Film Independent Thu 12.15.2016

Film Independent Year-in-Review, Part One: Diversity Speaks!

Our mission here at Film Independent is a simple one. We help filmmakers make their movies, build audiences for their projects and work to diversify the film industry. That’s pretty much it. But while our goals are clear, reaching them takes a lot of work. But regardless of how many nights and weekends we spend furiously putting together our robust slate of an annual awards show, film festival, labs, live events and panels, the simple fact is nothing here happens without your support—whether you’re a filmmaker, Member or just a lover and supporter of personal, innovative storytelling.

Throughout the end of the year, we’ll be spotlighting some of our key accomplishments from the past year in the hope that you’ll consider making an end-of-year donation to help make all that we do here to empower and promote the voices and visions shaping the future of our culture possible.

Like President Josh Welsh said—2016 was a big year for us. The Film Independent Spirit Awards broke new ground in recognizing the achievements of underrepresented filmmakers, as did the LA Film Festival (which relocated to its new home in Culver City) and we continued our commitment to innovative and diverse programming through Film Independent at LACMA and the Film Independent Forum.

There’s a lot to talk about, so let’s start with diversity—beginning from within. In 2016, 71% of Film Independent’s full-time staff was comprised of women, with 44% people of color and 16% identifying as LGBTQ. So hopefully you’ll believe us when we say that this is something we think about a lot.

Our programs work to shine a light on underrepresented filmmakers, including women, people of color and LGBTQ filmmakers. In 2016:

  • 50% of Fellows were women
  • 61% of Fellows were people of color
  • 13% of Fellows identified as LGBT
  • 28% of Education panelists were women
  • 51% of Education panelists were people of color
  • 30% of Film Independent at LACMA panelists were women
  • 36% of Film Independent at LACMA panelists were people of color

Down in Culver City, the LA Film Festival was once again one of the United States’ most consistently diverse mainstream film festivals. Of the features premiering at the 2016 Festival, 38% were made by women and 41% by people of color. The Festival also included Diversity Speaks—a full day of panels featuring conversations about race, cultural representation and the state of inclusive storytelling in the film industry.

Lastly, 31% of 2016’s Film Independent Spirit Awards nominees were women, and 24% were people of color. The awards also saw Black performers claim three of the four acting categories—including Mya Taylor, who also became the first transgender actor to win a major film award for Best Supporting Female in Sean Baker’s Tangerine.

So! If you believe filmmaking is important to our culture (and we know you do), please consider making a donation to support Film Independent. And as an added incentive, all gifts received or postmarked before December 31 will be allowable for your 2016 tax deductions! Click here for more info. Want to check out our annual report? Read the whole thing here.

To learn more about Film Independent, subscribe to our YouTube channel or follow us on Twitter and Facebook. To learn how to become a Member of Film Independent, just click here.

(header: female filmmakers at the 2016 LA Film Festival)