Female filmmakers are breaking out at this year's Toronto film festival, reflecting a growing worldwide trend that could soon result in a first directing Oscar for a woman.
Women still account for an estimated 10 percent of directors in Hollywood and elsewhere. Australia and New Zealand are the exception, with an unexplained, more even male-female ratio of directors.
In a sign of things to come, however, female filmmakers this week occupy some of Toronto's most coveted spots: screenings and press conferences in the first few days, when industry buyers and media are paying the most attention.
"There's a new generation of young female filmmakers emerging," said festival programmer Jane Schoettle. "And this generation is insisting on expressing itself."
Schoettle also credits in part new film technologies that have made movie-making more accessible.
"People who are disenfranchised, particularly women in socially-restricted countries, are gravitating to the medium to be heard," she said.
The Toronto film festival does not choose films to showcase based on a gender quota and there is no difference in the quality or feel of films directed by women, she noted.
But women are generally less afraid to tackle more difficult subjects "because they have less to lose," Schoettle said.