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by Matt Prigge
Gender and inclusivity are two key buzzwords floating about the film world these days, but how are these ideas being implemented? Are they being implemented? And are these issues always binary, black and white? Talking to filmmakers who aren’t Caucasian, male and/or cis, you don’t get clear-cut answers. You don’t always get encouraging answers, though you sometimes do. One gets the impression that this is an industry struggling with ideas that may change it radically, and that some people — even well-meaning allies — are still glomming onto old traditions.
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These issues were confronted directly during IFP Week, particularly at the panel “How Do We Frame the Conversation on Gender and Intersectionality?” For starters, gender remains a problem, at least for some in power.
Yolonda Ross has seen diversity issues from two sides of the business. She’s an actress — currently of Showtime’s The Chi — who’s crossed over into filmmaking; she’s about to start production on her feature directorial debut, Scenes from Our Marriage. As she sees it, the industry has long tended to see the black experience as monolithic. That’s changing, she thinks, and in a way that reflects the diversity amongst specific groups.
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“I’m black, but I don’t act like that person, or like that person. We’re not just that clump, or that clump,” Ross said. She cited the radical differences between Black-run shows like Atlanta, Insecure and Random Acts of Flyness. “We all have different thoughts, we process things differently. I am not any of them, and they are not me. We’re individuals.” But this is a new idea, and the industry still isn’t comfortable with it. “At this point, we’ve seen white people from A to Z. We know you, but you guys don’t know us. We shouldn’t have to push so hard all the...
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"Tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive." C.S. Lewis