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IMDb Adopts ‘F-Rating’ to Make It Easier to Find Films Directed by Women

Columbia Pictures
Columbia Pictures

It’s no secret that women have it a little tougher than men when it comes to directing movies. In 2015, women helmed 9% of the top 250 domestic grossing films – that’s 22 movies out of 250. A lot of movie fans have taken it upon themselves to seek out and watch more female-directed or otherwise female-led films, but that sometimes isn’t easy due to the extreme lack of women in charge of movies that Hollywood is still experiencing. IMDb has just adopted the “F-rating” to highlight movies directed by, written by, and starring women, and how we still have a long way to go before the split is 50/50.

The F-rating started out in 2014 at the Bath Film Festival in England, and has since spread to a number of British sites and festivals before making its way across the pond to us. Movies receive the rating if they are directed by a woman, written by a woman, or feature a woman in a prominent starring role. The rating was inspired, unsurprisingly, by cartoonist Alison Bechdel’s Bechdel Test, which a movie passes only if it features two or more named female characters discussing something other than a man.

Right now, IMDb has given the F-rating to 21,800 movies. It doesn’t have its own page yet, but it can be found in the keywords or just by typing “f-rating” into the search bar. Holly Tarquini, director of the Bath Film Festival and creator of the rating, told the BBC that the rating “is intended to make people talk about the representation of women on and off screen.”

It’s exciting when new organizations decide to join us in shining a light both on the brilliant work women are doing in film and on how far the film industry lags behind most other industries, when it comes to providing equal opportunities to women. But our real goal is to reach the stage when the F-Rating is redundant because 50% of the stories we see on screen are told by and about film’s unfairly under-represented half of the population – women.

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