male directors. In the current
sample, the four highest-endowed awards - including the highest of
50,000 Euros - were won by male-directed films. 

CONCLUSION: Even though ONE out of the 19 film festivals boasted a
well-balanced gender ratio in its programming, women in the German film
festival scene are clearly under-represented. 

Even when the demonstrably lower production output of female directors
is consequently reflected in film festival programming, there
nevertheless exists a considerable discrepancy between the volume of
annual female productions and their presence in such festival programs. 

The aforementioned trends also indicate that films made by women in no
way qualitatively lag behind those of their male counterparts. This is
clear in the gender balance statistics among competition winners as well
as festival hits (films screened at multiple festivals).

Discussions with several directors of those festivals studied revealed
that many are in support of gender equality - some have even joined the
Pro Quote Regie initiative. Yet, due to great complexity and strong
constraints in program scheduling, balanced gender parity cannot be
consistently applied.

The only exception in the German film festival market has proved to be
the Oberhausen International Short Film Festival, which has considered
it a voluntary obligation to ensure gender parity in programming its

The knowledge that film festival programs, a proven format for young
talent, especially when it comes to short films - present no gender
equality, while, at the same time, the German film academies strive to
maintain a fair gender parity among their students, clearly shows
discrimination against female film makers, which has already begun to
kick in before they launch upon their careers. 

HFF President Prof. Bettina Reitz: "Looking at our current class of
students and graduates, I see that we are training just as many male as
female film makers. So it is even more alarming that poorer prospects
for female filmmakers in the cinema and TV sectors are being perpetuated
in the film festival landscape. This applies even more, as the rapidly
growing network of German film festivals has become a major audience and
industry platform for the perception of film makers of all genders and,
due to some highly-endowed prizes and  screening fees, likewise
represents a serious source of revenue."chreibe 

As of 20th May, an English translation of the complete study will be
available for download: www.filmfestival-studien.de [1] 


Studies on Film Festivals
Tanja C. Krainhöfer &
Konrad Schreiber

tck at filmfestival-studien.de

represents an alliance of independent researcher with the focus on the
national and international film festival circuit. 


[1] http://www.filmfestival-studien.de/

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