Women directors seen as too risky, says Foster

Women directors seen as too risky, says Foster

CANNES - Agence France-Presse
Women directors seen as too risky, says Foster

AFP photo

Jodie Foster, who presented her first mainstream film as a director in Cannes, said many studio bosses still mistrusted female directors as “too great a risk to take.” 

The Oscar-winning actress highlighted the challenges women face in the industry at a conference on the sidelines of Cannes.

She noted “drastic changes” on film sets from her years as a child actor, when the only women on set were the person playing her mother or the make-up artist. But “the one arena where it hasn’t really changed at all is directing for mainstream studio movies,” she observed.

In the U.S., only 9 percent of directors are women, according to a 2016 study from the San Diego university.
Another study released this month by the European Women’s Audiovisual Network found that only one film in five in Europe was made by a female director.

Foster said the turbulent economy and changing technologies had left studio bosses more risk-averse than ever. “I think studio executives are scared, period, [and] for some reason women are lumped into that category of ‘too great a risk to take.’” 

However Foster admits that having grown up in the industry it was easier for her to become part of the boy’s club than for other women struggling to make it.

The 53-year-old is the first of a series of Hollywood stars, including Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis, who will be talking at the “Women in Motion” conference during Cannes.

Her first mainstream genre film “Money Monster,” starring George Clooney and Julia Roberts, premiered in Cannes on May 12.

She said she did not think there was “some big plot” by men trying to put women down in the film business, but it was more about being stuck in traditional models.

She described the difficulty in placing trust in a first-time director, and placing the vision of a multi-million-dollar film in their hands.

She said there were many scripts out there written for diverse women, they were just not getting financed.