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 Panayiota Pagoulatos shares memories from her trip to Cannes 2022 - her first time back on a plane since 2019! She met with WIFTI leaders from all over the world and shared this sage advice: "If you find yourself at an international market or film festival—whether it’s the first or the fiftieth time—look for your people. Whether a business partnership comes out of it or not, staying connected, sharing your experiences, and hopefully learning a thing or two, that’s the pulse that will help keep you going in this tough-as-nails industry."READ MORE
Cynthia Lowen’s latest documentary "Battleground" offers an eye-opening window into the anti-choice movement, featuring three women from varying walks of life who have dedicated themselves to rendering abortion illegal. Per the Tribeca website: “Told with restraint and balance, director Cynthia Lowen seeks to clarify rather than condemn, and presents a new point of entry for this challenging topic.” While the film itself clearly aligns with progressive pro-choice advocates (who also appear throughout) it offers a fascinating perspective on the sheer systemic power of the anti-abortion movement and the perilous future, felt painfully today, of Roe v. Wade. "Battleground" was Executive Produced by NYWIFT member Ruth Ann Harnisch and co-produced by member Steffie van Rhee, who sat down with us to discuss the premiere and how this film – from this particular perspective – came to fruition.READ MORE
Violet Du Feng’s "Hidden Letters" tells the story of Chinese women trying to balance their lives as independent women in modern China while confronting the traditional identity that defines but also oppresses them. Connected through their love for Nushu—a centuries-old secret text shared amongst women—each of them transforms through a pivotal period of their lives and takes a step closer to becoming the individuals they know they can be. Hot off her 2022 Tribeca Festival premiere, Director Violet Du Feng, an Emmy-award winning documentarian, spoke to us about Nushu, modern-day China, women’s equality, and her filmmaking process.READ MORE
Signe Baumane’s "My Love Affair With Marriage" is a brilliant animated film for a decidedly adult audience. It’s a semi-autobiographical musical exploration of love, sex, romance, and gender as viewed through the lens of neurochemistry – not your average animated love story! New York Women in Film & Television was proud to present Baumane with a NYWIFT Ravenal Foundation Feature Film Grant for the film, and even prouder to then see it premiere at the 2022 Tribeca Festival! We sat down with Signe to discuss her wildly inventive, intelligent, and very fun film.READ MORE