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Stories to Inspire: International Women’s Day 2021

By Danny Kelly

08 March 2021

Today is International Women’s Day and we’re feeling encouraged and motivated by the array of initiatives, filmmakers and viewing recommendations shared across social media! From Rose Glass’s thrilling debut Saint Maud to the young break-out cast in Sarah Gavron’s triumphant Rocks, the last twelve months as seen some exciting productions that will surely act as inspiration for many women looking to launch their careers within the industry. 

However, there’s still a long way to go. With the growth of streaming services, we now have more films at our fingertips than ever before – but how many of your favourite films are actually made by women? Here are some facts to consider…

Only five women have ever been nominated for Best Director at the Academy Awards. Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker in 2010 is the only female director to win the Oscar in the ceremony’s 93-year history. 

•  In 78 years, only eight female directors have been nominated for a Golden Globe, and only two woman had ever won in the best director category – Barbra Streisand in 1983 for the film Yentl and now Chloé Zhao in 2021 for Nomadland. 

•  In the last 10 years, there have been 50 BAFTA nominations for Best Director… only two of them have been women – Kathryn Bigelow in 2009 and 2012 for Zero Dark Thirty, and Lynne Ramsay in 2011 for We Need To Talk About Kevin.


So, where are the women?

Our Deputy  School Director, Rachel Wood,  said: “Our student body is about 50-50 split when it comes to gender, this hasn’t happened by accident and it shouldn’t be exceptional.    

“Historically, the film industry could have been considered a bit of a ‘closed’ shop. In that respect it hasn’t been that far removed professions such as Law or even Medicine.  

“At MetFilm School we’ve been trying to change that for a few years and take some real, positive action on addressing the ‘closedness’ of the industry, and help to create a diverse and exciting pipeline of future talent. We have worked hard to increase our tutor gender balance in the past two years – particularly in the area of directing.  We also now have 73 regular or visiting female tutors and 17 of those are directing tutors.”

Voices That Matter Scholarship – Women in the Screen Industries

In 2009, we launched a special  Voices That Matter Scholarship  to open up opportunities to students with something important to say, who would not otherwise be able to access the unique educational experience we offer – whether that’s because of funding, political or personal circumstances, societal prejudice.  

In 2019 we launched our  Voices That Matter Scholarship: Women in the Screen Industries, supported by MTV Staying Alive Foundation – one scholarship per campus: one in London and one in Berlin.  We wanted to open up the school to people who have through no fault of their own a greater barrier than others to overcome. Applications for this year’s award are open until the 30th April 2021. 

Meet Hyunj Lee and Sondos Shabayek – our 2020 Voices That Matter Scholarship recipients in London and Berlin respectively.


Ten graduate stories to inspire

While we fully support International Women’s Day, we also believe in celebrating the work of women in the Film & TV industry all year round. Here’s a list of recent alumni profiles, interviews and successes that we think you should know about!

Martha TrevesMA Directing graduate in Berlin whose debut short film To The Sea was selected for this year’s London Short Film Festival.

Parmida HamdollazadehkiveBA Practical Filmmaking graduate whose independently made documentary Contact told the story of a high-school drama class’s dedication to holding their annual musical around lockdown restrictions.

Mickey LaiMA Film & Television Production graduate whose graduation film The Cloud is Still There went on a lengthy film festival run, including Korea’s prestigious Busan International Film Festival, the BAFTA-qualifying Norwich Film Festival and Seattle’s National Film Festival for Talented Youth.

Tunde AladeseBA Practical Filmmaking graduate in Berlin who during lockdown was involved in the writing and directing of the mini-series, MTV Shuga Alone Together.

Elin MartinsenMA Directing graduate who worked as a Script Supervisor on MetFilm Production‘s recent cinema release, 23 Walks. She was one of our 17 students and graduates to work on the film.

Maya ArmonBA Practical Filmmaking graduate whose graduation film Bechora was an Official Selection at the BFI London Film Festival 2020.

Genevieve SkehanMA Directing graduate who talked to us about her growing career in commercial work, creating content for businesses such as Samsung, HULU and Bank of America, and in 2019 coordinated her first Super Bowl commercial for Hyundai, starring Chris Evans.

Polly Hayes MA Post Production graduate who had tons of great advice having worked for over three years as an editor at the award-winning video production agency, Spirit Media.

Francesca ZerenghiMA Cinematography graduate who, in addition to her freelance work, launched Cinegirl – an online magazine dedicated to women working within the Film & TV industry.

Juliana MatsubaraMA Directing graduate and now ScreenSpace tutor who was a finalist for International Alumni of the Year at the third annual PIEoneer Awards.

Do you have a story to tell? Download a prospectus or find out more about our Voices That Matter Scholarship: Women in the Screen Industries – applications are open until 30th April 2021.