#FairnessFirst: Making modern movies in 2018

While movies have been mainstream for more than a hundred years, diversity behind the lens has been more than a little lacking - hello 2018's top trending TV and cinema industry hashtags, #TimesUp and #OscarsSoWhite. That's why production teams around the globe rejoiced at the news that LA mayor Eric Garcetti, It and The Lego Movie producer Dan Lin and female film firebrand Ava DuVernay are working to get more females, people of colour and those from low-income households producing movies that more accurately reflect 2018.
Ava DuVernay on the 89th Oscars' red carpet in 2017. Original image © Tyler Golden of ABC on . Cropped with #FairnessFirst logo overlay as per Creative Commons terms.
Ava DuVernay on the 89th Oscars' red carpet in 2017. Original image © Tyler Golden of ABC on ABC Television Group Flickr stream. Cropped with #FairnessFirst logo overlay as per Creative Commons terms.

It’s no secret – the TV, film and cinematography industry is vastly in need of transformation.

The Swift team ©
Swift: 78% of women in the film/TV industry victims of discrimination

A new report being prepared by women working in film and television in SA has revealed shocking findings at the Durban International Film Festival...

Juanita PienaarBy Juanita Pienaar 19 Jul 2017

Here in SA, last year’s Sisters Working in Film and Television or Swift report found that as much as 78% of these women feel that they are discriminated against because of their gender.

Sadly, broadening the focus doesn’t improve the image. Almost from the start, with the commercial, public screening of ten of the Lumière brothers' short films in Paris in 1895, filmmaking and the production of ‘moving pictures’ has been seen as the domain of the older, white men of money. But it’s time for a shakeup of note.

DuVernay is leading the pack in making that change by imagining a different Hollywood and indeed global film industry. Long lauded as the motivational movie maven we need, she’s a true Jill of all trades, as writer, producer, director and distributor of independent film.

Bridge to Freedom
Bridge to Freedom

Selma movingly probes the quest for the basic human right to vote and takes us into the world of Dr Martin Luther King Jr who bravely led courageous marchers to carry out a peaceful procession from Selma, Alabama to Montgomery, Alabama, changing the...

Daniel DercksenBy Daniel Dercksen 6 Feb 2015

DuVernay’s Twitter bio sums up exactly who she is:
A girl from Compton who got to make a Disney movie about finding light in a dark world.
But her work on A wrinkle in time brings her to true superstar status as it makes her the first African-American woman to direct a movie with a budget over $100m. Now she’s looking to give others in the industry a much-needed leg up.

Reimagining Hollywood with the Evolve Entertainment Fund

According to Variety, the Evolve Entertainment Fund and all-encompassing diversity initiative led by DuVernay, Garcetti and Lin is set to promote inclusion and offer exciting opportunities to those otherwise not given a chance to break into the industry.

The New York Times reports that the partnership that would specifically fund Hollywood internships for women, people of colour and those from low-income households.

As an alliance between the City of Los Angeles, industry leaders in entertainment and digital media, non-profit organisations, and educational institutions, the fund has already secured 150 paid summer internships for students participating in the Hire LA’s Youth program and is partnering with leading entertainment and digital media organisations that include DreamWorks Animation, Ryan Murphy Television, Film Independent, WME, CAA, Kobe Bryant’s Granity Studios, and Anonymous Content.

That number will snowball, with DuVernay confirming a goal of 500 placements by 2020.

Better representation on screen in 2018

Switching focus to the front of the lens, Marvel’s latest superhero story Black Panther is also making ‘movie diversity’ headlines, with The Independent's video interview with Black Panther's director Ryan Coogler explaining how it's bringing Afrofuturism into the mainstream:

Why Black Panther is such a game-changer
Why Black Panther is such a game-changer

For a film industry enthusiast such as myself, I have never once come across a movie so intensely anticipated by folk outside of movie-going culture. I don't even think your cult classics such as the Star Wars franchise have sparked such interest in...

By Lerato Serumula 19 Feb 2018

The Guardian calls it the most radical superhero film yet as it goes beyond typical comic book movie stock to torpedo stereotypes left, right and centre with not only a strong African-American cast but also placing feminism on the front foot with Wakanda’s elite, all-female sub-Saharan African royal guardians in the same vein as the legendary Amazonian women warriors of Themyscira in Wonder Woman last year.

Interestingly, CinemaBlend confirms that DuVernay passed on directing Black Panther but said she’d "be first in line to see it."

Original image © .
#FairnessFirst: Amplifying the female voice

The first work week of 2018 for many was also one where we heard the global female voice loud and clear on social media, with 'celebration emojis' for everything from Iceland's equal pay law to #HereWeAre, #TimesUp and #Oprah2020...

Leigh AndrewsBy Leigh Andrews 15 Jan 2018

Interesting times behind the camera, let’s hope for more inclusion, equality and diversity in every aspect going forward!

About Leigh Andrews

Leigh Andrews AKA the #MilkshakeQueen, is former Editor-in-Chief: Marketing & Media at Bizcommunity.com, with a passion for issues of diversity, inclusion and equality, and of course, gourmet food and drinks! She can be reached on Twitter at @Leigh_Andrews.
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