Calling the Shots: Women and Contemporary Film Culture in the UK, was a research project that investigated what is distinctive about the work of women in British cinema and what obstacles women face in the industry.

This innovative research project ran for 15 years, conducting primary research through a detailed statistical analysis of British films from 2000-2015.

Partnering with major stakeholders within the British film and television, including the BFI, Women in Film and Television UK, BECTU, Birds Eye View, and Harbour Lights Cinema.

Project Impact
Women are a drastically under-utilised resource for the UK film industry. This project investigated three interrelated areas that have distinct impacts:

  1. Detailed the precise nature of women’s employment status across different roles in the industry, relevant to funders, financiers and policy-makers.
  2. The project highlighted the importance of promoting equality in the film industry through analysis and celebration of the interesting work which is produced when women are enabled to flourish in areas of production in which they are commonly under-represented.
  3. Our research provides UK-specific information which will feed into the work of charities and organisations promoting women’s filmmaking in the UK

The data collected produced annual reports detailing how many women worked in key production roles on British films released between 2000 – 2015, you can view them in more detail on our Reports page..

Project Interviews
We conducted interviews with 50 women in six key filmmaking roles. The interviews were recorded and helped to build a story of women’s varied experiences in British film in the first part of this century. All recordings will be made available to future scholars through the BECTU History Project archive and on our Filmmakers Interview page.

Impact Events
The project hosted a range of impact events at prestigious film festivals and various universities within the UK :
Screenplay: Shetland Film Festival
The Aesthetica Short Film Festival
Southampton International Women’s Week
The Institute of Contemporary Arts
The British Film Institute
BBC Woman’s Hour
Harbour Lights Picturehouse Cinema
Bird’s Eye View Films
Women in Film and Television.

Screenplay Shetland Film Festival
Shelley and Linda interview Joanna Hogg and Clio Barnard at Screenplay in Shetland

Funding through Arts & Humanities Research Council
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Funding was achieved through a grant from the Arts & Humanities Research Council totalling £589,710.