Female Directors Leading the Way at Glasgow Film Festival

By Magdalena Szczepanczyk


The film industry is large and wide with infinite depths of topics, themes and genres; directors play an integral part in the film making process. Historically, men have led the way in the film industry with a number of titles which have become great classics; this has however been changing in the last decade. Despite female directors rising in ranks in the film industry, the number is still abysmally low.  

According to statistics collected by The Celluloid Ceiling, “in 2019, the percentages of behind-the-scenes women working on the top 100 and 250 (domestic) grossing films increased, reaching recent historic highs.” They further add that “women comprised 20% of all directors, writers, producers, executive producers, editors and cinematographers.”

Kathryn Bigelow is currently the only female director to win an Oscar for her film ‘The Hurt Locker’ in 2010. At the 2020 Golden Globes awards, no female directors were included in the nominees list. 

The celebration of female directors is especially beginning to put them in the spotlight in an expansive industry. Film festivals like The Glasgow Film Festival are becoming known for their running theme of showcasing the works of women. Max, a member of staff at the Glasgow Film Festival said “The Closing Gala this year falls on International Women’s Day, so it felt particularly fitting to champion a female director. This is something which we have in fact been doing for a number of years- last year one of our festival strands focused on the films of Elaine May, the previous year we marked the centenary of Ida Lupino’s birth with another dedicated strand and in 2017 our Retrospective sand ‘Dangerous Dames’ put a spotlight on women in post-war cinema.”

The Glasgow Film Festival is only a month away beginning on February 26th but planning and preparation is well under way. Announcements are being made continuously in the lead up to the festival, with an announcement of two female directed films being once again chosen to be screened during the Opening and Closing Galas. The Galas will feature Proxima by Alice Winocour and How to Build a Girl by Coky Giedroyc with both directors already holding an extensive portfolio of previous work. Max adds that ‘as with the rest of our festival films, the quality of the films is the most important factor when it comes to selection. Both Proxima and How to Build a Girl are excellent films and this year they seemed the perfect choice to bookend Glasgow Film Festival.”

Movements like the #MeToo and Time’s Up have been leading a way for women coming a long way in Hollywood since 2017 and despite not being nominated during the Golden Globe awards, female works are being praised by viewers and critics alike. Upcoming films for 2020 and 2021 will further increase the popularity and rank of female directed films and help to decrease the gender gap in the industry. 

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