Black Agents: Of the hundreds of talent agents working at the major Hollywood agencies, only a few dozen are black. The New York Times ran a great interview with several of the reps, who discussed the systemic barriers they have faced and the change they hope to see.
Children’s Media: The Geena Davis Institute conducted an analysis of the top 100 grossing animated and non-animated family films between 2007-2017, called The Geena Benchmark Report, which studied the gender, racial, sexuality, and disability disparities within protagonists of these films. Male characters in family films constitute 71.3% of leading roles. There has been only a slight increase of less than three percentage points in women’s on-screen representation in children’s media over the 10 years studied. This disparity is a problem, since children – both male and female – look to the media for role models and stories that reflect what matters most in our culture. What are we teaching our kids?
Female Representation: Meanwhile, in films for “grown-ups,” the numbers are a little brighter. According to a new study put forth by USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, representation for women and people of color in top grossing films is higher than ever. 40% of the top 100 films of 2018 had female leads or co-leads, compared to only 20% in 2007; intersectionality across race and age also increased substantially this year.
NYWIFT member Sascha Just directed and produced Ellis, the first feature-length documentary about the late legendary New Orleans pianist and educator, Ellis Marsalis, Jr. Marsalis composed and performed major works of modern jazz infused with a uniquely New Orleans touch. Just spoke to us about all the ways in which jazz has influenced her work, getting to know a creative legend, and her DOC NYC premiere.READ MORE
In the documentary short The House of LaBeija, directed and produced by NYWIFT member Fredgy Noël, we meet the eponymous prominent ballroom family and safe haven for transgender women, queer people, and those in need of community. Over the course of 10 minutes, several members of the house dance, vogue, and celebrate their identities across a strikingly glamorous mansion that seems to be an embodiment of their safe harbor. Fredgy Noël spoke to us about ballroom culture, creative inspirations, and what’s next on her horizon.READ MORE
NYWIFT member Jill Woodward edited the documentary 1946: The Mistranslation that Shifted a Culture, which won the Audience Award at DOC NYC 2022. In this deeply personal tale, a gay seminary scholar and a straight activist, seeking to uncover the origins of the rabid homophobia of the conservative church, make a shocking discovery: an erroneous translation of the term “homosexual” in the Bible in 1946 that has been weaponized against the LGBTQIA+ community ever since. Woodward spoke to us about the editing process, what she learned along the way, and which types of projects excite her the most.READ MORE
NYWIFT member Panayiota Pagoulatos returned to Cannes a second time this year to attend MIPCOM, where she was pleased to find celebrations of women and diversity in entertainment, and to preview several exciting new TV series.READ MORE