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On average, film directors in Europe helmed only 1.4 pictures between 2015 and 2022, the latest European Audiovisual Observatory report finds


The report highlights the growing wave of directors moving from films to TV fiction and confirms that the so-called ‘film d’auteur’ model remains dominant in Europe

On average, film directors in Europe helmed only 1.4 pictures between 2015 and 2022, the latest European Audiovisual Observatory report finds
left to right: Directors Claire Denis and Justine Triet, and writer Umberto Contarello (© Vanity Fair Italia)

The European Audiovisual Observatory published last week a new report titled “Writers and directors of film and TV/SVOD fiction 2015-2022 figures.” Authored by Gilles Fontaine, the study provides a thorough analysis of the work of writers and directors of theatrical films and TV/SVOD fiction produced in Europe. The dataset was built using EAO’s LUMIERE database and annual survey. In total, almost 30,000 different creators were identified.

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The first key finding shows that more than 25,000 writers and over 17,000 directors were involved in the production of European theatrical and TV/SVOD fiction between 2015 and 2021. 

Next, the document highlights “the strong growth in the production of European TV/SVOD series since 2015,” which “led to them overtaking theatrical films in terms of writing and directing assignments.” Notably, TV/SVOD series were counted as one assignment, regardless of the number of episodes penned or directed.

However, the report also indicates that “the boom in TV/SVOD series production has not led to less precariousness, as the number of active screenwriters and directors in this segment has grown faster than the number of assignments.” Therefore, “theatrical films assignments are quite stable and TV/SVOD series assignments are more competitive as film directors and screenwriters move into the segment.”

Furthermore, the figures provided by the research suggest an intense turnover. In detail, “theatrical film writers and directors worked on average on 1.4 films between 2015 and 2022,” whilst “TV/SVOD fiction writers participated on average in 1.7 TV films or TV series” and “TV/SVOD fiction directors participated on average in 2.2 TV films or TV series.”

On the whole, we can also notice a larger shift of helmers moving from theatrical films to TV fiction. Specifically, “a significant share of 2015-2022 TV/SVOD fiction directors (59%) have at some point also written or directed a theatrical film.”

In conclusion, the report confirms that the so-called ‘film d’auteur model’ remains dominant. “Close to half of theatrical film writers active between 2015 and 2022 wrote only films they directed. However, the model is radically different for TV/SVOD fiction where most writers (91%) wrote for projects they did not direct,” Fontaine sums up.

The full study can be accessed here.

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