magneticNorth and BFI talk gender in film and creative industries

Stephen Chapman's picture
by Stephen Chapman

The British Film Institute (BFI) is collaborating with magneticNorth on a discussion about gender balance in film and the creative industries.

It will take place next month at Home as part of the DesignManchester17 Festival.

At the event, the question posed is: Can gender balance in British film ever be achieved?

magneticNorth has just completed work with the BFI on a new Filmography website, which is the world’s first complete and accurate living record of UK cinema. What it means is that everyone can now search and explore British film history, for free.

During its creation, researchers looked into the last 100 years of film and discovered that gender imbalance was worse now than it was in 1913. In 1913, 31% of actors cast were female, now it’s 30%.

Using the Filmography site, researchers also found that the longevity of film careers was much less for women. The most credited male in the database is Scottish composer and conductor, Muir Matheson, who has worked on 379 films. Only 4 women have contributed to over 100 films.

The 4 characters that women are most likely to play when a name or gender is unspecified are:

Prostitute – 94% cast as women;

Housekeeper – 91% cast as women;

Nurse – 88% cast as women;

Receptionist – 80% cast as women

Whereas women are least likely to play:

Police Inspector, Police Sergeant, Steward, Taxi Driver - in each case 0% are cast as women.

The event will be from 5.30-7.30pm at HOME on 16th October.