CAMEo - Research Institute for Cultural and Media Economies

$100 million women

This project investigated the careers of Hollywood’s women directors, and in particular those who have grossed over $100million at the US domestic box office with a single movie. These women have been commercially very successful but often make low brow films and as such are largely absent in histories of Hollywood or academic work women’s films that focuses on the political potential of women’s filmmaking. This project used archival research, first person interviews and reception studies to offer a history that focuses on the production contexts in which these women worked, their careers and films, and the critical reception of their work.

At present there is no overview of the work of Hollywood’s most prominent female directors (such as Penny Marshall, Betty Thomas, Amy Heckerling, Nancy Meyers, Nora Ephron, Mimi Leder, Katherine Hardwick and Sam Taylor-Johnson). In a context in which the treatment of women in Hollywood were called into question by both academic critique and the mainstream press, this project looked to unpick the ways in which the critical and popular discourse surrounding female directors, and their films, actually works to enhance gender divisions.

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