Diversity in the film industry has long been a topic of concern and a source of activism. The lack of representation and opportunities for marginalized groups has had significant consequences, both in terms of the stories that are told and the ways in which they are told. Here is my partial wish list of goals and actions that can be taken to promote diversity in the film industry in the New Year and beyond:
1. Increase representation of marginalized groups on screen and behind the camera. This includes increasing the number of characters and storylines that center on people of color, LGBTQ+ people, people with disabilities, and other underrepresented groups. It also means hiring more writers, directors, producers, and other creatives from these groups.
2. Promote diversity and inclusion at all levels of the industry. This includes training programs and initiatives to support the development of talent from underrepresented groups, as well as creating opportunities for them to rise through the ranks and take on leadership roles. It also means taking steps to create a more inclusive culture within the industry, including addressing issues such as pay disparities and discrimination.
3. Foster collaboration and partnerships with organizations that promote diversity and inclusion. This includes working with organizations such as the Black List, Color Creative, and the Sundance Institute, which support and amplify the voices of underrepresented groups in the industry. It also means forming partnerships with organizations that work on issues related to diversity and inclusion, such as the Asian American Writers’ Workshop and the Women in Film organization.
4. Encourage studios and production companies to adopt diversity and inclusion policies. This includes setting targets for hiring and representation, as well a simple mentoring programs and initiatives to promote diversity and inclusion. It also means holding studios and production companies accountable for meeting these targets and making progress towards greater diversity and inclusion.
5. Support independent and diverse filmmakers. This includes providing funding and resources to help these filmmakers get their projects off the ground and seen by a wider audience. It also means creating more opportunities for these filmmakers to showcase their work, such as through film festivals and other events.
6. Invest in diversity and inclusion training for industry professionals. This includes providing training on issues such as unconscious bias, cultural competency, and intersectionality to help industry professionals better understand and address issues related to diversity and inclusion. It also means providing ongoing support and resources to help industry professionals continue to learn and grow in this area.
7. Promote more diverse storytelling. This includes supporting the development of stories and perspectives that have traditionally been underrepresented in the film industry, such as those of people of color, LGBTQ+ people, and people with disabilities. It also means taking steps to ensure that these stories are told inauthentic and respectful ways, and that they are given equal consideration and support as more mainstream stories.
8. Create more opportunities for diverse voices to be heard. This includes providing platforms for underrepresented groups to share their stories and perspectives, such as through film festivals, industry events, and online platforms. It also means creating more opportunities for these voices to be heard and amplified within the industry, such as through mentorship and networking programs.
9. Equal pay and opportunities for female filmmakers, actors, and crew members.
10. More representation and diversity in both behind and in front of the camera.
11. A more balanced representation of women in all aspects of film production, including in leadership roles such as directors and producers.
12. A greater focus on promoting and showcasing the work of female filmmakers in mainstream media and film festivals.
13. Accessible casting calls and audition spaces: This includes providing captioning or ASL interpretation for auditions and ensuring that casting locations are wheelchair accessible.
14. Accessible sets and locations: This includes providing wheelchair ramps, accessible bathrooms, and other accommodations for persons with disabilities.
15. Inclusive representation in front of and behind the camera: This includes hiring actors with disabilities in leading and supporting roles, as well as hiring crewmembers with disabilities.
16. More representation of LGBTQ characters and storylines in mainstream films and television shows.
17. Greater opportunities for LGBTQ actors to play leading and complex roles, rather than just being limited to supporting or stereotypical characters.
18. More LGBTQ filmmakers and writers to tell authentic and nuanced stories from their own perspectives.
19. Greater inclusivity and diversity within the film industry as a whole, including more LGBTQ executives, producers, and decision-makers.
20. Greater visibility and recognition for LGBTQ-inclusive films at major film festivals and award shows.
21. More financial support and resources for LGBTQ-focused film festivals and organizations that promote LGBTQ visibility in the film industry.
22. An end to discrimination and harassment against LGBTQ individuals in the film industry.
23. More opportunities for LGBTQ-focused storytelling outside of the traditional romantic comedy or drama genres.
24. Greater intersectionality and representation of LGBTQ individuals of color, transgender individuals, and other marginalized groups within the LGBTQ community.
25. A productive, diverse, understanding and supporting New Years for everyone.