DGA Publishes Feature Film Inclusion Report: 2018-2022 Analysis Reveals Little Change in Employer Hiring Across Feature Film Landscape

DDI 2018

December 21, 2023

DGA 2018-2022 Feature Film Inclusion Analysis Reveals Little Change in Employer Hiring Across Feature Film Landscape

LOS ANGELES– The Directors Guild of America (DGA) has released its most recent comprehensive Diversity and Inclusion data from 1,026 DGA-covered feature films released theatrically during the five-year period from 2018-2022. Findings reveal that women Directors and Directors of color remain significantly underrepresented in directing feature films, with little increase from the DGA’s previous five-year review of 2013-2017.

During the most-recent five-year period from 2018-2022, women directed just 16% of DGA-covered feature film releases, while POC helmed just 17% of DGA-covered feature film releases. Directing jobs for women ranged across the five-year period from a low of 12% in 2018 to a high of 22% in 2020. Similarly, Directors of color range from a low of 13% in 2019 to a high of 25% in 2021.

Women and POC Directors by Release Year 2018-2022

“The DGA’s latest five-year analysis reveals the continuing systemic underrepresentation of women and Directors of color in directing features,” said DGA President Lesli Linka Glatter. “Though there has been significant progress in episodic television hiring, feature film hiring continues to be both inconsistent from year-to-year with little or no growth over the last five years. The DGA remains united in our commitment to continue pushing for meaningful action from producers that will increase access and representation that aligns with our diverse membership”

DGA-covered Theatrical releases peaked in 2018 at 292 but have since declined to 162 in 2022. Even factoring in typical ebb and flow and COVID’s impact on 2020’s output, the past five years reflect a continuing slide in feature film production, affecting opportunities for feature film hiring and diversity.

A further breakdown of the data focused on gender and race/ethnicity reveals starker differences for directing opportunities. Across the 2018-2022 period, white women helmed 11% of features, while men of color held roughly 14% of those jobs. Only 4% of films were directed by women of color.

Features by Gender and Race/Ethnicity by Release Year 2018-2022
For a more complete breakdown by ethnicity for the five year period, see Appendix A

Underscoring the continued underrepresentation of women and POC, the DGA compared the results of this report to the five-year report covering 2013-2017. Although the methodology was slightly different in the two reports (see Appendix B for detail), women directors showed only incremental growth from 8% of the feature films released during 2013-17 to 16% of the feature films released during 2018-2022; while directors of color increased slightly from 13% over the 2013-2017 period to 17% for the 2018-2022 period. Both groups experienced significant percentage fluctuation throughout the decade from year-to-year, but overall, the numbers remained consistently low. What we are not seeing is a steady upwards trend that would signal sustainable growth.

Feature Films Directed by Women and People of Color from 2018-2022

Analysis of Budget Thresholds:

In looking closely at whether budget was a major determinant of diverse hiring, the DGA examined the hiring practices for both High-Budget films (above $11 million) and Low-Budget films (below $11 million.) The High and Low Budget threshold break aligns with the threshold in DGA’s Low Budget Agreement. Women directed 13% of High Budget and 18% of Low Budget releases. For Directors of color the figure was 17% for both High and Low Budget releases.

Analysis of First DGA Covered Features:

In a more detailed look at the data, one bright spot was an increase in hiring of women and people of color directing their first DGA-covered feature release. Of the 382 first DGA-covered features released between 2018 and 2022, 27% of those features were directed by women and 20% by people of color – both higher percentages than the overall data of women and POC directors from the same period.

These report findings underscore there is still much work to be done to drive meaningful change in entrenched industry practices. The DGA will continue to push for hiring practices that promote a more diverse and inclusive directorial workforce.

Appendix A: Features by Race/Ethnicity by Release Year — 2018-2022

Features by Race/Ethnicity by Release Year - 2018-2022 

Appendix B: Methodology

In designing the parameters for this year’s 2018-2022 report, the DGA changed its methodology to reflect the changing theatrical feature landscape. This report analyzes all DGA-covered features with a theatrical release from 2018-2022, including day and date releases and regardless of domestic Box Office returns.

The 2013 to 2017 report included all DGA and non-DGA covered theatrical feature releases with a domestic box office of $250,000 and above for women. For directors of color, the 2013 to 2017 report included only DGA covered theatrical feature releases with a domestic box office of $250,000 and above, as ethnicity data for non-DGA projects could not be verified.

The change in the 2018-2022 five-year analysis, which broadened the data to include all DGA-covered feature films with any theatrical release (without the $250,000 box office threshold) had no impact on the hiring statistics for Directors of color. The change incrementally increased the percentage of films directed by women for the five-year period from 12% to 16%, which accounts for approximately half of the total increase for women Directors from the 2013-2017 five-year report to the 2018-2022 five-year report.

Documentaries, animated films, and re-releases were not included as part of the release data.

Future Reporting: The DGA will continue to collect data regarding additional genres and underrepresented communities where further analysis may illuminate hiring trends.

DGA Diversity Efforts

At the DGA, we believe storytelling should be as diverse as the world around us, and that a critical mass of different perspectives on screen is vital for the wellbeing and development of society. We’re committed to realizing the vision of a diverse and inclusive industry and have worked toward this goal for decades.

Although the DGA has no authority over director hiring, we seek to wield our influence and utilize our collective bargaining power, relationships, and resources to try to change industry practices. Currently, we employ a four-pronged approach to advance the issue: (1) engage with industry decision-makers; (2) negotiate with employers; (3) develop networking, career enhancement and training opportunities; and (4) report back to the industry. 

For more information about the DGA’s diversity efforts, CLICK HERE.

DGA Communications Department (310) 289-5333
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