More Than Half of 2019 Sundance Dramatic Competition Films Have Female Directors

Nine of the 16 films have a female director

For the first time in the history of Sundance’s U.S. dramatic competition, more than half of the films in the category this year will have a female director.

Nine of the 16 films had a woman directing. One of the nine was co-directed by a man and a woman. The U.S. dramatic competition is widely considered the most prestigious category at the festival.

Last year, only 31 percent of the films in the category were directed by women. That was in the months after the Harvey Weinstein scandal that inspired a women’s march in the snow of Park City, Utah.

“These films and artists tell the truth: whether documentaries that illuminate hidden histories or fiction features that spotlight diverse, human experiences, this year’s slate is layered, intense and authentic,” Sundance Film Festival director John Cooper said in a statement.

The films in this year’s competition that have a female director include “Before You Know It” (Hannah Pearl Utt), “Clemency” (Chinonye Chukwu), “The Farewell” (Lulu Wang), “Hala” (Minhal Baig), “Honey Boy” (Alma Har’el), “Imaginary Order” (Debra Eisenstadt), “Share” (Pipa Bianco), “Them That Follow” (Britt Poulton and Dan Madison Savage), and “To the Stars” (Martha Stephens).

A study in May from the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film, found that major U.S. film festivals featured an average six narrative features directed by at least one woman, compared with an average of 16 narrative features directed by men.

Of the 112 films the Sundance Institute announced on Wednesday, 45, or 40 percent, had a female director. Thirty-six percent were directed by one or more filmmaker of color, and 13 percent by one or more persons who identify as LGBTQIA.