Text written in relation to the Sound Directors Table in light of the 30th Anniversary of the Image and Sound Design degree (UBA). October 2019.
As a result of the organization of this roundtable– in which four sound directors with outstanding influence in the era of the new Argentine cinema of the 1990s– we noticed it was a panel purely formed by men and we asked ourselves why. First of all, rule out that this is a deliberate exclusion on the part of the organizers, we believe that it responds to the fact that at that historical moment the participation of women was scarce and this is why it is difficult to find colleagues with 20, 30, or 40 years of experience as the ones summoned.
Being conscious that nowadays the percentage of participation is higher, we thought of analyzing how this percentage is formed and if we are effectively making room for it.
We took the role of female sound directors as an object of study, and observed that not only is the number of women performing this task lower than that of men, but if we restrict this to big budget films, the number drops to zero.
Here are the details of our assessment:
Starting from the Condor Awards (as they are representative of medium and big budget films) where in 15 years of awards there have been 79 nominations for men, 3 for women and 2 for mixed co-direction. Looking at this list, female sound directors seemed to be practically non-existent (it is worth adding that among the winners the number of women is 0). We widened our gaze to study the Argentinean competition of BAFICI and Mar del Plata -usually made up of medium and small budget films- where we found 28 films with sound direction by women and 121 by men. The numbers begin to approach reality. To go to the other extreme, we also reviewed the list of top-grossing films: of the 40 most-seen films, only 2 have sound direction by a woman.
In summary: in big films 2% of women, in big and medium films 5%, in medium and small films 19%, it is likely that if we could survey data from only the lower budget films, this percentage would increase.
Add to this the significant statistic from the 2018 ASA Survey: “while most women are self-employed, almost none have their own equipment, while most men do.»
In conclusion: Although women have been incorporated into the industry, and this incorporation will probably continue to increase, they are offered positions of lower rank or projects with smaller budgets, with worse conditions, and less exposure or value in terms of curriculum.
This leads us to conclude that the change, the growing inclusion, and the deconstruction, must entail a fairer distribution of resources, in terms of who decides how to spend the money our industry allocates to the sound of our films.
ASA Board of Directors
October 15th, 2019