The Trusteeship

Sexism & Diversity in Film & Television


On March 17th at Maggiano’s at The Grove, The Trusteeship enjoyed a lovely dinner while getting a peek inside “the industry” from our own Director/Producer members, Martha Coolidge and Martha DeLaurentiis (see brief bios below).

In the words of Martha D., they came fully prepared with enough subject matter to teach a course! Martha D. was the moderator who asked questions of Martha C. as well as sharing her own industry insights.

A bit of what we learned:

  • The industry is still in the dark ages as far as employing women directors goes. In recent years, only 1.9% of feature films were directed by women….really?
  • Frances Ford Coppola gave Martha C. her first big break by recommending her to direct the feature film, “Valley Girls”.
  • Martha D. asked Martha C., “In film school, did you encounter sexism from professors and classmates? Having taught at AFI and Chapman recently, do you feel that it’s still common?” at which she replied, “I was raised in America where you think you can do anything and become the president.”
  • Facts: Ageism in the industry is worse than sexism and diversity. Women are driving the viewership of movies. Only 13% of directors for television programs are women and minorities. Martha C. shares she was helped out by fellow directors more than producers in her career. There are more unemployed directors now than ever before. The industry says that if a female directed movie is a success, its a fluke.


Martha DeLaurentiis: Moderating panelist, Martha, is a film producer known for her productions “Breakdown”, “Hannibal”, “Red Dragon”, and the television series “Hannibal”. Over the past 33 years with partner and husband, Dino De Laurentiis, Martha has produced, executive produced and co-produced over 40 films and miniseries.

Martha Coolidge: Contributing panelist, Martha, was the first female president of the Director’s Guild of America. She directed “Valley Girl,” “Real Genius,” “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge” and “Rambling Rose”, as well as episodes of “Weeds,” “CSI,” “Sex and the City, and “Madame Secretary”, to name a few. She is currently directing “Music, War and Love”.

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“A dynamic group of intelligent, notable, exciting, giving, caring, fun, and gifted women of different careers, background, education and ethnicity. They stand united as one voice for the betterment of all women everywhere throughout the world. It is such an honor to be a member of The Trusteeship.”

– Martha