Women in the Lithuanian Film Industry

Do women and men have equal opportunities to pursue and continue a career in the Lithuanian film industry? Does gender have an impact on cinema-related professions and the hierarchy of positions in this field? Does it play a role in obtaining funding for films or winning film awards? With this research, we sought to understand the real situation and to identify both positive and negative trends in Soviet (1947-1990) and independent Lithuanian (1991-2018) cinema.

The aim was to initiate a study that would be relevant not only in Lithuania, but also in the context of Baltic and European research on the situation of women in the film industry. Therefore, the idea of the study, developed in 2016, is closely related to the international context which served as the background in the emerging of initiatives that highlight gender and the position of women in cinema. The Lithuania-focused case study was strongly influenced by a previous study commissioned by the European Women’s Audiovisual Network (EWA) carried out in seven countries: Austria, Croatia, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, and UK. The study entitled “Where are the Women Directors in European Cinema?” analysed the situation of female directors in the film industries of those countries between 2006 and 2013. Moreover, the study was conducted in close cooperation with representatives of the film industry of both genders, continuously updated and adjusted in the light of observations made by professionals working in the field.

The research consisted of two parts: quantitative and qualitative. In the quantitative part, we used statistical information to analyse the situation of women and its changes throughout the history of Lithuanian film production. We collected and analysed data on both female and male graduates in cinema-related degrees, the composition of film crews in Soviet and independent Lithuania, state funding of cinema between 1996 and 2018, and the major Lithuanian film awards, the Silver Crane and the Oak. The quantitative research covers all the key stages of working in the film industry: professional (self-)training and the possibility to work according to one’s specialisation, obtain funding for one’s creative work and get the latter recognised/appreciated.

In the qualitative part of the research, we interviewed women who work or have worked in the Lithuanian film industry. A total of 21 female film professionals (aged 26-73) took part in the study, representing different cinema-related professions, such as directors, scriptwriters, producers, cinematographers, costume designers, film distributors, programmers, etc. The data collected was analysed using the method of thematic analysis, with which we identified five main themes reflecting the subjective experiences of women working in cinema. The main issues of most relevance to women, discussed extensively in the qualitative part of the study, include the specifics and particularity of working in the film industry, the uniqueness of the Lithuanian film community, the peculiarities of the career path of women working in film, and the diversity of attitudes towards gender equality in cinema.

The project was funded by the Lithuanian Council for Culture and implemented in cooperation with the Lithuanian Academy of Music and Theatre, the Lithuanian Office of the Creative Europe Office MEDIA and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Lithuania.

Idea authors and research leaders:
Lina Kaminskaitė, Jelena Šalaj

Lina Kaminskaitė
+370 656 2373