Going to the movies is always an experience but when enjoying what’s on the screen no one considers who’s behind the camera, that is until Caroline Suh brought to light the industry’s gender faults.
Hoping to educate the public about the severe gender inequality present in the film industry, director Caroline Suh along with Epix studios produced the documentary The 4%: Film’s Gender Problem, which highlights the discrepancies within the industry among directors. The documentary is split into six shorter segments, each about five minutes long. But on International Women’s Day, March 8th; the entirety of the documentary was presented. Immediately off the bat the documentary opens with dark shadows and the faces of industry greats. All paralleled with the bleak facts of what happened behind the camera.
The documentary features interviews with industry veterans such as, Monique, Mary Harron, Catherine Hardwicke, and many more, all expressing their sentiments upon hearing the facts. Research for the documentary was provided by Dr. Stacey Smith of USC Annenberg Media, who was also present in the film. Intertwined with the interviews, Dr. Smith presented the facts that the film industry isn’t only segregated in front of the camera, but very much so behind the camera. The documentary presents the shocking facts that very few statistics, such as of the 318 movies made in the last year only 3 or 4 were made by a female director. Of those three movies, two were directed by Hardwicke, who is the only female director to have won the Academy award for Best Director. The realistic facts were combined with the humor of each individual interviewee to present Dr. Smith’s research. The documentary provides information in a hard hitting manner, but still balances the facts with humor and short artistic takes. A personal aspect was quickly implemented as the film is built solely on the interviews of industry heads from multiple departments. The film opens the eyes of the public that deep rooted sexism is far more prevalent behind the camera, which then immediately affects the state of female actors as well.
Directors Mary Harron and Amy Heckerling mentioned the results of “movie jail” and that double standards exist among directors, screenwriters, and more. If more opportunities are given to the women behind the cameras, then stories, perspectives, and the state of the movie industry would completely change. It’s time for the industry to change, and the documentary hits hard where it needs to. No longer can the public live in theories because the statistics are now present and cannot be avoided. Hopefully change can happen faster than it already has been.