In the film industry, only 7 percent of directors, 13 percent of writers and 20 percent of producers are female. In front of the camera, women hold only 31 percent of speaking roles and these numbers have been mostly stagnant since 1998.
Statistics like these and more, compiled by Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, were the talking points at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new MediaSpace launched at The Archer School for Girls on Jan. 14.
The MediaSpace will be the hub of Archer’s Institute for Film and Video Literacy program to further Archer’s commitment to addressing the persistent lack of women in film, television and music, according to Head of School Elisabeth English.
“It is amazing to see these young women figure out what they want to say in the world and develop their creative voices,” said Film and Theatre Teacher Reed Farley in his presentation, Inspiring Future Filmmakers: A Girl’s Imagination is Her Only Limitation.
The space includes 12 editing bays fully-equipped with industry standard software, a sound booth for vocal recording, a soundproof lighting studio equipped with an infinity wall and mechanical backdrops including a green screen, a 20-seat screening room and media arts lab for graphic design, film, animation and digital photography.
Attending the ribbon cutting was five-time Academy Award-nominated director and producer Frank Marshall and award-winning songwriter Martin Sandberg, who most recently co-wrote Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake it Off.’
“We see the same [gender disparity] problems in the music industry as well, especially on the technical side,” said Sandberg, one of the project’s supporting donors and Archer parent. “To see equality for these girls – that’s the main reason we wanted to contribute.”
Eight-time Academy Award-nominated producer, president of Lucasfilm, Kathy Kennedy, who was personally appointed to her position by George Lucas, shared from her own experience and stressed the importance of supporting women in the industry from an early age.
“It is incredibly important that girls start to see themselves in different ways, taking into account the technical aspects of making a movie,” said Kennedy, who has produced more than 60 films grossing $11 billion. “We need to make sure girls are looking at the business side of the film business and working to close that gender gap.”
The MediaSpace will also benefit the efforts of the the student-run film festival hosted by Archer in the spring, said English.
The festival is part of Archer’s continued efforts to provide learning opportunites for girls interested in pursuing careers in the entertainment industry.
The 4th annual Archer Film Festival will take place on April 29 at AMC Theaters at Westfield Century City. The Archer Film Festival is a high school student film festival dedicated to empowering female filmmakers. As their goal is not to exclude men, but rather to include women, the festival is open to all high school student filmmakers.
Visit www.archerfilmfestival.org for more information.