Statistics released at the St. John's International Women's Film Festival show women filmmakers are still a small minority.

The five-day festival, which closed this weekend, has been supporting and promoting female artists since 1989.

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Festival chair Noreen Golfman says there are a lot of false assumptions made about opportunities for women in Canada. (CBC)

Of the 139 Canadian films released in 2010 and 2011, only 17 per cent were directed by women, and just one fifth of the screenwriters involved were female, statistics released by the festival show.

"I think there are a lot of false assumptions out there about opportunities for women," said festival chair Noreen Golfman. "The statistics repeatedly bear out how limited the opportunities really are."

The picture is even bleaker for minorities, with only two of the films in the same period being put out by a First Nations or minority woman.

This is the first time these statistics have been put together in Canada.

"It says that we're not taking advantage of the talent we have," said Rina Fraticelli of Women in View, the organization that compiled the figures.

"We're not exploiting all of this innovative diversity — the young talent coming through, the accomplished, experienced talent that we have."