IMDb Adopts F-Rating Of Women's Contributions To Movies

Mar 22, 2017

The Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has adopted the F-rating, a classification system designed to champion women in film.

The new rating was created three years ago by Holly Tarquini, executive director of the Bath Film Festival, to "support women in film and change the stories we see on screen." The Bath festival created a website for the rating, which says:

"The F-Rating is a classification for any film which

  1. is directed by a woman
  2. is written by a woman
  3. features significant women on screen in their own right."

Tarquini says that the rating was inspired by the Bechdel test, a system devised by cartoonist Alison Bechdel to identify works of fiction that feature at least two women talking about topics other than a man.

Ellen Telje's "A" rating did something similar in Swedish cinemas in 2013, but Tarquini broadened the scope for her F-rating to include women's contributions not just on-camera, but behind the camera. At the 2014 Bath Film Festival, where the rating was first introduced, 17 of the 42 films received the F-rating. More than 40 festivals and theater chains have adopted the rating since its inception.

Now they've been joined by IMDb, an online database of info about films, TV programs and video games, which is a subsidiary of Amazon. With listings of more than 4.1 million titles (including TV episodes) IMDb's adoption of the F-rating will significantly broaden the new rating's reach.

IMDb has attached the F-rating to more than 22,000 films in its listings, and for films that feature all three qualifiers — that is, that were written by, directed by, and feature complex women characters — the site awards a triple-F rating. Thus far, there are 81 films that have qualified for a triple-F, including Clueless, Pixar's Brave, Belle, My Brilliant Career, and the upcoming The Zookeeper's Wife.

That said, the site does not feature the F or Triple-F ratings nearly as prominently as it does, say, such MPAA ratings as PG-13 and R. To find women-centered films on IMDb.com you need to use "F-rated" as a keyword search, and then sort through some 22,000 titles. Or you can reduce the search by looking only for women-directed titles (of which there are nearly 1,500), or films with a female protagonist.

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