Friday, June 10, 7:30pm
Satuday, June 11, 3pm
Wages of Injustice
Saturday, June 11, 7pm
Encuentros Con Amor
Sunday, June 12, 2pm
Sunday, June 12, 6pm
Tuesday, Mar 22, 2016 02:35 PM CST
Justin Lin: If we want more diversity in Hollywood, “the general public has to demand it”
The “Fast & Furious” director’s plan to support Asian American artists is one of several new diversity programs
Paula Young Lee
In 2016, the fact that Hollywood made a sequel to #OscarsSoWhite has energized longstanding conversations regarding systemic racism and sexism in the entertainment industry. In its wake: a rash of new initiatives aimed at diversifying television, film, and theater. As the squeaky wheels of progress turn inside the Hollywood machine, a few film directors are doing their part to pull it into the 21st century.
Director Ava DuVernay (“Selma”) founded the film distribution collective, Array, and hired women and people of color for the currently-filming production of the OWN network television series “Queen Sugar.” “Star Trek: A New Hope” director J.J. Abrams’s production company, Bad Robot, will henceforth require that women and people of color be submitted for writing, directing and acting jobs in proportion to their representation in the U.S. population. A new non-profit, We Do It Together, aims to finance and produce films, documentaries, TV and other forms of media that will challenge stereotypes regarding women, and its advisory board includes directors Catherine Hardwicke, Hany Abu-Assad, Amma Asante, Marielle Heller, Katia Lund, Małgorzata Szumowska, and Haifaa Al Mansour, among others.
In 2010, YouoffendmeYouoffendmyFamily (YOMYOMF), the Asian-centric blog and entertainment website founded by director Justin Lin (“Fast and Furious” series, currently filming “Star Trek Beyond”) initiated a competition, “Interpretations,” which asked aspiring Asian-American filmmakers to develop and shoot a 3-minute short around a four-line script. A resounding success, it is being run again this year, with a script written by Tony-award winning playwright David Henry Hwang. The four lines are:
Don’t do that.
I have my doubts.
What is it?
(Confused? Here is a funny example of how it works.) The winners get the opportunity to craft a project for the initiative’s lead sponsors, Comcast and NBC Universal (NBCU).
In a recent interview, Lin told me the more the public gets behind these works and artists—both in front of and behind the camera—the more we’ll see things start to change.
“After I made ‘Better Luck Tomorrow’ and started taking meetings in Hollywood, I quickly learned that Asian Americans weren’t even in the conversation as a minority, since there wasn’t even a significant enough audience, and especially an audience for Asian American content,” he said. “I think it’s changing now with shows like ‘Dr. Ken,’ ‘Fresh Off the Boat’ and ‘Master of None,’ but obviously when we look at the film side, there’s still a lot to be done.”
“Interpretations” is the first initiative for the nonprofit YOMYOMF Foundation, which supports Asian American talent, and more programs are on the way. Lin says he started the foundation because he knows talented artists are out there, they just need opportunity and mentorship.
“I’m the child of immigrants. My Taiwanese parents came to America with no money and supported my brothers and me as small business owners in Orange County, which is close to L.A. but about as far away from Hollywood as you can be. I didn’t know anyone in the industry, but had a great deal of people help me along in my path,” said Lin. “I made a lot of mistakes along the way, but feel incredibly lucky to be in the position I am now and to be able to play a small part in trying to support talented, aspiring young filmmakers out there through a program like ‘Interpretations’ who, like me, had the desire and passion, but no connections to the industry.”
Lin also says if we want to see more diversity in film, “the general public has to demand it.”
“It’s about supporting the many talented artists and filmmakers out there trying to create work from that marginalized point of view,” he said. “Go out and buy tickets to their movies and plays, support their crowd sourcing campaigns, show the industry that there is a viable audience for this work.”
