Just a quarter of movies at London Film Festival are directed by women

London Film Festival
Emma Stone & Steve Carrell in ‘Battle of the Sexes’, directed by Valarie Faris.
Female directors are represented in just a quarter of the movies shown at this year London Film Festival.

Out of the 242 feature films showing at the 61st BFI London Film Festival, only 61 are directed by a woman.

Movies making their debut at the prestigious festival include Emma Stone’s Billie Jean King drama Battle of the Sexes, which has been co-directed by Valerie Faris.

Mudbound, directed by Dee Rees, will explore racial division in America’s Deep South, and will be shown during the festival’s 12-day run in October.

Clare Stewart, the festival’s director told The Guardian that gender parity was still far away, and the BFI needed to play its part.

“It is a responsibility of film festivals to highlight the important changes that need to happen in our industry,” she said.

“Getting more women behind the camera is something that will have a significant impact in terms of diversifying stories.

But it’s also just basic gender equity, which is what we’re after.”

Despite agreeing with organisers that the figure is ‘bad’, Stewart said she was happy that the overall proportion was rising.

Last year, just a fifth of the festival’s line-up was directed by a woman, which was up overall from the 13 per cent representation in UK cinemas.

In the festival’s official competition, four out of twelve movies are directed by women, including Nora Twomey’s animated drama The Breadwinner, which has Angelina Jolie at the helm as executive producer.

Many of the entries are female-focused including Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool, starring Annette Bening as fading film star Gloria Grahame, and Guillermo del Toro‘s The Shape of Water, with Sally Hawkins in the lead role.

The announcement comes only a day after the launch of the Venice Film Festival, which has been criticised for a lack of movies with female directors.

The 61st BFI London film festival will run from 4-15 October.

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