In terms of women working behind the scenes, the percentage of women working as producers doesn’t seem that bad when compared to female directors, or cinematographers for example. However when you realise that still means that only 27% of producers in the top 700 films from 2014, there is still a lot of work to do.
Despite those disheartening figures, there are a few high-profile female producers that are leading the way, with Kathleen Kennedy being front of the pack. Kennedy has had a hand in bringing some of the biggest (and best quality, we’re not talking Transformers 2 here) blockbusters from the past thirty years to the big screen.
At the beginning of her career she worked as Steven Spielberg’s secretary on 1941, before they both realised that her production skills were better than her typing skills. She was credited as Spielberg’s assistant on Raiders of the Lost Ark, and then got her first producing credit on E.T. the Extra Terristrial. Over thirty years, the pair have worked on dozens of projects together, including The Color Purple, Empire of the Sun, Hook, Jurassic Park, and many more, as well as co-founding Amblin Entertainment. Also during this time, Kennedy set up a production company with her husband, Frank Marshall, and helped bring many criticially acclaimed films such as, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly and Ponyo to the big screen.
In 2012 she began working with the other giant blockbuster maker, George Lucas, and was named co-chair of Lucasfilm, before eventually taking over the role of president later that year when Lucas resigned. This gave Kennedy one of her biggest challenges yet, helming the return of the Star Wars films to the big screen.
Four years, five Academy Award nominations, and countless broken box office records later, Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens is an incredible success, cementing Kathleen Kennedy’s place as one of the most powerful women in Hollywood.
“Believe and set your sights on the fact that you can do it. It’s certainly a goal any woman can have, just like any man.” – Kathleen Kennedy