Women direct only one out of ten Icelandic films

NEWS | 7 March 2018

Since the mid-1950s, almost 200 Icelandic full-length cinematographic feature films have been produced in Iceland; and nearly all of them have been directed by men. This is according to new data from Statistics Iceland, covering seven decades of Icelandic film production.

The first Icelandic full-length feature film premiered in 1949, and the three decades that followed saw only eight domestically produced feature films.

But since 1980 every year has seen premieres of Icelandic films, often more than just one or two a year. The number of premieres was the highest in 2011, when ten films were released for the cinema.

Figure 1. Number of full-length Icelandic feature films premiering 1949-2017          


Nine out of ten films directed by men
Among the 191 films since the mid-1950s, male directors greatly outnumber female ones. Of the total number of directors, there are only 25 women compared to 177 men; i.e., one woman director for every nine male ones. (The total number of directors is higher than the total number of films, as some films are co-directed.)

Fig.2. Directors of Icelandic full-length feature films premiering 1949-2017, by gender (%)

In recent years, the share of women as directors has even decreased somewhat; it was the highest in the 1990s, when women directed over 20 per cent of the films, compared to 6 per cent since 2010.

Read more at Statistic Iceland’s website


About the data: The Statistics Iceland film report also provides data on film genres (of which drama is the most common) and co-productions with foreign partnership (in decline since 2010). Full-length feature film is defined here as cinematographic film which at least one hour running time. TV movies and documentaries are hence excluded.