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UK film industry 'letting down next generation of female talent'

Published 05/04/2016

The report highlighted a lack of diversity across the industry
The report highlighted a lack of diversity across the industry

The UK film industry is letting down the next generation of female film-making talent, according to a new report from Met Film School.

The "entrenched problem" of a lack of women behind the camera is part of "the huge lack of diversity" across the industry, the film school states in its report, Met Spotlight on: Women and the Big Picture.

A race row dominated this year's Oscars after a virtually all-white shortlist was announced for the top honours. It prompted some stars to boycott the ceremony.

The report, which looks at the gender imbalances in the film and media production, said: "There has been a lot bubbling in the background but last year was the first year it got more airtime. It is not enough, but a start.

"Our hope is also that the lack of diversity widely publicised through the Oscars, is partly down to the generational factor.

"As an example, Oscars technical award winners are generally white and male because the head of departments tend to win awards; a generation that had less diversity influence than the new generation coming through.

"These changes take time to roll out."

The report notes that only men were in the running in several behind-the-scenes categories at the Oscars, including best director, cinematographer and music.

It also states that while there were a few female-centric films nominated at this year's Baftas, this was "overshadowed" because no female director was among the high-profile categories.

This included Best Film, Outstanding British Film, Film Not In The English Language or Animated Film.

Only 22.6% of the crew members on the 2,000 highest grossing films between 1994 and 2013 were female, according to the report.

An industry mentoring scheme supporting women and other under-represented groups, along with formal links between film companies and film schools, could help to bring balance to the industry, according to the report.

It also suggests that film and media school masterclasses fronted by experienced female creative talent and technicians would help to increase the visible representation of women in the industry while also inspiring students.

The Met Film School is based at the Ealing Studios in west London, where British classics such as The Lavender Hill Mob through to modern-day television hits like Downton Abbey were shot.

Met Film School director Lisa Neeley said: "We are pleased that 45% of our student population is female - but this should not be exceptional.

"We have an obligation along with other media education providers to actively seek a diverse student body and train the next generation of multi-skilled, diverse screen storytellers.

"This has to go hand in hand with promoting greater access into the creative industries - removing the de facto barriers that limit participation - key industry and political decision makers across the sector need to facilitate greater representation, which involves moving from dialogue to action.

"The creative industries offer exciting and rewarding career opportunities, and we need to ensure that the next generation is equipped to take advantage of these wide ranging opportunities".

Met Film School chief executive Jonny Persey said: "Education is only the first step into a career behind the camera; industry itself needs to work harder to open doors for the new wave of graduates coming through."

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