2014: Not a Banner Year for Black or Female Filmmakers

So, I’ve been negligent about updating the blog. However, it’s that time of year when people try to do better so I’m doing just that by writing my first blog entry in months. Look for some changes in 2015. In addition to (hopefully) more frequent posts, I hope to shift the focus to a blog that specifically looks at issues of diversity in casting and feminism in filmmaking. Yes, I used the f word.

On that note, if you read this article for the New York Times from two years ago, you might feel encouraged about increased opportunities for female filmmakers. However, if you read this article from the New York Times a couple weeks ago, you might be discouraged by the fact that only 3 major studio films released in 2014 were directed by women. What gives? Are things getting better for women filmmakers or not?

Ava Duvernay

Selma director Ava Duvernay

My three avid readers may recall a post from late 2013 that talked about what an exciting year it was for black filmmakers and actors. Readers should not be surprised to find that there will be no such post this year and 2014’s crop of  films by and/ or  about blacks was pretty thin. There were a handful of films with black protagonists (Get On Up, About Last Night, Annie) and a few with black directors (Selma, Beyond the Lights, Ride Along, Think Like a Man Too, Dear White People), but that’s pretty much it, and other than it being a breakout year for the Sony-criticized Kevin Hart, it appears that things have gone back to status quo for blacks and women in the industry. So, for every article you read about Ava Duvernay this year, (like this one or this one or maybe even this one), remember that she is the exception and not the rule. It’s perfectly fine to celebrate her and Angelina Jolie and but let’s not forget that we have so much further to go before we make any real and lasting progress. In 1976, Lina Wertmüller was the first woman nominated for an Oscar for Best Director, nearly 40 years on, only three other women have joined in her that accomplishment. Will another 40 years go by before women filmmakers achieve parity? WIll we even have films 40 years from now?

A little ove a year ago, I also wrote this piece about mainstream Mexican films. However, that appears to have been a brief blip on the radar screen as well. Men and particularly white men still dominate screens in the US and the world. I like white guys. They’re great. I’ve even dated a few, but I’m tired of only seeing their stories on film.

I hate to Debbie Downer; I believe in problem solving, not just complaining. I invite everyone to post possible solutions in the comments. Please let me know ways we can improve and increase cultural/ ethnic diversity and female representation in the film industry. I’m starting by forming a think tank to discuss representation issues and then set about finding real solutions. If you want to be a part of that, feel free to email projects@destinycasting.com

Happy New Year!

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2 thoughts on “2014: Not a Banner Year for Black or Female Filmmakers

  1. Trevor says:

    I have heard many, MANY times this year that brothers don’t have sisters backs they way they have ours…well, if there’s a way I can help drive the conversation forward in a positive way please let me know.

    • Destiny Lilly says:

      Thanks for the comment Trevor. Sorry it’s taken me a moment to get back to you. The best way men can support is by listening, responding, stepping up, and just showing up. Work side by side with women as equals and show us the respect we deserve. Most importantly, go see movies with female leads and films directed by women. Dismissing a film as a chick flick continues to perpetuate the idea that male stories are universal and women’s stories are niche.

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