Entertainment & Arts

Amma Asante: Female directors 'not trusted' with big films

Amma Asante Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Asante spoke at the Empire Live film festival in London

Female film directors are under-represented because they are struggling to gain the trust of men at the top, Amma Asante has said.

The director said women were being held back because of "misguided distrust" in their ability to make box office hits.

"It comes down to who they feel safe about in terms of flying the plane," Asante said of top industry figures.

"Even when women are able, or allowed, to make movies we are making certain types of movies."

The Belle director added women are at a particular disadvantage where big blockbuster films are concerned because "there's money to be supposedly lost or earned".

Next month, Asante's latest movie A United Kingdom will become the first film with a black female director to open the London Film Festival.

'Misguided distrust'

Speaking after a panel discussion about sexism in film at the Empire Live film event, Asante said: "It's a trust issue in terms of the powers that be and whether or not they believe that these movies can sell, will sell, in terms of the female narrative and how much they trust women behind the camera when it comes to directing.

"We know that it's a misguided distrust in many ways because we know that women-directed movies don't necessarily make less money than your average movie that's directed by a man - but for some reason there's that fear and that I think is something that has to be dealt with."

Asante's comments come after research found "systemic" gender imbalance in the entertainment industry.

The research, published by theatre company Tonic, which works with arts organisations on achieving gender equality, focused on low levels of female employment at the National Theatre prior to 2015.

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