Women Directors Represent 46 Percent of Sundance 2020’s Competition

Women directors have found a place to shine: The Sundance Film Festival.

The 2020 Sundance competition films have just been announced, and women make up 46 percent of the films’ directors or co-directors. That’s up from 42 percent in 2019 and 38 percent in 2018.

In addition, the diverse Sundance films feature 38 percent directors of color and 12 percent LGBTQ+ directors.

“Independent artists create and enrich global culture,” said Sundance Film Festival Founder and President Robert Redford. “Their art, which we’re proud to present, can entertain – and much more: it can, illuminate, agitate, and empower. This year’s Festival is full of films that showcase myriad ways for stories to drive change, across hearts, minds, and societies.”

In the U.S. Dramatic Competition for Sundance 2020 directors, women make up 47 percent of entrants. Meanwhile, 52 percent are people of color and five percent are LGBTQ+. This competition includes The 40 Year-Old Version by Radha Blank (produced by Lena Waithe), about a playwright who pursues a rap career later in life. It’s up against such films as Never Rarely Sometimes Always by Eliza Hittman, about teenage girls who go to New York after one of them gets pregnant, and Miss Juneteenth by Channing Godrey Peoples, about a former beauty queen who helps her daughter compete in a pageant.

Other films include one story about a Korean-American kid in rural Arkansas and another about an Angolan immigrant who’s reunited with his family after a 17-year separation.

In the U.S. Documentary Competition, women make up 45 percent of directors, with 23 percent people of color and 23 percent LGBTQ+. Topics include social media disinformation, Bruce Lee, a Las Vegas dive bar, the racial bias of facial recognition software and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The largest percentage of women directors can be found in Sundance’s World Cinema Competitions: both the Dramatic Competition and Documentary Competition feature 50 percent women. These films explore deportation, child custody, bullying, archaeology, amusement parks, bank robbery, reputation management and a murder trial.

“At this year’s Festival, we’ll explore the theme of ‘imagined futures,’ inside the theaters and in the conversations sparked by the work we are presenting,” says Keri Putnam, Executive Director of Sundance Institute. “We believe diverse stories from independent artists around the world open us up to new perspectives and possibilities – at a time when fresh thinking and dialogue is urgently needed.”

The 2020 Sundance Film Festival will take place January 23-February 2, 2020 in Park City, Utah. You can view the full list of Sundance films here. Which Sundance 2020 directors are you most excited about?

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