The pronounced under-representation of Asian-Americans in the entertainment industry has not gone unremarked. The Asian American Arts Alliance of New York, for example, just announced the launch of a new theater fellowship aimed at supporting young artists and directors of Asian descent by providing them with a stipend, mentorship, and other forms of support. When marginalized groups have limited access to opportunity, it shows up in various ways, including the ongoing drama of #OscarsSoWhite. As the Economist explains:
Oscar nominations have not dramatically under-represented black actors. Instead, they have greatly over-represented white ones. Blacks are 12.6% of the American population, and 10% of Oscar nominations since 2000 have gone to black actors. But just 3% of nominations have gone to their Hispanic peers (16% of the population), 1% to those with Asian backgrounds, and 2% to those of other heritage.
Given that Asians are not only are 60 percent of the world’s total population but Asian-Americans are also the highest income and fastest growing racial group in the U.S., it is statistically improbable that they are barely a blip at the entertainment industry’s most prestigious award ceremony.
YOMYOMF announced the second “Interpretations” competition this past weekend at the annual film fest organized by the Center for Asian-American Media in San Francisco. CAAM Fest, explains YOMYOMF creative director Phil Chung, “has been supportive of Justin from the very beginning when he came here with his UCLA feature, ‘Shopping for Fangs’,“ and so there has been a longstanding connection between Lin and the organization. “Seeing the packed 1,400 seat Castro Theater for CAAMFest’s opening night,” Chung tells me, “was a visceral reminder that there is a huge audience out there hungry for Asian American content–stories by, for and about our communities.”
A few television executives have already figured out that this audience is out there. Karen Horne is Senior Vice President of Programming Talent Development & Inclusion for NBC Entertainment and Universal Television. For many years, she explains, Comcast and NBC Universal have supported CAAM Fest, so partnering with “Interpretations” was a natural segue. The company’s diversity push (opportunities linked here) date back to 2000, when NBC “initiated a diverse staff writer initiative that has given start to many people like Mindy Kaling, Alan Yang, Danielle Sanchez-Witzel and many, many more,” she emphasizes. “Our initiatives go far beyond my department as well. It is company-wide and is a part of our DNA.” The winners of “Interpretations” will be featured at NBCU’s Short Film Festival finale in October.
Horne couldn’t promise me that NBC Universal would pick up where ABC left off and build a new comedy around John Cho, of the late, lamented sitcom “Selfie,” but did affirm that casting for new shows under development is “still underway, and I’m enthusiastic that this year, we will see more diversity across the board.”
The key phrase is diversity across the board. When all the other factors are taken into account, the tiny number of Asians in popular media is especially egregious, but Natives and people of Middle Eastern descent are so marginalized they often don’t even get mentioned in “diversity” conversations. The point is that Lin, DuVernay, Abrams and other directors are implementing their convictions, taking financial risks, and using their focused spheres of influence to change cultural perceptions. The result? Great visual storytelling and fantastic entertainment. Let’s demand more of this.
Paula Young Lee is the author of “Deer Hunting in Paris,” winner of the 2014 Lowell Thomas “Best Book” award of the Society of American Travel Writers. She is currently writing outdoor adventure books for middle grade and young adults. Follow her on Twitter @paulayounglee
40 Movies Directed By Women To Look Forward to In 2016
Even with 52 slots, our annual list of the most anticipated movies of the year is missing a lot of notable upcoming titles (The Girl on the Train, for one). It’s also missing a lot of a certain gender of filmmaker. Of the major releases we highlighted, only one of them has a woman at the helm.
There are a number of movies directed by women set to open in 2016, and plenty of them are titles we’re looking forward to. Most are not studio productions and so don’t have definite US release dates, unfortunately. And of the 10 that do, sadly nine of them aren’t among those we’re super excited about.
We’ve found 40 notable movies expected to be released in 2016, all of them listed below. First, here are the quarter of them with official openings. Unsurprisingly, none are coming out in the heavy blockbuster times of the summer or holiday seasons. Who’d want to trust a girl with a real tentpole?
