This year’s Sundance Film Festival is stuffed to the gills with buzzy films, hot sales titles, and hits-in-the-making that all happen to be directed by women, the numbers don’t lie. Nearly half of all projects at this year’s festival were directed by women, with a new high-water mark both in the features space (55 percent directed by women) and overall competition titles (56 percent directed by women). And while this year’s breakdown of filmmaker demographics is revelatory on its own, that’s not the only reason why the 2022 festival has felt so special.
Though this year sees a slight fall in overall female-directed projects, women are still dominating this year’s festival, and that’s a trend that goes far beyond the numbers. It’s not just demographic breakdowns that are changing at Sundance, it’s also the films that are earning the most accolades and interest, with many of this year’s early standouts hailing from female filmmakers. Over the past five years, the number of female filmmakers debuting work at the festival has ticked dramatically upward, though 2022 is the first time their films have been the majority in both overall features and the five competition categories. Last year, 53 percent of the films in the festival lineup were directed by women, marking the first time women were in the majority across the entire festival (including shorts and New Frontier projects).
The year before, the festival hit parity, with women representing 50 percent of directors for the first time ever, though just 29 percent of the competition lineup was helmed by women.