In the February 1st podcast episode of The Frame, host John Horn interviewed Dr. Stacy Smith about the gender gap in the film industry. She further discusses the issue that has troubled the industry from the beginning: females in the film industry, particularly female directors, are not given the same opportunities as males. Although she sees this as a major problem, Dr. Smith does have an optimistic view for the future of women in film. The indie film sector showcases more diversity in film, bringing in not only female directors but other minorities as well, like African American and Asian American directors, at festivals like Sundance. She sees hope that people will be more inclusive in their hiring practices so long as people are trained to search for a multitude of perspectives other than the white male.
The fact that women are still severely underrepresented in the film industry is absolutely baffling. Dr. Smith is right. Change is only possible if the studios change their hiring practices. According to Smith, studio executives automatically think of a white man when they think of a director. Women have important, captivating, and creative stories to tell, but the American populace is denied a chance to see those stories.
The indie sector seems to have more integrity than the studio system; perhaps it is because indie is not as concerned with profits. Putting a female director in charge of a movie that has hundreds of millions of dollars invested in it seems too risky to studio executives. In their eyes, it is better to play is safe with a male director because it has worked in the past. Maybe the indie sector will give women more opportunities to produce films with critical acclaim and attract the attention of the big studios. However, the current state of events is not treating women fairly, and until women are given more chances to prove their talent in cinema, it will, unfortunately, likely not change.