The Universal Filmed Entertainment Group has became the first major film studio to sign on to the #4PercentChallenge, the initiative to boost work for female directors unveiled at the Sundance Film Festival last week by Nina Jacobson, Paul Feig, Amy Schumer, Angela Robinson and Franklin Leonard.
In Park City, the challenge backed by Time’s Up and the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative involves committing to announcing a project with one female director — especially women of color — in the next 18 months. Already, individuals including Kerry Washington and Tessa Thompson have said they will work with a female director over that span.
The initiative stems from a study that shows only 4% of the directors of the 1,200 top-grossing films from 2007 to 2018 were directed by women.
At Donna Langley-led Universal, Peter Cramer (president of production, Universal Pictures), Peter Kujawski (chairman, Focus Features) and Margie Cohn (president, DWA Animation) sealed their commitment today.
The initiative was originally launched Friday during the Sundance panel “Making the (In)visible: Radical Transparency in the Data-Driven Age” by USC Annenberg’s Dr. Stacy L. Smith.
Time’s Up says studies show women-directed films “are more inclusive in terms of girls and women on screen, female characters 40 years of age and older, and underrepresented racial/ethnic groups.” Women directors also hire other women behind the camera.
The #4PercentChallenge is part of the #TIMESUPX2 campaign, which was launched at the Golden Globes earlier this month and aims to “double the number of women in leadership and across other spaces where women are underrepresented,” the advocacy group says.