Universal Becomes FIRST Studio To Accept Challenge To Hire More Female Directors

Universal Studios has become the first major Hollywood studio to accept the 4 Percent Challenge to hire more female directors in 2019.

In the wake of the sordid revelations regarding film producer Harvey Weinstein that emerged in 2017, and the subsequent accusations of sexual abuse, misconduct and gender discrimination involving various other figures in the movie industry, the Time’s Up movement was officially launched in January 2018. Intended to address the prevalence of harassment women are subjected to in Hollywood, the Time’s Up movement has received the backing of many top actors, both female and male.

Issued by Time’s Up and the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, the 4 Percent Challenge, which calls on Hollywood industry leaders to commit to announcing one project with a female director in the next 18 months, has already received the enthusiastic support of dozens of high-profile producers and actors. But Universal marks the first — but hopefully not the last — major studio to take on the challenge.

In a tweet posted Tuesday, Universal accepted the Time’s Up challenge to hire more female directors. Universal’s president of production, Peter Kramer, along with Peter Kujawski, chairman of the studio’s specialty label Focus Features, and Margie Cohn, president of DreamWorks Animation, threw in their support for the challenge, writing that they “proudly join colleagues throughout the industry in accepting the #TimesUp #4PercentChallenge.”

Part of the Time’s Up remit in ending harassment involves creating a more equal gender dynamic in the movie industry as whole and one area that desperately needs addressing is the scarcity of female directors working on big-budget movies. In 2018, only 8% of the top 250 grossing domestic releases were directed by women and this figure has been more or less static in recent years, demonstrating a lack of growth despite progression in other roles and industries. In response to this, Time’s Up and the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative established the “4 Percent Challenge,” a scheme that references studies that show only 4% of the decade’s 1000 highest grossing movies were directed by women.

As reported by THR, Universal has now become the first major studio to agree to take on the 4 Percent Challenge after the gauntlet was officially laid down at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. As per the terms of the challenge, this means that Universal will have to hire one female director within the next 18 months. Universal’s commitment was confirmed in a joint statement from president of production Peter Kramer, chairman of Focus Features Peter Kujawski and Dreamworks Animation president Margie Cohn.Universal’s involvement is very much a positive endorsement of Time’s Up’s 4 Percent Challenge and it’s highly likely that other studios will quickly follow suit as the campaign gains momentum. Consequently, it perhaps won’t be long before the 18 month-rule becomes standard practice within the industry and this will likely result in female directors being employed on a more frequent and regular basis by the big Hollywood studios.

Hopefully other major studios will follow suit as Universal leads the way to even the playing field for female and male directors.

(Excerpts) Read More at: SlashFilm.com and ScreenRant.com

Universal Becomes FIRST Studio To Accept Challenge To Hire More Female Directors

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