ReFrame and IMDbPro See Slight Decrease in Gender-Balanced Hiring in the Top 100 Films of 2021, with New Report Released on the First Day of Women’s History Month

28 of the 100 most popular films of 2021 meet ReFrame Stamp criteria, down from 2020’s record high of 29 films but a 133% increase over 2017

2021 ReFrame Stamp recipients include Academy Award® nominees The Power of The Dog, CODA, and West Side Story

LOS ANGELES–(BUSINESS WIRE)–ReFrame™ and IMDbPro today announced that 28% of the 100 most popular films of 2021 meet ReFrame Stamp criteria for gender-balanced productions. This is a 3.4% decrease from 2020’s list which featured a record high of 29 Stamped films, and a 133% increase from the first ReFrame Stamp report on the Top 100 films of 2017, when 12 films received the Stamp. ReFrame determined which productions met Stamp criteria based on an extensive analysis of data provided by IMDbPro, including a list of the 100 most popular films of 2021, which is based on the actual page views of the more than 200 million monthly visitors to IMDb worldwide.

Additional key findings of the report include:

  • 31 films written by women, 47.6% increase over 21 in 2020
  • 9 films written by women of color, 125% increase over 4 films in 2020
  • 14 films directed by women, 17.6% decrease from 17 in 2020
  • 4 films directed by women of color, 33.3% decrease from 6 in 2020
  • 6 films with women cinematographers, 14.3% decrease from 7 films in 2020
  • 3 films with women composers, 50% decrease from 6 women in 2020
  • 9 films with women VFX supervisors, 10% decrease from 10 women in 2020
  • 3 of the 10 2022 Academy Award nominees for Best Picture earned the stamp, 5% increase over 2 of 8 nominees in 2021
  • 3 of the 10 titles with budgets over $50 million earned the Stamp, 10% increase over 2 of 10 in 2019 and 2020

In addition to reviewing data on above-the-line roles of director, writer, producer and lead cast, ReFrame reviewed each film’s full team of department heads. As similarly indicated in the recently released “Inclusion in the Director’s Chair” report from Dr. Stacy Smith and the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, ReFrame’s analysis also noted that female directors hit an all-time high in representation in 2020, and that this declined slightly in 2021 but still shows sustained growth. ReFrame’s analysis indicates that this growth has not been achieved in other key roles, including cinematographers, composers, and VFX supervisors.

“The ReFrame Stamp is a measure of who is being hired in key roles across a production, and reviewing each year’s most popular films through this lens gives us a snapshot of how much further we need to go to reach gender parity,” said Andria Wilson Mirza, ReFrame Director. “In the past five years, increased research, investment and industry initiatives have contributed to sustained growth opportunities for women directors, but women cinematographers, composers, and those in the VFX field remain seriously underrepresented. Consider reframing the findings this way: of the 100 most popular films last year, 94 had male cinematographers, 97 had male composers, and 91 had male VFX supervisors.”

The IMDbPro list of the 100 most popular films of the year includes productions from all major studios. In a studio-by-studio analysis, Disney and its subsidiaries released the highest percentage of Stamped films: of their 15 releases that made the Top 100 List, 7 earned the Stamp (46.7%). Netflix had the most entries on the Top 100 list with 28 films, and the most Stamps earned of any single studio with 10 (35.7%).

“Stories that allow people to see themselves reflected on screen are incredibly powerful, and research shows that including more perspectives behind the camera leads to better representation in front of the camera,” said Lisa Nishimura, Vice President, Documentary and Independent Films, Netflix. “We’re grateful to ReFrame for continuing to celebrate and highlight the power of gender-balanced productions.”

Full details of the ReFrame Stamp analysis can be viewed in the ReFrame Report HERE.

The ReFrame Stamp is a mark of distinction for projects that have achieved gender-balanced hiring, based on intersectional criteria developed by ReFrame, its ReFrame Ambassadors and other industry experts. ReFrame (the screen industry’s gender equity coalition founded by Women In Film and Sundance Institute) and IMDbPro (the essential resource for entertainment industry professionals) report annually on both film and television productions that earn the Stamp.

