Out of the 373 movies that came out in theatres in 2014, only THREE were the product of black female filmmakers. That’s less than 1%.
Yet one of those three is still a top contender for the motion picture academy’s top prize.
Although extremely small in their numbers and rare in their appearances, black female filmmakers are still a force to be reckoned with in Hollywood. In the past seven years, only three of these women were connected to the top 700 movies, while 90% of those same films came from white male directors.
This shows that the discrepancy in the number of black actors and actresses in Hollywood has an extremely large correlation with the numbers of their counterparts behind the scenes.
While 2014 brought us great films such as Selma by Ava DuVernay and Beyond the Lights by Gina Prince-Bythewood (Love & Basketball and The Secret Life of Bees), were these women a sign of what is to come or simply exceptions to the rule?
Both agree that the problem does not solely lie with awards shows like the Oscars, but starts with Hollywood and the types of films that are being greenlit. There seems to be an ongoing pattern that movies about men and by men get the green light, and all others must fight for the scraps of leftover funding.
What is the solution? To show the powers that be in Tinseltown that movies about women are not just niche, but are widely accepted. With the recent mega successes of films like Gone Girl and The Hunger Games, there is clearly a strong interest in films about women. In addition, movies with actors and actresses of color in the lead roles need not be type casted as “urban”.
As consumers, our dollars equate to purchasing power and by dictating which movies receive the most financial support from us, we are sending a message back to the executives of what types of movies they should continue (or discontinue) releasing.