Kung Fu Panda 3 – directed by Jennifer Yuh (Kung Fu Panda 2) and Alessandro Carloni. After earning an Oscar nomination for helming Kung Fu Panda 2 on her own, Yuh has a male co-director for the third installment of the popular animated franchise. Also of note: with a worldwide take of $666m, Kung Fu Panda 2 is the highest-grossing movie directed solely by a woman. Release date: January 29.
Me Before You – directed by Thea Sharrock (The Hollow Crown). Game of Thrones stars Emilia Clarke and Charles Dance are among the cast of this adaptation of Jojo Moyes’s romantic novel. Clarke plays a woman in a small town who takes care of a paralyzed man, played by Sam Claflin of the Hunger Games movies. Release date: March 4.
Miracles from Heaven – directed by Patricia Riggen (The 33). Fresh off her movie of the Chilean miner disaster, Riggen already has a follow-up in this adaptation of Christy Beam’s memoir. The author, whose sick daughter was “miraculously” cured, is being played by Jennifer Garner. Release date: March 18.
The Invitation – directed by Karyn Kusama (Jennifer’s Body). The one release helmed by a woman featured in our main preview (we already saw it and can recommend it), this indie horror movie debuted at SXSW last year. Release date: March 25.
Ratchet & Clank – directed by Jerrica Cleland (cinematographer, Arthur Christmas) and Kevin Munroe (TMNT). The popular video game franchise about the galactic adventures of an alien mechanic and his little robot sidekick get the animated feature treatment. Another with a man and woman directorial team. Release date: April 29.
Money Monster – directed by Jodie Foster (The Beaver). Ocean’s Eleven‘s George Clooney and Julia Roberts reunite for this thriller from actress-turned-filmmaker Foster. Jack O’Connell also stars as a man who takes Clooney’s character and his stock tips TV show hostage after losing all his money from some bad advice given by the program. Release date: May 13.
Maggie’s Plan – directed by Rebecca Miller (The Private Lives of Pippa Lee). Greta Gerwig stars in this comedy as a woman who falls in love with a married man (Ethan Hawke) but eventually realizes he’s better off with his now ex-wife (Julianne Moore). Release date: May 20.
Bridget Jones’s Baby – directed by Sharon Maguire (Bridget Jones’s Diary). Maguire returns to the Bridget Jones series for the third installment, which was nearly helmed by Paul Feig. Renee Zellweger and Colin Firth are also back, this time to be joined by a new addition to their family. Release date: September 16.
Besties – directed by Kelly Fremon (writer of Post Grad). Hailee Steinfeld stars in the directorial debut of Fremon, who also wrote the script. The teen comedy is about best friends who become enemies when one dates the other’s older brother. Release date: September 30.
Underworld 5 – directed by Anna Foerster (cinematographer, White House Down). After working as a second unit director and DP for major blockbusters, mainly those by Roland Emmerich, Foerster is taking over the Underworld franchise for her feature directorial debut. This is the fifth installment (once titled Underworld: Next Generation) and again stars Kate Beckinsale. Release date: October 21.
American Honey – directed by Andrea Arnold (Wuthering Heights).
The Bad Batch – directed by Ana Lily Amirpour (A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night).
Black Dog, Red Dog – directed by Adriana Cepeda Espinosa and James Franco (As I Lay Dying).
Elvis & Nixon – directed by Liza Johnson (Return).
First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers – directed by Angelina Jolie (By the Sea).
Leavey – directed by Gabriela Cowperthwaite (Blackfish).
Loving Vincent – directed by Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman (Oscar winner for the 2006 animated short Peter & the Wolf).
Our Kind of Traitor – directed by Susanna White (Nanny McPhee Returns).
Queen of Katwe – directed by Mira Nair (Amelia).
Replicas – directed by Tanya Wexler (Hysteria).
Stargirl – directed by Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight).
Wakefield – directed by Robin Swicord (The Jane Austen Book Club).
The Whole Truth – directed by Courtney Hunt (Frozen River).
