Originally published on LinkedIn Influencers on February 2, 2015
Hollywood has a terrible track record on diversity. This is not new news, as people have been calling for more women and people of colour both on screen and behind the scenes for years. What is new, however, is how this issue seems to have finally broken through into the mainstream consciousness. Led by Cate Blanchett’s galvanizing Oscar acceptance speech last year, more and more Hollywood actresses are speaking out and standing up for gender equality, and when this year’s Oscar nominations were announced earlier this month, #oscarssowhite blew up on Twitter in response to Ava DuVernay’s snub for Best Director, as well as the fact that all 20 acting nominees are white actors for the first time since 1998. People are demanding that Hollywood be held accountable for its lack of diversity, and the USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism believes they know how to do this.
Led by Professor Stacy L. Smith, this research institute and media think tank has been producing reports on diversity in media content since 2006, all of which have addressed a variety of issues such as gender representation on screen and behind the scenes, portrayals of race and ethnicity both on screen and behind the…
The 2015 Sundance Film Festival kicks off tonight with the world premier of the film “What Happened, Miss Simone?” followed by the opening night Artist at the Table dinner ( sold out!) I happen to know the Director Liz Garbus, an amazing woman, and I am so happy for her in securing this prestigious spot. Friday morning is the first full day of films.
Each year I have put together a list of all the films that I am scheduled to see. Will I see all of these? Likely not, but I will give it a shot. There were so many others I wanted to see but the trick is finding the films, at the right time, in the right location. It is challenging getting around Park City, especially during the opening weekend. What I have not included are the various amazing panels and parities, but I will include the highlights in my festival recap. If I am making you very sad that you are not here you can watch 13 amazing events on line by clicking here. For more info on all the films click here. Love for you to follow me on Twitter @jackizehner as I tweet my way through the festival! Happy Sundancing to all!
In 2011, Miss Representation, a feature length documentary film directed by Jennifer Siebel Newsom, premiered at Sundance and was picked up for distribution by Oprah Winfrey. From this film, a call to action campaign called The Representation Project was launched to call out sexism in the media, and its advocacy efforts continue to this day. Now, Jennifer is back with her follow up film, The Mask You Live In, which looks at the harmful effects of today’s standards of masculinity on young men and boys. This film will premiere at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival, and today I received this message from Jennifer about the project:
“In 2011, I premiered my first film, Miss Representation, which looked at how media contributes to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence in America. While traveling the world with Miss Representation, I encountered many parents and educators who thanked me for making Miss Representation, but asked, “What about our boys? Isn’t there a boy crises going on? And, how can we help our boys and men be a part of the gender equality solution?” After all, stereotypes hurt everyone, girls and women, boys and men.
As a mother committed to equality — not to mention our children’s health and well-being — these questions sparked my concern and curiosity. So I began research and production on The Mask You Live In to explore what was really going on with masculinity in America and our boys. From interviews with experts in…