All posts tagged: diversity

This Week’s Essential Reads on Hollywood’s Diversity Issue

I’ve come across quite a few articles this week that I think are essential reads on the current state of diversity in Hollywood, and I decided that they’re important enough to share with y’all. What’s made in Hollywood is disseminated across the globe, and whether we like it or not, these images permeate our conscious and have a lasting effect on our lives. Because of the impact that these images have on our identities and how we identify others, I think it’s imperative that we examine what’s happening in Hollywood. So pour yourself a drink, get comfortable, and start reading! What It’s Really Like to Work in Hollywood* (*if you’re not a straight white man) What Does the Academy Value in a Black Performance? Hollywood is Suffering from an “Inclusion Crisis,” Diversity Study Says  

DIVERSITY in the Words of Ava DuVernay

In this short video produced by TIFF, Ava DuVernay discusses the importance of featuring diverse voices in front of and behind the camera. Not only is film forever, but film also informs so much of what we understand about the world. By restricting who gets to make movies, and who and what those films are about, we drastically limit the possibilities of the medium. When we see films about women, people of color, young people, old people, gay people, transgender people, disabled people, Muslims, Jews, indigenous people, immigrants – it’s essentially a reminder that those stories matter. You matter. Demand that Hollywood represent our richly diverse nation. Watch movies made by women and people of color. Seek out films from other countries. Share your love of these films. Do your part.

AFI FEST ’15: A Week of Films, Filmmakers, and Fun

This year marks my first time attending AFI Fest, and my experience was truly one to remember. Festival passes start at $375, but my class schedule only allowed for me to attend a few screenings, so I took advantage of the fest’s free tickets (yes, free!). This year I attended the premiere of By the Sea, with an introduction by Angelina Jolie-Pitt, Mustang with both an introduction and Q & A with the film’s director, Deniz Gamze Ergüven, and ensemble cast, and Youth, followed by a conversation with Michael Caine and director Paolo Sorrentino. I had plans to see The Lobster, which looks bizarrely entertaining, but unfortunately had to miss it due to schedule conflicts. After as much fun as I had this year, I plan on attending AFI Fest for as long as I’m living in Los Angeles – it’s a festival that all film lovers should experience at least once! What I found so refreshing about AFI Fest can be summed up in their mission statement: AFI Fest is “American Film Institute’s annual celebration of international cinema from modern masters and emerging filmmakers. ” In her introduction of Mustang, festival director …

My Experience at the 2015 LA Film Fest

The LA Film Fest wrapped a week ago and I finished my last day as an intern yesterday. My immediate thoughts? Wow, was the entire experience a blast! First off, if you live in the Los Angeles area I would definitely recommend attending/volunteering/interning at next year’s LA Film Fest. The lineup this year was exceptionally diverse and exciting – a reflection of Film Independent’s dedication to supporting filmmakers and stories that are diverse and innovative – and I can only imagine that next year’s selection will be even better. I’m thankful for the opportunity to meet so many interesting and passionate people at the festival, and I’m also grateful that I had the chance to experience something that truly embodies the spirit of Los Angeles within my first three months living here. Overall, one of the best perks of being an intern was that I was able to attend events! During the festival I wrote about a few of the screenings and talks I attended, which you can check out below: → Diversity Speaks → Making Cool Shit with OK Go → ‘Inside Out’ with Pete Docter Long story short, I …

LA Film Fest ’15: Diversity Speaks

Last weekend I attended two of the Diversity Speaks panels the LA Film Fest. I made it to the second half of Oscar-winning screenwriter John Ridley‘s Q & A session, moderated by Elvis Mitchell, and was available for the entire Diversity in Primetime panel featuring Wendy Calhoun (writer/co-executive producer, Empire), Gail Lerner (writer/co-executive producer, Black-ish), Andrea Navedo (actor, Jane the Virgin), Randall Park (actor, Fresh Off the Boat), and Our Lady J (writer, Transparent). Here are a few of my favorite take-aways from the event: John Ridley was asked what it’s like to work in a biased industry that promotes racial stereotypes, and if he feels that by working in Hollywood he is somehow supporting the negative aspects of the industry. His response? Bias is everywhere, but it’s his duty to tell these stories. Since John Ridley wrote my favorite film of 2013 (12 Years a Slave), I definitely “fan-girled” a little bit in his presence, but luckily I was capable of internalizing those feelings. Listening to Ridley, it was impressive just how incredibly smart and well spoken he is. I really don’t think you …

Exploring Gender & Race On-Screen

When I graduated in 2013 and started this blog, I began to watch films more critically and evaluate them with a strict sense of what a film is meant to do. Some films are meant to make us laugh – others make us think – most make us feel. But what I believe all films should do is reflect our world accurately. A futuristic sci-fi should not feature a cast of one race. Romantic comedies should not only be about women fighting for the love of a man. Period pieces should not soften facts to appease the masses. No matter how fantastical the story is, I believe the filmmaker – as a cultural influencer – has the duty of doing their best to accurately reflect our culture in some way or another. Most directly, this means making diverse casting choices and writing scripts to support these roles. According to the New York Film Academy, women make up only 30.8% of speaking roles in films to this day, which is absolutely not reflective of the world’s female population. This past year, …

The Bechdel Test

The Bechdel Test (also known as the Bechdel-Wallace test) was created by Allison Bechdel and Liz Wallace as a way to evaluate the presence of women in Hollywood films, and is featured in Bechdel’s 1985 comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For. The test has three requirements for a film to pass: (1) It has to have at least two named women in it (2) who talk to each other (3) about something besides a man. At first that sounds pretty simple; the act of two women talking to each other about something other than a man certainly reflects reality. But the truth is, substantially more films fail the Bechdel test than pass it – and that needs to change. Now, I’m not saying you should avoid films that don’t pass the Bechdel test. Very few Oscar nominated films did, including my favorite of the year, 12 Years a Slave (which  is disputed whether or not it passes). But it is important for movie goers (and creators) to be aware that many films that strive to be genuine and real …