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Vol. 8 No. i (2020): Spring 2020

Behind the Screens: A History of Women's Roles in Filmmaking

November 21, 2023


The following paper explores the often-ignored role of women in the film industry in both European cinema of the 1960’s and the international Hollywood of today. The thesis focuses on an understanding of the underrepresented work of female directors and crew, and how this affects the current climate for women filmmakers in Hollywood as well as the future of diversity in the film industry. The paper describes the extensive contributions of such highly praised film editors as Denise De Casabianca, as well as female directors of the era (which were much fewer and further between) like Agnès Varda, who was a key player in the French New Wave. It then moves into the modern era with a statistical analysis of current Hollywood gender demographics and focus on the work of acclaimed director Kathryn Bigelow, the first woman to win the Academy Award for best director. The paper concludes on a prescriptive note, calling for the promotion and incentivization of diversity in both the stories told on screen and the people working behind the camera in Hollywood.