For the film industry, the Disney hit Frozen marked a milestone. Not only was it co-directed by a woman, Jennifer Lee, it has also become the highest-grossing animated film of all time.

Yet Hollywood itself is frozen, stuck in a time warp where men still direct more than nine out of 10 films.

The situation is no better in Britain, prompting one culture magazine to launch an initiative to encourage more women to make films.

Dazed Vision, the new video arm of Jefferson Hack's Dazed & Confused media operation, is asking some of the industry's biggest names, including Jane Campion and Dame Helen Mirren, to choose their favourite young female directors to make a film - from an arts short to a music video or a piece of fiction - to show on its website.


New Zealander Campion, best known for The Piano (1993), has picked the first film-maker, Anahita Ghazvinizadeh, though she has selected something the Iranian-born director has already made.

Needle, which won a prize at last year's Cannes Film Festival and tells of a young girl getting her ears pierced in the midst of her parents' divorce, will open Dazed's Females First project this week.

"Needle impressed me with its humour, clarity and unique tone. I felt something I rarely do when watching short films - awed," Campion said.

Sienna Miller has picked the playwright Polly Stenham to make something for Dazed, which will give those selected between 2000 ($3849) and 5000 towards their project, depending on the scale of their idea.

Jennifer Byrne, Dazed's video commissioning editor, said she was sick of the male, middle-aged, middle-class, white perspective of the world.

"All the films coming to me are from the same angle. We're not anti-men, but we want to encourage more young women to pick up the camera so we have greater diversity in what we're watching," she said.

"Girls lack confidence to pick up a camera because they think they need to be technical but a director is just someone who can tell [a story] clearly."

- Independent