Circulated on behalf of the research team from the Institute for Media Research at the University of Rostock
Who Directs German Feature Films? Gender Report: 2009–2013
Read the report here
Only every fifth feature film (22 percent) between 2009 and 2013 has been directed by a woman. These films obviously impress with their high standard of artistic quality as films by women receive film awards at a higher rate and have a more successful festival run. This success is remarkable considering that on top of the underrepresentation of women in film production their films usually have to be realized with smaller budgets. These are the results of the just published study “Who Produces German Films? Gender Report: 2009–2013” by the Institute for Media Research at the University of Rostock led by Prof. Dr. Elizabeth Prommer and Skadi Loist.
Men receive notably more money for their films than women. If one considers the projects that received funding, a blatant inequity between the films by male and female directors becomes apparent. Women-directed feature films receive in sum only 65 percent of the funding that films with a male director received. On average a film directed by a woman received 660.000 Euro film funding while a film with male director received 1.000.000 Euro.
The funding institutions distribute their money differently. The German Federal Film Fund (DFFF) is the most gender unequal funding agency. This quasi-automatic funding based on budget size clearly disadvantages women. They receive only about half of the funds per film. While the amount of funding through the German Federal Film Board (FFA) and the Minister of State for Culture and the Media (BKM) do not show great differences, the discrepancy for the DFFF is the most obvious. Along with the low film funding for women-directed projects, these also have a smaller overall budget to realize a film. This lower budget seems to translate into a smaller commercial potential expected from distributors as films directed by women start with a lower number of prints.
Apart from this financial inequality, Prof. Dr. Prommer points to another distinction: “Women-directed films more often win awards and have a more successful festival run. A film by a women often screens at three to five festivals, among the festival hits, i.e. films that have screened at more than five festivals, many films were directed by women.”
Bottom line of the study “Who Produces German Films? Gender Report: 2009–2013” is: women are markedly underrepresented in German film production as only every fifth film was directed by a woman, they receive less film funding and work with smaller budgets. However, women-directed films are appreciated by critics and jurors. They receive more film awards and screen at more festivals. Analyzed were all German feature films which premiered in the years 2009–2013. As data basis served the annual reports of the German Federal Film Board (FFA). In addition, the team collected data on funding, audience attendance, box office and festival run.