8 Heartbreaking Truths About Women Directors In Hollywood

Catherine Hardwicke, Lexi Alexander and more reveal some harrowing truths.

Over the past couple of months, MTV News has been covering the abysmal lack of female directors in both television and film in Hollywood -- specifically, the American Civil Liberties Union's (ACLU) decision to write letters to state and federal agencies, imploring them to investigate this as a civil rights violation.

Bloomberg Business just took things a step further with its powerful, half-hour documentary "Celluloid Ceilings" -- in which well-known directors like Catherine Hardwicke ("Twilight") and Lexi Alexander ("Punisher: War Zone") team up with Director's Guild Association (DGA) higher-ups and even Geena Davis to break down some powerful truths about the industry.

Here are just some of the "Celluloid" facts that blew our minds:

1. The Numbers Suck.

According to the film, out of the top grossing 600 films between 2007-2013, only 1.9 percent were directed by women. From 2013-2014, out of 220 TV shows -- representing 3500 episodes -- only 14 percent were directed by women. Counteract this with women making up 51 percent of the population, and with thousands of able female directors trying to work in TV alone, and the numbers speak for themselves: Hollywood, we have a problem.

2. Women have been trying to do something about this since at least 1979.

In 1979, the later Emmy-award winning TV director Victoria Hochberg and five other female directors began collecting data on the numbers of women working in the industry. They became known as the "Original Six" in the industry, and would gather in Hochberg's home to strategize and gather their research. Their findings?

"Of all the assignments in both television and motion pictures, one half of one percent of all those jobs were going to women," Hochberg explains.

The OG6 then partnered with the DGA and the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) to fill a gender discrimination lawsuit against the studios, but it was quickly thrown out.

3. It got better in the '90s -- but then it got worse.

After the Original Six lawsuit, from 1980-1995, the statistics for female directors working in television jumped from one-half of one percent to 16 percent. However, they never jumped in movies, only getting up to 3-5 percent, where they remain this day.

However, "the statistics plateaued out after 1995 and started to go backwards," Hochberg says.

4. A major motion was brought to the DGA this year... but it was promptly denied.

Maria Giese, the Category Rep for women in the DGA, says that "in the DGA studio diversity agreements, ethnic minority men and women of all ethnicities are clumped together in one category." That means that when showrunners or studio reps need to hire a minority on their show for diversity's sake, the job almost always goes to a minority male.

The numbers, again, confirm this -- men of color make up 18 percent of the population and 17 percent of TV director jobs, while women make up 51 percent of the population, but make up 14 percent of TV director jobs.

To combat this, Giese proposed a dual diversity program system to the DGA -- evening the playing field for female TV directors, and allowing women of color to compete in two categories as females and racial minorities. The motion was put in front of the DGA on April 11 of this year -- only a few weeks before the ACLU letters were sent out -- but was voted down 21-14.

Geise was later told that "if the Guild had a blacklist, Maria Giese would be on it."

5. Even directing "Twilight" might not really help you.

Catherine Hardwicke directed the first "Twilight" film -- which was a slightly popular movie, ICYMI.

She made $400 million dollars with "Twilight" her opening weekend, but since then, a female director has not directed a Young Adult movie.

"After 'Twilight,' people were excited about 'Divergent,' people were excited about 'The Hunger Games' -- in fact, people were even inspired to write those books, probably, with the success of 'Twilight,'" Hardwicke explains. "It's shown that there's a desire; there's an audience. If you see a brave, badass girl out there, people will go see the movie. It's disappointing that even though a female director directed the first 'Twilight' -- did the whole cast, set the whole look -- that none of the other 'Twilights,' or 'The Hunger Games,' or 'Divergent'... all books written by a woman and starring a woman... not one of them has been directed by a woman."

(And to make matters worse? Hardwicke got paid less for her next movie after "Twilight.")

6. Directing superhero and comic book films is nearly impossible -- for now.

Of all superhero and comic book franchise films, only one has been directed by a woman to date -- Lexi Alexander's "Punisher: War Zone." (Though of course, it's important to note that Patty Jenkins will direct "Wonder Woman" now that Michelle MacLaren has left the project. Ava DuVernay is also rumored for Marvel's "Black Panther," but that is just a rumor as of press time.)

From Alexander's experience, directing a franchise movie like this was tough -- they asked her to make the Punisher drive muscle cars and crash through windows, and when she said no to demands from the men involved in the project, "you hear the whispers of 'bitch' going through the whole room."

7. What you see onscreen actually does matter.

The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media has found some staggering statistics about women in front of the camera, and how seeing them (or not seeing them, actually) has a major influence on women in real life.

For example, Davis says that for everyone one female character, there are three males -- and crowd scenes tend to be 17 percent female. However, if there's a female director or writer leading the way, the female characters onscreen go up 10 percent.

"We're training people from the very beginning, from when they're a little toddler, to see women as less important and less competent," Davis adds. "We're not seeing women in leadership positions, so therefore, we're not seeing it in real life."

However, there's a way to change this -- the Institute has found that colleges are scrambling to keep up with the number of females applying to forensic psychology programs after the increase of female forensic psychologists shown on TV, thanks to shows like "CSI."

"If they see it, they can be it," Davis concludes.

So, why not show female directors leading the way in movies?

8. There's an easy fix!

Every single woman interviewed in the project came to the same conclusion: the solution is simple, and it's to hire women. If not for the female directors of today, who have already dealt with a whole universe of garbage, then for the up-and-coming film students, and for the woman who will see "Wonder Woman" and want to be the next Patty Jenkins.

"In the process of this, I've lost myself," Alexander, who was nominated for an Academy Award but is still hitting the same ceilings, said towards the end of the film.

"If I could go back, I would never go into film business. I would have done many, many other things."

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