Female film director Agnieszka Holland has said that cinema is “a boys club”, run by male decision makers who are reluctant to entrust women with big budget films.
Agnieszka, who’s films include the Oscar winning Europa Europa, is also claiming that male directors are forgiving much more readily if one of their films flops. According to her, female directors have to spend “five years in [movie] hell after just one failure” in their project flops.
She made these comments while speaking publically to top industry professionals at BFI Southbank. While speaking there, she also said that female directors in the industry suffer because their “demanding” work is “difficult to combine with a family life”.
Agnieszka’s claims also included the assertion that women directors face more pressure to succeed from critics and festival programmers, in comparison to men in the same position.
It apparently doesn’t stop there, though, as she also claimed that the people at the top of the industry “don’t believe women have the capacity to make blockbusters.” Agnieszka also touched on the wage gap, saying that she saw “male A-listers [being] paid twice as much as female A-listers – if not more”.
This is far from the first time we have heard this claim. Fairly recently, Jennifer Lawrence spoke on the wage gap between her and her male counterparts, as well as the mistreatment she received.
At the time, Jennifer said: “It’s hard for me to speak about my experience as a working woman because I can safely say my problems aren’t exactly relatable. When the Sony hack happened and I found out how much less I was being paid than the lucky people with dicks, I didn’t get mad at Sony. I got mad at myself. I failed as a negotiator because I gave up early. I didn’t want to keep fighting over millions of dollars that, frankly, due to two franchises, I don’t need. (I told you it wasn’t relatable, don’t hate me).”
“But if I’m honest with myself, I would be lying if I didn’t say there was an element of wanting to be liked that influenced my decision to close the deal without a real fight. I didn’t want to seem ‘difficult’ or ‘spoiled.’ At the time, that seemed like a fine idea, until I saw the payroll on the Internet and realized every man I was working with definitely didn’t worry about being ‘difficult’ or ‘spoiled.’”
We’ve also seen similar comments from Lady Gaga about the music industry, so this is by no means a behaviour relegated to film. But it does seem to be a pretty big problem in creative industries.
When speaking on the music industry, Lady Gaga said: “What I really want to say is that it is really hard sometimes for women in music. It’s like a f***ing boys club that we just can’t get in to. I tried for so long, I just really wanted to be taken seriously as a musician for my intelligence more than my body ever in this business. You don’t always feel like when you’re working that people believe that you have musical background, that you understand what you’re doing because you’re a female.”