The Zookeeper’s Wife – directed by Niki Caro (Whale Rider).
Sundance 2016 Narrative Premieres
Agnus Dei – directed by Anne Fontaine (Coco Before Chanel).
Certain Women – directed by Kelly Reichardt (Wendy and Lucy).
Equity – directed by Meera Menon (Farah Goes Bang).
The Intervention – directed by Clea DuVall (actress, Argo).
Sophie and the Rising Sun – directed by Maggie Greenwald (Songcatcher).
Tallulah – directed by Sian Heder (writer/producer, Orange is the New Black).
Sundance 2016 Documentary Premieres
Maya Angelou And Still I Rise – directed by Rita Coburn Whack and Bob Hercules (Joffrey: Mavericks of American Dance).
Newtown – directed by Kim A. Snyder (I Remember Me).
Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You – directed by Heidi Ewing (Jesus Camp) and Rachel Grady (Jesus Camp).
Nothing Left Unsaid: Gloria Vanderbilt & Anderson Cooper – directed by Liz Garbus (What Happened, Miss Simone?).
Nuts! – directed by Penny Lane (Our Nixon).
Richard Linklater: Dream Is Destiny – directed by Karen Bernstein and Louis Black.
Trapped – directed by Dawn Porter (Gideon’s Army).
Under the Gun – directed by Stephanie Soechtig (Fed Up).
Unlocking the Cage – directed by Chris Hegedus (The War Room) and DA Pennebaker (The War Room).
Weiner – directed by Elyse Steinberg and Josh Kriegman.
Jessica Chastain, Juliette Binoche, Freida Pinto, Queen Latifah & More Launch Production Company To Help Female Empowerment In TV And Film
By Anita Busch
February 24, 2016 3:29pm
A new, nonprofit organization created to finance and produce films, documentaries, TV and other forms of media dedicated to the empowerment of women has been launched with a mission to create content that will change perceptions of female stereotypes. On the advisory board of the company, named We Do It Together, are Jessica Chastain, Juliette Binoche, Freida Pinto, Queen Latifah, Twilight director Catherine Hardwicke and actress Ziyi Zhang, to name a few.
The move comes after the revelation last fall that the The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission was interviewing dozens of female directors about the discrimination they face in both film and television. Women currently receive only 16% of the episodic TV directing jobs, and last year directed less than 5% of the major studio movie releases.
We Do It Together looks to change this. They say they will raise capital from grants, governments, corporate sponsors, and individual donations to invest in the production of films, proceeds from which will be reinvested in the company to create a self-sustaining organization prepared to invest in additional films. The first film through this new company will be announced at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.
The board also consists of such creative talent as male director Hany Abu-Assad; A United Kingdom director Amma Asante; The Diary Of A Teenage Girl director, writer and actress Marielle Heller; City Of God director Katia Lund; Elles director Małgorzata Szumowska; actress, producer and writer Alysia Reiner; Henry Louis Gates; and Wadjda director Haifaa Al Mansour.
The board will be responsible for collaborating on the slate of films they will produce. They also plan to start local chapters to make regional impacts.
The organization’s launch comes as the company readies itself for its first public speaker platform, with We Do It Together scheduled to participate at the United Nations’ 3rd Annual Power of Collaboration Global Summit on February 29th. Speaking to the topic of “A Glimpse to Next Stop: Conversations With Men (And Women) in Hollywood,” board member and founder Chiara Tilesi will be presenting the new international non-profit production company model and discussing the organization’s mission of challenging the status quo, producing movies by women and about women, while changing deep-seated perceptions about female stereotypes.
Sitting on the board of directors of We Do It Together are producer Albert Berger; DDA Partner Dana Archer; The Gersh Agency’s Sandra Lucchesi; Mosaic manager Paul Nelson; Producer-Director Carol Polakoff; Primetime Emmy-winning producer Shelby Stone; producer and philanthropist Tilesi; and Septembers of Shiraz writer and producer Hanna Weg.
Article Source – Deadline