From Iceland — Number Of Women In Icelandic Film Industry Declining

Number Of Women In Icelandic Film Industry Declining

Published September 7, 2020

Catherine Magnúsdóttir
Photo by
beegaia / Pixabay

The number of female Icelandic filmmakers has decreased since 2009, according to research by Guðrún Elsa Bragadóttir, a doctoral student and lecturer in film studies.

Guðrún discloses her findings in her chapter on women in the Icelandic film industry, written for Palgrave Macmillan’s book “Women in the International Film Industry: Policy, Practice and Power”, which was recently published in the UK.

She discusses her work in an interview with RÚV. Although a lack in statistical information on the topic made Guðrún’s work more difficult, what she could find in numbers from Statistics Iceland reports illustrated how weak the position of women in the film industry is, with only one in ten productions being made by women.

Not only that, but the number of female directors appears to be decreasing as well.

Despite Icelandic filmmakers achieving greater success internationally, like editors and BAFTA award winners Valdís Óskarsdóttir and Elísabet Ronaldsdóttir, or Hildur Guðnadóttir, who won an Oscar for the filmmusic for the movie “Joker”.

“Apart from producers, where the number of women is increasing, they are decreasing in all other places in the industry,” Guðrún says. “This also applies to assistant directors and writers and in places where women are traditionally present. They have also decreased proportionally.”

Guðrún also took historical events into account for her research, such as the establishment of the Film Fund 1979 or economic shocks, which reveal a certain tendency for men, for example, to shore up their positions. “They tend to lose their jobs faster in the beginning, but then tend to get a job again and keep it. Meanwhile, the same does not apply to women,” Guðrún says. “I’m not accusing men of conspiring against women but some fraternity seems to be coming in and, without intending to, they are tightening the ranks.”

And although the situation isn’t great now, Guðrún still remains positive, saying that there’s a fighting spirit, that she believes that more can be done and that we will see many great things from Icelandic women in the future.

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