Press Release


22 September 2017

Following the launch of the BFI’s new Filmography survey earlier this week, Directors UK, the professional association of UK screen directors, once again urges the film industry to take affirmative action to tackle the issue of gender inequality among film directors in the UK.
The statistics from the BFI’s Filmography revealed a history of gender imbalance in the UK film industry that has barely changed since 1913*, demonstrating the urgent need for intentional industry-wide interventions.
The BFI’s Filmography reveals that less than 1% of films made between 1913 and 2017 had a majority female crew and only 7% since 2000; only 4.5% of all films have been directed by a woman.
In 2016, Directors UK called for 50% of publicly funded films in the UK to be directed by women by 2020, after the launch of their commissioned study Cut Out Of The Picture - A Study Into Gender Inequality Amongst Directors in the UK Film Industry, by Stephen Follows. The study revealed new insight into the true scale of gender disparity facing women film directors.
Commenting on the BFI’s Filmography survey, Susanna White, Chair of Directors UK Film Committee and director of Woman Walks Ahead, Our Kind of Traitor and Generation Kill said: “Last year Directors UK commissioned a report that revealed very similar figures. Unfortunately the BFI’s Filmography survey also shows that this issue is not getting any better, and in some cases shockingly reveals that it is even regressing 100 years. The film industry plays an incredibly influential role in our economy and our culture and holds up a mirror to our society - It is vital that that it is fair and representative of us all. Gender imbalance affects not only those working in the industry but has a huge impact on what young people growing up aspire to in terms of the role models they see on their screens.
Directors UK’s recommendations to tackle the issue of gender inequality also included amending the Film Tax Relief cultural test rules to take account of diversity, including gender equality; and an industry wide campaign to ensure gender equality at all levels.
** ENDS **

    ·  Directors UK is the professional association of UK screen directors. It is a membership organisation representing the creative, economic and contractual interests of over 6,500 members - the majority of working TV and film directors in the UK. Directors UK collects and distributes royalty payments and provides a range of services to members including campaigning, commercial negotiations, legal advice, events, training and career development. Directors UK works closely with fellow organisations around the world to represent directors’ rights and concerns, promotes excellence in the craft of direction and champions change to the current landscape to create an equal opportunity industry for all. 
    ·  A PDF copy of Directors UK’s full report Cut out of the Picture – A study of Gender Inequality Amongst Directors within the UK Film Industry can be found at 
    ·  Further information and recommendations can be found at 
    ·  To become a member of Directors UK for access to training, benefits and discounts, please visit or contact us directly at [email protected]   
    ·  Directors UK Social Media handle: @Directors_UK         
    ·  The BFI Filmography is a complete history of UK feature film that is explorable and shareable. 
    ·  *Guardian news article, “British cinema's gender imbalance worse in 2017 than 1913, says BFI study”; Wednesday 20 September 2017 
Download the press release (PDF)

Tolu Akisanya

Communications and Campaigns Officer

[email protected]

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