Cinema has been serving magic, catharsis, and hope to audiences ever since the Lumiere brothers debuted their first film in Paris, 1895. The problem, then and now, is that the industry has been exceedingly male dominated - and white.
However, in recent years, strides have been made with women and people of color “within striking distance of proportionate representation when it comes to lead roles and total cast,” according to a recent article from UCLA.
It’s been proven time and time again that audiences watching someone who speaks or looks like them can influence self worth, identity, and serve as an inspiration. Actor Stephan James, best known for his performances in Selma (2014) & Race (2016), states in an interview with the BBC, “The fact that I could look up and see myself as a superhero, or somebody who looks like me as a superhero: I think it does a remarkable thing for society as a whole.”
However, there’s still a long way to go behind the lens.
According to the 2020 Hollywood Diversity Report, “91% of C-level positions [at major studios] are held by white people and 82% are held by men. Among all senior executive positions, 93% percent are held by white people and 80% by men”. While on-screen representation is important, including diverse perspectives in the boardroom where films are greenlit and funded is key.
Communities worldwide have been calling for a change through social media , and campaigns like #OscarsSoWhite and Time’s Up have achieved measurable results.
But despite some of these positive changes, and an elevated public awareness of the problem, many top films still end up falling short. In 2019, there were only 14 of 100 top box office films that included a gender-balanced cast. And reports showed in that same year, 80.4% of the top films were white directors.
Films should not be limited to one gender, one culture, nor one voice. More diversity & inclusion in the industry will allow audiences to understand different cultures from their own, while representing and exploring stories and perspectives more equitably. Film is an art that is to be shared, and one that benefits profoundly from a greater degree of diversity and inclusion.
It’s an exciting time witnessing (and participating!) in the industry becoming more and more diverse & inclusive. But there’s still a long way to go.
As a means to invest in our Southern California “backyard”, we’re launching our first ever diverse filmmaker micro-grant aimed at uplifting creative voices from historically under-represented communities. We stand with the movement to have a more diverse & inclusive workforce of creatives in film, and hope you consider applying!
Go to: https://www.synchronous.tv/grants to apply now!
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