Forget ‘Wonder Woman’ and ‘Get Out’: Most Directors Were White Men in 2017, Study Says

Posted June 21, 2018 2:47 p.m. EDT

For all the outcry over #OscarsSoWhite and the paucity of women and people of color in prominent roles on screen and behind the scenes, diversity among film directors remained low last year, according to a report issued Thursday by the Directors Guild of America.

The high-profile successes of “Wonder Woman,” directed by Patty Jenkins, and Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” may have suggested the situation was changing across the board. But the report painted a mixed picture: For films produced and released domestically in 2017 that made $250,000 or more at the box office, 12 percent of the directors were women — a five-year high, according to the report — and 10 percent were people of color, a five-year low.

The guild analyzed 651 live-action films released theatrically in the United States — documentaries, animated films and rereleases were not included — and found that 16 percent of their directors were women. The guild was not able to glean verifiable data on minority directors for that pool of films because not all the productions were signatories to its labor agreements. The report drew its data on minorities from the 141 films that made $250,000 or more and were Directors Guild signatories. That 10 percent of those directors were people of color represented a drop from 17 percent in 2013.

The report covered everything from tent-pole films to microbudgeted projects, and found that discrimination prevailed across the board, said Thomas Schlamme, the guild president.

“There is a misconception that things are better in the smaller, indie film world, but that’s simply not the case,” Schlamme said in a statement. “From financing and hiring, to distribution and agent representation — every aspect of the entire system disadvantages women and people of color.”