Forget 50/50 by 2020 – Women Directed Two-Thirds of This Year’s Focus Features Films

The majority of the films in Universal’s arthouse division in 2020 had women directing

"Emma" / Focus Features

TheWrap’s annual survey of female directors showed that Hollywood’s top studios haven’t made any overall progress in the push for 50/50 gender equality in the director’s chair this year. However, there is one distributor surveyed that has the majority of is 2020 slate made of films by women: Focus Features.

So far, Universal’s arthouse division has assembled nine films for release this year. Of those nine, six of them have women as directors. The first of those films, Autumn de Wilde’s Jane Austen adaptation “Emma.”, is already in theaters. It will be followed in the first half of the year by Eliza Hittman’s “Never, Rarely, Sometimes, Always,” Emerald Fennell’s provocative revenge thriller “Promising Young Woman” in April and Nisha Ganatra’s musical comedy “The High Note” in May. That’s four consecutive films from female directors on a single release slate.

Along with those films, Focus has two more films from women that do not have a release date set but will come out in 2020. One is a documentary from Dawn Porter about Pete Souza, the chief White House photographer for the Obama administration. The other is Miranda July’s “Kajillionaire,” a drama that screened at Sundance and stars Evan Rachel Wood as the matriarch in a family of scam artists.

“I think the reason that we’re working with so many wonderful female filmmakers is that we’ve never once made it an agenda item.  We’ve just always found that great stories and unique visions are good business for us, so that naturally led us to directors like Autumn, Eliza, Emerald, Nisha and Miranda,” Focus chairman Peter Kujawski told TheWrap.  “Each of these wonderful storytellers wowed us on both fronts so the decision to work with them was 100% a business decision driven by their artistry.”

For more on how well Hollywood’s studios are answering the call for gender parity in the film industry, check out our 2020 female director survey here.