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Gender-Balanced Films And TV Projects Receive ReFrame Recognition


Let's be frank. Many movies have a certain pattern. There's the man in the lead, his sidekick, some other guys, maybe just one woman. Now a dozen movies are being honored for doing it differently. They get a stamp of approval from the Sundance Institute, Women In Film and IMDbPro. As NPR's Mandalit del Barco reports, the ReFrame stamp is meant to recognize gender-balanced film and TV.

MANDALIT DEL BARCO, BYLINE: 2017's "Wonder Woman" starred Gal Gadot and was directed by Patty Jenkins and produced by Deborah Snyder. Women headed up the music, casting, costume and production design departments.


GAL GADOT: (As Wonder Woman) If no one else will defend the world, then I must.

DEL BARCO: All that woman power earned "Wonder Woman" a ReFrame stamp. Other winners included "Lady Bird" and "The Post." The honor was created in response to the dismal and well-documented statistics about women in the film industry, says producer Cathy Schulman.

CATHY SCHULMAN: We've turned to a radical means of recognition because this is a hidden bias we've been unable to crack. It's cronyism, a lack of pipeline investment and all sorts of other factors.

DEL BARCO: Schulman is the president of the advocacy group Women In Film, which spearheaded the ReFrame initiative along with the Sundance Institute. She says for years they've tried to convince studios and productions to hire more women.

SCHULMAN: And the flatlined results have called out for more drastic measures.

DEL BARCO: That includes this stamp of approval, something like a LEED certificate for green buildings or a top grade by health inspectors. In this case, the film industry database IMDbPro calculated how many women were hired as actors, writers, directors and other key roles in the top 100 box office films last year. More points were given to productions that hired women of color.


REGINA HALL: (As Ryan Pierce) We deserve this. So let's go.

DEL BARCO: The comedy "Girls Trip" also earned a stamp. Screenwriter Tracy Oliver says that proves the production company did the right thing.

TRACY OLIVER: When you're looking at lists of available writers that have been vetted by studios, or available directors, actors, various crew people, it's mostly men. So it takes a lot more digging and a lot more work to seek out women, but there are talented women everywhere.

DEL BARCO: Soon ReFrame stamps will be awarded to female-friendly independent films and TV shows across platforms. Mandalit del Barco, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.