Hollywood Directors’ Chairs Have Not Diversified In The Last Decade

If you are a female director, you’re going to have a very, very hard time getting a film made in Hollywood. If you are an Asian, black or Latino female, your chances are even slimmer.

This is all according to a new study by the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California, which examined the top-grossing 1,000 films in the last decade and found that just 3 percent — that’s 34 films — were directed by Asian or Asian Americans.

What’s more, of the 17 unique Asian directors who helmed those films, only 3 were women — a low number reflected in the overall percentage of female directors: 4 percent, comprising 45 unique projects, 39 of them directed by white women.

The study, titled “Inclusion in the Director’s Chair?”, examined 1,000 films and 1,114 directors from 2007 to 2016, and concluded that there has been no significant change in the percentage of female, black or Asian directors through that time period.

More than half of Asian-directed films were either in the animation or horror categories.

Black or African American directors did not fare much better than Asians: They directed 57 (that’s 5.1 percent) of 1,000 films, with 3 of them women.

Just one film among the top-grossing 1,000 in the last decade, the study found, was directed by a Latina.

While black directors were found to most often helm projects led by black actors, the same was not true for Asian directors, whose films featured two top-billed actors of non-Asian descent more than 80 percent of the time.

Jennifer Yuh Nelson — the Korean American director well-known for her work on the “Kung Fu Panda” franchise — was the only Asian female director to work on more than one film.