Hollywood is ‘less diverse than oil and gas and even Donald Trump’s cabinet,’ TIFF panel suggests | New
Hollywood is the least diverse commercial sector in the United States, Franklin Leonard, CEO and founder of The Black List, said at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) this week.
“It’s less diverse than oil and gas, less diverse than finance, less diverse than Donald Trump’s cabinet was,” Leonard said.
He suggested that the hegemony reflected in the film industry has “tragic” consequences for political ideology.
“Why is it easy for people to chant ‘build the wall’? Why is it easy for people to embrace the idea of a Muslim type of man? ” He continued. “It’s because the people who are exposed to those communities get them through our media, and the exposure they get is quite narrow and not representative of those communities as a whole.”
Leonard claimed that Hollywood was losing $10 billion a year due to “anti-black bias”, so “the silver lining is once the representational changes are made, Hollywood will be making a lot more money. So , even if you can’t figure out how to do good to do good, do it for the wrong reasons,” he said.
Leonard was on a TIFF panel titled “Microsession: Underrepresented to Unstoppable” and was joined by Parks and recreation actress and Language course director Natalie Morales.
Morales opened up about the classification she faces as a Latina actress.
“There are three archetypes [for a Latina actress]. It’s either the housekeeper, the sexy seductress, or the tough Rican girl from New York,” she said. “And I never really adapted to any of those rules. They felt inauthentic. Not that these people don’t exist…but they’ve been so overrepresented, when it comes to women and Latinos, that there are so many more.
Minhal Baig, director of A night and Hala and writer of BoJack Ridersaid filmmakers must make an effort to portray communities authentically.
“It can’t just be about telling a story about someone discovering their identity, it’s like phase one,” she said. “Then you go through these phases and all of a sudden you have Muslims in fantasy stories, swords and sandals, and Muslim pirates… The more storytelling there is, especially in what I’m looking at, at know American Muslims in media, film and television, the more of it there is, the less scrutiny there is on every story to be exactly your experience.
The future of the film industry
The panel discussed the detrimental effects that refusing to adapt to change will have on cinema, particularly in relation to social media and streaming services.
“It’s great that the directors, writers and showrunners look a little different now, but that’s not enough. It’s not going to dent the whole business,” said Morales: “And, frankly, I think we’re going to lose because movies and TV are already less popular with TikTok and YouTube, because the people who create content aren’t being commandeered and led by CEOs.”
Baig said executive decisions have yet to coincide with shifting demographics and viewing preferences. “We’re still a bit late in responding to what audiences actually want to see. Because that’s not what a bunch of top CEOs feel like people want to watch because if that were true you’d have more people going to the movies than ever before.
Leonard added: “For a very long time, cinema, as an industry, as a kind of hobby, was protected, there was no competition in how we spent our time. This has changed. And given this change, it requires really smart marketing and business strategy and resources to compete in this market.
He said one of the reasons the industry has failed historically is because it hasn’t embraced diversity enough. “Diversity alone won’t solve all the problems we have, but it happens to be the cheapest and fastest way for us to gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace,” he said. he declares. “The results are more films from more diverse places and better economic results.”