Behind the Camera

The Annenberg Inclusion Initiative has extensively examined the representation of women and people of color behind the camera in film, as well as in TV and digital storytelling. This includes quantitative research on the employment of females and people of color, as well as qualitative studies on the barriers and opportunities facing female filmmakers as they move through their careers.

Behind the Scenes in Top-Grossing Films

2019: Latinos in Film: Erasure On Screen and Behind the Camera Across 1,200 Popular Movies

  • The report examines top-grossing films to assess the prevalence and portrayal of Latino characters, directors, producers, and casting directors. The report also includes a qualitative analysis of the presentation of Latino characters on screen.

2023: Inclusion in the Director's Chair?

  • Read the full report on gender, race, and age of directors across 15 years and 1,500 top-grossing films from 2007 to 2022. 

View previous reports:

Behind the Scenes in Netflix Series & Films

Inclusion in Netflix Series and Films

2023: Inclusion in Netflix Series and Films: 2018–2021

  • The Initiative analyzed Netflix’s U.S. original live-action films (249) and series (297) from 2018 to 2021. The study examined on-screen inclusion across gender, race/ethnicity, LGBTQ+ and disability. Behind the camera, gender and race/ethnicity of key personnel were assessed. (Full Report)

Behind the Scenes in Independent Film

Sundance Institute: Artists Demographics in Submissions & Acceptances

  • 2019: Conducted in partnership with Sundance Institute, this report examines gender, race/ethnicity and transgender identity for submissions and acceptances to Sundance Film Festival in 2017 and 2018. Additionally, gender and race/ethnicity for submissions and acceptances to Sundance Institute Lab programs are analyzed.

This series of reports includes three phases of research conducted in partnership with Sundance Institute and Women in Film Los Angeles. 

  • 2015: PDF icon Phase III examines distribution patterns of male- and female-directed films after appearing at Sundance Film Festival. Additionally, interviews with industry experts illuminate the barriers and opportunities for female filmmakers as they move from independent to top-grossing films.
  • 2014: PDF icon Phase II examines the participation of male and female filmmakers at Sundance Film Festival from 2002-2014, as well as the gender distribution of Sundance lab participants and the trajectory of male- and female-directed projects as they move from lab to screen. Further data on barriers facing female directors is presented. 
  • 2013:PDF icon Phase Iexamines the participation of male and female filmmakers at Sundance Film Festival from 2002-2012, including data on submissions to the Festival. Additionally, qualitative data is presented from interviews with industry experts on barriers facing female directors and producers in independent film.

Inclusion at Film Festivals

  • 2020: Conducted in partnership with TIME'S UP Foundation, this report examines gender and race/ethnicity of directors at the 5 top global and 10 top North American film festivals from 2017-2019, as well as the gender and race/ethnicity of executives and programmers at these festivals. 

Behind the Scenes in Short Films

2015: PDF icon Gender & Short Films: Emerging Female Filmmakers and the Barriers Surrounding their Careers

  • An analysis of director gender at 10 top worldwide festivals, barriers facing female filmmakers, and the content of 115 short films screened at LUNAFEST. Report prepared for LUNAFEST film festival.

Reports on Specific Areas of Entertainment

2019: Increasing Inclusion in Animation

  • The study evaluated females on screen, behind the camera above and below the line across film and TV, and in the executive ranks at major animation companies. In addition, a qualitative investigation examined the reasons that limit women's access and opportunity in the industry. The study was conducted in partnership with Women in Animation.

2021: Invisible in Visual Effects

  • The study examined women working in visual effects across 400 top-grossing films from 2016 to 2019, focusing on overall prevalence and leadership credits. The study further explored women working in the executive ranks across 60 VFX companies. Finally, awards recognition for women was assessed. The report also includes a qualitative investigation, which consists of 82 in-depth interviews with women in VFX as well as industry decision-makers. The study was conducted in partnership with Women in Animation.

Behind the Scenes in Other Reports

The Annenberg Inclusion Initiative also includes behind the camera analyses in our annual reports on top-grossing films, as well as other projects examining on-screen content. 

2022: PDF icon Inequality in 1,600 Popular Films

  • Annual report on top-grossing film. Includes data on employment patterns of women (directors, writers, producers, composers, and casting directors) and hiring of Black, Asian, and Hispanic/Latino directors (2007-2022).

View previous reports:

2014-15: PDF icon Inclusion or Invisibility? The Comprehensive Annenberg Report on Diversity (CARD)PDF icon Full ReportPDF icon MDSCI_CARD_Report_FINAL_Exec_Summary.pdf 

  • Report examines film, television, and digital content. The study ranks companies based on inclusivity on screen and behind-the camera.

2014: PDF icon Gender Bias Without BordersPDF icon Full ReportPDF icon MDSCI_Gender_Bias_Without_Borders_Executive_Summary.pdf

  • An investigation of female characters in popular films from 11 countries. Report prepared for the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media.

2010: PDF icon Gender Representation 1977-2010

  • Females on screen and behind-the-camera in Best Picture nominees.

2006: PDF icon Gender Representation 1977-2006

  • Females on screen and behind-the-camera in Best Picture nominees.

Gender and Race/Ethnicity of Film Critics

2018: Critic's Choice 2: Gender and Race/Ethnicity of Film Reviewers Across 300 Top Films from 2015-2017

  • An examination of gender and race/ethnicity of film reviewers across the top 100 films each year from 2015-2017.

View previous reports