ReFrame encourages all narrative features (live-action and animated) to implement equitable hiring practices and earn the ReFrame Stamp. In addition to the 28 Top 100 films receiving the ReFrame Stamp, more than 68 additional films released in 2021 also met Stamp criteria, including The Lost Daughter (Netflix, Dir. Maggie Gyllenhaal), Passing (Netflix, Dir. Rebecca Hall), and Zola (A24, Dir. Janicza Bravo). A list of all 2021 Stamped films is available on ReFrame’s website and at

Films in the 2021 Top 100 list that meet ReFrame Stamp criteria:

Black Widow / USA 2021 (Director: Cate Shortland, Screenwriter: Eric Pearson, Producer: Kevin Feige, Distributor: Walt Disney Studios)

Candyman / USA 2021 (Director: Nia DaCosta, Screenwriters: Jordan Peele, Win Rosenfeld, Nia DaCosta, Producers: Ian Coope, Jordan Peele, Win Rosenfeld, Distributor: NBCUniversal)

Cinderella / USA 2021 (Director: Kay Cannon, Screenwriters: Kay Cannon, Producers: James Corden, Jonathan Kadin, Shannon McIntosh, Leo Pearlman, Distributor: Amazon Studios)

CODA / USA 2021 (Director: Sian Heder, Screenwriters: Sian Heder, Producers: Fabrice Gianfermi, Philippe Rousselet, Jérôme Seydoux, Patrick Wachsberger, Distributor: Apple)

Cruella / USA 2021 (Director: Craig Gillespie, Screenwriters: Dana Fox, Tony McNamara, Producers: Kristin Burr, Distributor: Walt Disney Studios)

Encanto / USA 2021 (Director: Byron Howard, Jared Bush, Screenwriters: Charise Castro Smith, Jared Bush, Producers: Yvett Merino, Clark Spencer, Distributor: Walt Disney Studios)

Eternals / USA 2021 (Director: Chloé Zhao, Screenwriters: Patrick Burleigh, Ryan Firpo, Kaz Firpo, Producers: Kevin Feige, Nate Moore, Distributor: Walt Disney Studios)

Fear Street: 1978 / USA 2021 (Director: Leigh Janiak, Screenwriters: Zak Olkewicz, Leigh Janiak, Producers: Peter Chernin, David Ready, Jenno Topping, Distributor: Netflix)

Fear Street: 1994 / USA 2021 (Director: Leigh Janiak, Screenwriters: Phil Graziadei, Leigh Janiak, Producers: Peter Chernin, David Ready, Jenno Topping, Distributor: Netflix)

House of Gucci / USA 2021 (Director: Ridley Scott, Screenwriters: Becky Johnston, Roberto Bentivegna, Producers: Giannina Facio, Mark Huffam, Ridley Scott, Kevin J. Walsh, Distributor: United Artists Releasing)

In the Heights / USA 2021 (Director: Jon M. Chu, Screenwriters: Quiara Alegría Hudes, Producers: Anthony Bregman, Mara Jacobs, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Scott Sanders, Distributor: WarnerMedia

Intrusion / USA 2021 (Director: Adam Salky, Screenwriters: Chris Sparling, Producers: Kyle Benn, Russell Hollander, Alexandra Milchan, Matthew Myers, Chris Sparling, Josh Weinstock, Distributor: Netflix)

Jolt / USA 2021 (Director: Tanya Wexler, Screenwriters: Scott Wascha, Producers: David Bernardi, Sherryl Clark, Yariv Lerner, Robert Van Norden, Les Weldon, Distributor: Amazon)

Last Night in Soho / USA 2021 (Director: Edgar Wright, Screenwriters: Krysty Wilson-Cairns, Producers: Edgar Wright, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Nira Park, Distributor: NBCUniversal)

