After spending seven years producing mostly male-centric films through Gary Sanchez Productions, Will Ferrell, Adam McKay, and Chris Henchy have formed a new female-driven division, Gloria Sanchez Productions. Headed up by Emmy- and Tony-nominated producer Jessica Elbaum, the production company will focus on creating female-led film and television projects.
Elbaum, who has worked at Gary Sanchez since its inception, suggested the idea for the sister division, which will attempt to combat the gross inequality that is systemic in film and television. As recently reported, women account for only 14 percent of primetime episodic TV directors (and of that percentage, only 2 percent are women of color). Similarly, women make up only 16 percent of overall employment in the film industry. This of course, comes with the gentle reminder that women make up 50 percent of the general population.
In addition to helping Ferrell bring his one-man show to Broadway, Elbaum has served as a producer on Gary Sanchez films like Anchorman 2, The Other Guys, and Step Brothers—male-driven films with masculine pronouns built right into the titles. Elbaum also produced Bachelorette, which was written and directed by Leslye Headland and starred four female leads, and the kind of project Gloria Sanchez will be looking to produce in the future.
The Gloria Sanchez announcement is part of a growing dissatisfaction with gender inequality in media. Recently, BBC Television banned all-male panels on British comedy-quiz shows. Geena Davis, meanwhile, has become a public advocate for equality, and her Institute On Gender In Media is working towards increasing representation and reducing stereotypes.
In a statement, Ferrell and McKay said, “When Jessica came to us with this idea, we thought it was fantastic. She has worked with some of the great female voices in comedy and has proven herself as a gifted producer who has a keen eye for material.” Hopefully Ferrell, McKay, and Henchy will serve as an example for other powerful Hollywood men on the right way to advocate for gender equality—by creating spaces for women to demonstrate their talents onscreen and behind the scenes. [via The Hollywood Reporter]