Black female directors defy Hollywood’s odds and old rules

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Three black women released movies in 2014, more than ever before in a single year. And one of them is a contender for the motion picture academy’s top prize.

But that’s just three films in one year — out of the 373 that came out in theaters.

Black female filmmakers are one of Hollywood’s greatest rarities. In the past seven years, only three were connected to the top 700 movies, according to recent research by the University of Southern California’s Media, Diversity & Social Change Initiative.

“The ecosystem of filmmaking is problematic for women and people of color,” said initiative director Stacy L. Smith. More than 95 percent of the directors of top-grossing films during the past decade have been men, she said. Looking at the top 700 films over a recent seven-year period, almost 90 percent of them were white.

So while there’s been a lot of talk about the lack of diversity among this year’s Oscar acting nominees, the larger issue may be the overwhelming lack of diversity among those telling the stories on the big screen.

“Selma” director Ava DuVernay, as a black woman, defied incredible odds with her film’s best-picture bid at next Sunday’s Academy Awards. But was it merely an exception?







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