There has been little improvement in diversity among film directors over the last five years, as the total number of features as plummeted, according to a new report from the Directors Guild of America.
The DGA report found that women directed 16% of the films released since 2018, while non-white directors accounted for 17%. The total number of DGA-covered theatrical releases fell from 292 in 2018 to 162 in 2022, which the union said has had an effect on the opportunity for hiring diversity.
There is far more diversity in TV directing, which has seen steady increases over the last decade. In 2022, the DGA reported that 38% of episodes were directed by women in the prior season, while 34% were directed by people of color.
“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,” said Lesli Linka Glatter, the union’s president, in a statement. “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.”
The DGA report covers all union-covered theatrical releases from 2018-2022, and includes a breakdown for each year.
The numbers show an incremental improvement from the last DGA theatrical report, which was issued in 2017. The earlier report found that 8% of films released in 2013-17 were shot by women directors, while 13% were shot by directors of color.
However, much of the increase among women directors — from 8% to 16% — was explained by a change in the methodology. Without that change — which eliminated a budget threshold of $250,000 — the number would have risen only to 12%.
“Both groups experienced significant percentage fluctuation throughout the decade from year-to-year, but overall, the numbers remained consistently low,” the report concluded. “What we are not seeing is a steady upwards trend that would signal sustainable growth.”
The report found that first-time directors tend to be more diverse than veteran directors.
It also found that Latino representation lags especially far behind, given that Latinos account for 19% of the U.S. population.
The latest report from the Writers Guild of America also found significantly less diversity in film than in TV. That report found that 37% of TV writers were people of color, compared to 23% in features; and that 45% of TV writers were women, versus 30% in features.