ROOSEVELT @ MASON CONUDCTED A PANEL EXPLORING DIVERSITY IN THE FILM INDUSTRY
By Diana Nadira & Muhammad Arham, Staff Writers
On Feb. 27, Roosevelt @ Mason organized a panel discussion called “Technicolor Was Never Meant to Be So White” about the lack of racial diversity in the film industry in collaboration with ODIME, Film and Video Studios, the Communication Department, and the Spanish Language Department. The panelists were Dr. Michelle Allen, Lisa Rabin, Dr. Richard Craig and Giovanna Chesler. Dineo Moja, a student, moderated the panel.
The discussion focused on the #OscarsSoWhite campaign, which arose two years ago. The discussion pointed out the lack of diversity in films. The panelists shared opinions about discrimination based on color, race and gender in the film industry.
“Film serves as entertainment but there should be also responsibility to represent the true diversity and nature of the society,” Dr. Allen said. She added that she would like to see a disabled, person of color or LGBTQ+ individuals in films because those groups are marginalized.
During the discussion, Dr. Craig pointed out certain reasons behind the current lack of representation in the film industry. He says that the lack of financial support for bringing diversity into films could be the major problem. Professor Chesler encouraged art and film students to excel in business.
“I think one of the best things we can do is to train our students to be great artists and craft people, but also business-minded and entrepreneurs,” she said.
Mason students also participated in the discussion. Britney Flores, a film and video studies major, would like to address these issues in her project. Flores pointed out how the film industry discriminates against women and how Hispanic and latin americans are not represented well.
“Whatever the project that I work on, I can’t wait to bring a different perspective in that,” she said.
Elijah James, a film and video studies major, shared an idea to bring diversity in film casting, “Instead of setting standard for your character and searching for the perfect one, you should freely explore the choices of diversity you have. Maybe you will get your character from Asians, Europeans, or Whites, let the choices be wide and open and let the person shape the character.”
Technicolor was conducted as a part of Black History Month and it raised awareness of the importance of diversity in the film industry.
Photo by Nic Macotto