“The 4%: Film’s Gender Problem” is a new documentary about the gender problem in the film industry. There are industries such as Hollywood, technology and finance/venture that have traditionally been dominated by men - - and face similar challenges faced in the culinary world.
It's a traditional boy’s club that has been slow to adapt to make the culture and career path more hospitable to women and a documentary is a powerful way to make a point that change needs to come soon.
The 4% is similar in tone to much of what is happening in the fight for gender equality across industries. The subplot is hopeful because there is a critical mass of people and voices congregating to fight it.
In six documentary shorts airing during March on EPIX, more than 50 directors, cinematographers, actors and other film industry insiders discuss the pervasive sexism they’ve witnesses and what might be done to combat it.
Stacy Smith, PhD and a Professor in Communications at USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, did the study that came up with the percentage. What the research found was that of the highest-grossing films released between 2007 and 2014, only 4% were directed by women.
And it’s not just the director’s chair. Writers (11.2%), producers (18.9%), and female actors (21%) all face percentages that are no where close to 50%. What the film achieves is the use of the industry itself - entertainment - to make something that we’d all love to stop talking about, well, entertaining.
As Catherine Hardwicke, a successful director, screenwriter and production designer says in ELLE, “At least people can’t ignore it anymore. Even die-hard guys are realizing they need to get with the program. They don’t want to be on the wrong side of history. They don’t want to be perceived as dinosaurs.”
So the next time you have the opportunity to support women in the culinary arts and help balance the scales for the tremendously talented women in our world, remember that food is just as powerful as film!
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