Love Hard / USA 2021 (Director: Hernan Jimenez, Screenwriters: Daniel Mackey, Rebecca Ewing, Producers: McG, Mary Viola, Distributor: Netflix)

Malcolm & Marie / USA 2021 (Director: Sam Levinson, Screenwriters: Sam Levinson, Producers: Ashley Levinson, Kevin Turen, Distributor: Netflix)

Malignant / USA 2021 (Director: James Wan, Screenwriters: Akela Cooper, Producers: Michael Clear, James Wan, Distributor: WarnerMedia)

Nomadland / USA 2021 (Director: Chloé Zhao, Screenwriters: Chloé Zhao, Producers: Peter Spears, Chloé Zhao, Mollye Asher, Frances McDormand, Distributor: Walt Disney Studios)

Raya and the Last Dragon / USA 2021 (Director: Carlos López Estrada, Don Hall, Screenwriters: Qui Nguyen, Adele Lim, Producers: Peter Del Vecho, Osnat Shurer, Distributor: Walt Disney Studios)

Reminiscence / USA 2021 (Director: Lisa Joy, Screenwriters: Lisa Joy, Producers: Michael De Luca, Lisa Joy, Jonathan Nolan, Aaron Ryder, Distributor: WarnerMedia)

The Dig / USA 2021 (Director: Simon Stone, Screenwriters: Moira Buffini, Producers: Gabrielle Tana, Distributor: Netflix)

The Forever Purge / USA 2021 (Director: Everardo Gout, Screenwriters: James DeMonaco, Producers: James DeMonaco, Sébastien K. Lemercier, Distributor: NBCUniversal)

The Matrix Resurrections / USA 2021 (Director: Lana Wachowski, Screenwriters: Lana Wachowski, David Mitchell, Aleksandar Hemon, Producers: Lana Wachowski, James McTeigue, Distributor: WarnerMedia)

The Power of the Dog / USA 2021 (Director: Jane Campion, Screenwriters: Jane Campion, Producers: Jane Campion, Iain Canning, Roger Frappier, Tanya Seghatchian, Emile Sherman, Distributor: Netflix)

The Unforgivable / USA 2021 (Director: Nora Fingscheidt, Screenwriters: Peter Craig, Hillary Seitz, Courtenay Miles, Producers: Sandra Bullock, Graham King, Distributor: Netflix)

Things Heard & Seen / USA 2021 (Director: Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini, Screenwriters: Shari Springer Berman, Robert Pulcini, Producers: Stefanie Azpiazu, Anthony Bregman, Julie Cohen, Peter Cron, Distributor: Netflix)

Vivo / USA 2021 (Director: Kirk DeMicco, Brandon Jeffords, Screenwriters: Kirk DeMicco, Quiara Alegría Hudes, Producers: Rich Moore, Lisa Stewart, Michelle Wong, Distributor: Netflix)

West Side Story / USA 2021 (Director: Steven Spielberg, Screenwriters: Tony Kushner, Producers: Kristie Macosko Krieger, Steven Spielberg, Distributor: Walt Disney Studios)

About ReFrame

Founded and led by Sundance Institute and Women In Film, Los Angeles (WIF), ReFrame is an initiative that employs a unique strategy: a peer-to-peer approach, in which ReFrame Ambassadors engage with senior industry decision-makers at over 50 Partner Companies to implement ReFrame systemic change programs. The initiative’s goals are to provide research, support, and a practical framework that can be used by Partner companies to mitigate bias during the creative decision-making and hiring process, celebrate successes, and measure progress toward a more gender-representative industry on all levels.

The ReFrame Council, which leads the strategic direction of the organization with ReFrame Director Andria Wilson Mirza, includes the initiative’s founding members, WIF Executive Director Kirsten Schaffer, former Sundance CEO Keri Putnam, and Oscar-winning producer, WIF President Emeritas and founder of Welle Entertainment Cathy Schulman, alongside Channing Dungey (Chairman, Warner Bros. Television Group), Franklin Leonard (Founder, The Black List), Rena Ronson (Head of UTA Independent Film Group), and Michelle Satter (Founding Senior Director, Artist Programs, Sundance Institute).

