Sundance Slate Hits 50-50 Mark for Women and Nonwhite Directors

15% are LGBTQ+ filmmakers and 4% identify as non-binary

Sundance Film Festival Egyptian
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Female directors account for exactly 50% of the 2021 Sundance Film Festival slate, while 51% of filmmakers are people of color. Additionally, 15% of directors identify as LGBTQ+ and 4% identify as non-binary.

The diverse lineup put forward by Sundance’s new director, Tabitha Jackson, represents an uptick from last year, when people of color directed more than half of the films in competition but less than half of the full festival slate. For 2021, 70 of the 140 films and projects — including features, shorts and New Frontier category of art projects — were directed by one or more women, and 71 were directed by a person of color.

In the U.S. Dramatic competition specifically, which for the last several years has always had a near-even split in terms of representation, half of the competing directors are women and 40% are BIPOC. Women directed even more of the films in the documentary category, representing 64% of the 11 directors in the group, with another 73% being BIPOC.

Among all of the 72 feature films, 47% were directed by women, 3% by non-binary individuals, 43% by BIPOC and 8% by one or more LGBTQ+ filmmakers.

The Sundance slate for 2021 was chosen out of 1,377 submissions in the U.S. and 2,132 from abroad. Of those films, only 27% were directed by women and 42% were directed by one or more filmmakers who are people of color. The data reflects information shared by the artists, some of whom did not self-identify in all data areas.

Featured on this year’s slate are a new film from comedian Jerrod Carmichael called “On the Count of Three” and a film from actress Rebecca Hall called “Passing.” The documentary race features a film about Rita Moreno called “Just a Girl Who Decided To Go For It,” directed by Mariem Pérez Riera, and another called “Summer of Soul (…Or When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised),” directed by Questlove of The Roots.

Other highlights of film premieres featured out of competition include new projects from Ben Wheatley, Edgar Wright, Zoe Lister-Jones, Robin Wright and Lucy Walker.

The Sundance Film Festival is going virtual for 2021, with events taking place in both Park City, Utah, and in select cities across the country. The festival will take place Jan. 28 through Feb. 3.

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