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This Hollywood Movie Studio Wants More Female Directors

Photo: TriStar Pi/REX/Shutterstock.
Hollywood's gender equality problem can only be solved from the top down, so it's encouraging to hear that one major studio has launched a significant pro-women initiative.

Twentieth Century Fox has announced that it is partnering with the American Film Institute (AFI) in a bid to increase the number of female directors making major studio movies.

Under the initiative, graduates of the AFI Conservatory Directing Workshop for Women (DWW) will be given the opportunity to direct short films based on the studio's film franchises, which include X-Men, Rio and Avatar.

Between 35 and 50 graduates will be selected for the initiative's first wave. Ten finalists will present original pitches to senior executives at Fox, before one or more is chosen to make their concept into a short film.

This initiative can't come come soon enough. Earlier this month a report by USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism found that of the 800 biggest movies released between 2007 and 2015, just 33 (or 4.1%) were directed by women.

As the BBC notes, only four of 2016's top 50 films so far have female directors: Jodie Foster's Money Monster, Thea Sharrock's Me Without You, Patricia Riggen's Miracles from Heaven and Jennifer Yuh Nelson's Kung Fu Panda 3, which she co-directed with a male film-maker, Alessandro Carloni.

"The dearth of female directors is not a matter of passion or talent," Twentieth Century Fox's Film Chairman And CEO Stacey Snider said in a statement. "Instead, it's often a question of access and resources. We're excited to offer these to talented women filmmakers who then can build upon this practical work experience."