UPDATE Saturday, Jan. 26: As soon as Dr. Stacy L. Smith announced the TimesUp 4% Director Challenge, the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative tweeted out the news and more accepted the commitment to work with a female director within 18 months to increase the number of female directors in the 1200 top grossing films which has been sitting at 4% since 2007. The official Annenberg Inclusion Initiative Twitter account announced that Tessa Thompson accepted the challenge and Kerry Washington also jumped on board.
“@TessaThompson_x announces committing to @TIMESUPNOW 4% female director challenge,” they tweeted. “She is moving the needle again! #soproudofyou!!!”
Washington also tweeted, “ABSOLUTELY! YES!!!!!!!!!” after Robinson tweeted out the news.
PREVIOUS: During the “Making the (In)visible: Radical Transparency in the Data-Driven Age” panel at Sundance, Dr. Stacy L. Smith from the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative announced the “4% Challenge” which urges filmmakers to make a commitment work with a female director — especially a female director of color — within 18 months. Smith revealed during the panel that Nina Jacobson, Angela Robinson, Paul Feig, Amy Schumer, and Franklin Leonard have agreed to the challenge and she says more will board.
Smith says from 2007-20018 4% of the directors of 1200 top grossing films were women and that she, the Inclusion Initiative along with Time’s Up introduced the 4% Challenge to dramatically move the needle.
Smith said she initially reached out to Jacobson, Robinson, and Leonard, who were also on the panel, for the challenge and they answered with an enthusiastic “hell yes!” Smith called Feig and Schumer and they immediately followed suit.
The panel, which discussed a recent study released by the Sundance Institute and the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative about race and gender when it comes to submissions to the Sundance Film Festival was moderated by the Black List’s Leonard, the panel included Smith from the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, filmmaker Robinson (Professor Marston and the Wonder Women), producer Jacobson (Crazy Rich Asians), and Sundance Institute’s Karim Ahmad as they discussed the data released in the study.