ReFrame is made possible by support from The David and Lura Lovell Foundation; The Harnisch Foundation; Hulu; IMDbPro; Delta Air Lines; and the Women at Sundance Leadership Council.

About IMDbPro

Celebrating its 20th anniversary, IMDbPro ( is the essential resource for entertainment industry professionals. This membership-based service includes comprehensive information and tools that are designed to help entertainment industry professionals achieve success throughout all stages of their career. IMDbPro offers members the following: detailed contact and representation information; tools to manage and showcase their IMDb profile, including the ability to select their primary images and the credits they are best “known for”; exclusive STARmeter rankings that are determined by page views on IMDb; the IMDbPro app for iPhone, iPad and Android; IMDbPro Track, which empowers members to receive personalized entertainment industry news and notifications on the people and film and TV projects they want to follow; a convenient tool that generates custom digital assets to promote their work on social media and other platforms; and free access to premium and secure video and voice meetings and chat messaging via Amazon Chime. Additional IMDbPro services include Box Office Mojo (, the leading online source of box-office data. IMDbPro is a division of IMDb (, the #1 movie website in the world with a combined web and mobile audience of more than 200 million monthly visitors. Follow IMDbPro on Facebook (, Instagram ( and Twitter (

About IMDb

IMDb is the world’s most popular and authoritative source for information on movies, TV shows and celebrities. Products and services to help fans decide what to watch and where to watch it include: the IMDb website for desktop and mobile devices; apps for iOS and Android; and X-Ray on Prime Video. IMDb also offers a free streaming channel, IMDb TV, and produces IMDb original video series and podcasts. For entertainment industry professionals, IMDb provides IMDbPro and Box Office Mojo. IMDb licenses information from its vast and authoritative database to third-party businesses worldwide; learn more at IMDb is an Amazon company. For more information, visit and follow @IMDb.

About Sundance Institute

As a champion and curator of independent stories for the stage and screen, Sundance Institute provides and preserves the space for artists in film, theatre, film composing, and digital media to create and thrive. Founded in 1981 by Robert Redford, the Institute’s signature Labs, granting, and mentorship programs, dedicated to developing new work, take place throughout the year in the U.S. and internationally. Sundance Co//ab, a digital community platform, brings artists together to learn from each other and Sundance Advisors and connect in a creative space, developing and sharing works in progress. The Sundance Film Festival and other public programs connect audiences and artists to ignite new ideas, discover original voices, and build a community dedicated to independent storytelling. Sundance Institute has supported such recent projects as Clemency, I Carry You With Me, Never Rarely Sometimes Always, Zola, On The Record, Boys State, American Factory, The Farewell, Honeyland, One Child Nation, The Souvenir, The Infiltrators, Sorry to Bother You, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Hereditary, Call Me By Your Name, Get Out, The Big Sick, Mudbound, Fruitvale Station, City So Real, Top of the Lake, Between the World & Me, Wild Goose Dreams and Fun Home. Join Sundance Institute on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

About WIF

Founded in 1973 as Women In Film, Los Angeles, WIF advocates for and advances the careers of women working in the screen industries, to achieve parity and transform culture. We support women and people of marginalized genders in front of and behind the camera and across all levels of experience. We work to change culture through our distinguished pipeline programs; we advocate for gender parity through research, education, and media campaigns; and we build a community centered around these goals. Membership is open to all screen industry professionals, and more information can be found on our website: Follow WIF on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.


For Women In Film / ReFrame:
Catherine Olim, Rogers & Cowan PMK

[email protected]com

For IMDbPro:
Lindsey Brown / Andy Gelb, SLATE P.R.

[email protected] / [email protected]

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