Recent articles on the Film Data Blog

Each week I look at a different film industry topic, focusing on the data and statistics to reveal what's really going on.

What is happening to Second Unit Directors?

Something strange is happening to the role of second unit director… and I don’t know why.

I have crunched the data in a number of different ways and spoken to a fair number of industry insiders but I remain none the wiser as to what’s causing the trend we’ll see today.

I don’t normally publish results I can’t explain, but in this case, I’m stumped.  My hope is that intrepid readers will have theories I can test or insights into what’s shifting within the industry.  (I’ll be sure to update this article if I do ever find a satisfying answer).

Let’s start by familiarising ourselves with the role of second unit director and then we can turn to the mysterious trend.

What is a …
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Are virus-based movies spreading?

Today’s topic was suggested by a number of readers, all of whom asked a variation of “What has been the effect of the Coronavirus on movies featuring viral outbreaks?”

Most had presumably read the news that the 2011 movie Contagion had (albeit briefly) reached number 10 in the iTunes chart.  This is backed up by Google Trends data which shows that interest in the movie is sitting at a five-year high and related searches include: “Coronavirus”, “Wuhan” and “bubonic plague”.

The plot of Contagion is eerily similar to the current Coronavirus outbreak, save for the fact that in the movie Gwyneth Paltrow gets the virus whereas in real life she got a Netflix series.

But what of other virus-based movies?  Which are the …

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How well are women represented among short filmmakers?

Last week, I shared research I have conducted into the number of short films made over the past two decades.  I focused on live-action shorts which had played at least once at any film festival.

While production levels are interesting, they were not the original reason I conducted the project.  I was responding to requests to look at the gender of short filmmakers.

I have studied gender in the film industry a number of times in the past (links at the end of the article) but only briefly with regard to short films.  Shorts are an important data point to track when seeking to build up an accurate picture of gender among filmmakers.

For many filmmakers, short films represent the leap between their …

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How many short films are made each year?

Short films are a medium close to my heart.

They provide emerging filmmakers with an opportunity to practice their craft, explore their ideas, meet peers and showcase their abilities to audiences and the industry.

There’s nothing quite like watching a festival programme of shorts and being transported to a different vision of reality every ten minutes or so.

But they are poorly tracked by researchers and industry watchers.  The nature of short films makes them hard to quantify and there is rarely a commercial drive to invest the time needed to dig deeper.

To go a small way to redress this oversight, I have sought to get a sense of the scale of short filmmaking.

How many short films are made each year?

This is a …

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