ReFrame And IMDBPro Report Finds More Popular Films Were Directed by Women, But Majority Of Sets Are Far From Gender-Balanced

ReFrame, the initiative launched in 2017 by Sundance Institute and WIF to advance gender equity in the screen industries, and IMDbPro, announced the findings of the 2023 ReFrame Report, which examines hiring across key roles on all 100 films based on IMDbPro data, can be viewed HERE. Also 29 of the 100 most popular films of 2023 will be awarded the ReFrame Stamp for gender-balanced production.

Since 2020, the number of films in the annual Top 100 that qualify for the ReFrame Stamp has not increased. Notably, despite the increase in women and gender-diverse Directors hired on popular projects last year (from 14 films in 2022, to 20 in 2023), there was no corresponding increase in projects qualifying for the Stamp (in both years, 29 films qualified for the gender-balance award). Overall, 80% of the films directed by women on the list earned the Stamp; only 16.25% of the films directed by men qualified.

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Key Findings of the Report Include:

  • 19 films in the Top 100 were directed by women, and 1 by a non-binary director, an increase from 14 women directors in 2022.

  • 9 of these films were directed by women of color, an increase from only 2/100 films in 2022.

  • There was notable growth for women in the Visual Effects Supervisor role, with 17 films hiring a woman over 8 in 2022.

  • Women cinematographers experienced a sharp drop-off in hiring on top films in 2023 – three films on the list hired a woman as Director of Photography, a decrease from seven films in 2022. This role is the most male-occupied at 97% male hires in 2023, followed by 1st Assistant Directors (91% male) and Composers (90% male).

  • ReFrame’s report notes a 21.74% drop in lead roles for women, from 46 in 2022 to 36 in 2023. Similarly, research released by the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative on February 20, 2024 found that the percentage of girls and women as protagonists (30%) in the 100 top-grossing movies of 2023 was substantially lower than the percentage in 2022 (44%).

  • 29 of the analyzed films were exclusively released to streaming services, and 11 of these earned the Stamp (37.9%). 71 films with theatrical releases were analyzed, and 18 of those earned the Stamp (25.35%).

The ReFrame Stamp is awarded to features that hire women or individuals of other underrepresented gender identities/expressions (including those who are trans, nonbinary, or gender nonconforming) in at least 50% of key roles roles, including Writer, Director, Producer, Lead, Co-Leads, Cinematographer, Production Designer, Costume Designer, Editor, Composer, Music Supervisor, VFX Supervisor, Line Producer, Unit Production Manager, 1st Assistant Director, Stunt Coordinator and Intimacy Coordinator. Additional points are awarded to productions that hire qualifying candidates of color in these key positions, and to those with overall gender parity in their crews. The ReFrame Report details hiring statistics in all of the above categories. View Stamp criteria HERE.

To award the Stamp, ReFrame reviews cast and crew data for all eligible films on the IMDbPro list of the 100 most popular films of 2023. The ReFrame Stamp is a measure applied only to US produced and distributed feature-length fiction films and does not apply to unscripted or documentary productions, and as such, only scripted productions are included on the list. The top 100 list is based on the actual page views of the more than 200 million monthly visitors to IMDb worldwide.

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