×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

6 Takeaways From Variety’s 2018 Inclusion Summit

Innovators from across film, television, and digital media gathered at Variety‘s Inclusion Summit Thursday to discuss the state of diversity and representation within the entertainment industry.

Among the event’s keynote conversations and moderated panels were discussions with Entertainment Studios CEO Byron Allen, Oscar-winning “Moonlight” director Barry Jenkins, and actress Eva Longoria Baston, who shared her experience as a female filmmaker and the struggles that come with it. Other topics included the entertainment industry’s disability community, the benefits of unscripted series, and the future of inclusive storytelling.

Here are some of Variety‘s biggest takeaways from the day’s discussions.

1) It’s possible to pump breastmilk while filming.

As a mother navigating the film industry, cinematographer Rachel Morrison (“Mudbound,” “Black Panther”) said she’s trying to support other new mothers in her field, including one female DP who discovered a way to pump breastmilk while filming with a handheld camera. Other topics of the panel included director Ryan Coogler’s support of Morrison’s jump from independent films to studio work as well as Morrison’s stance on scripts that involve rape tropes: she doesn’t read them. “The more we put that out there, even if it’s cause and effect, it’s legitimizing it in some way,” she said.

2) Eva Longoria Baston had to fight to get a female DP for her upcoming ABC series “Grand Hotel.”

While getting her crew together for “Grand Hotel,” Longoria Baston said she was pushed to hire a male DP despite her best efforts to hire a more diverse crew. Luckily, Longoria Baston said she dug her heels into the ground and was able to hire a female DP in addition to a female stunt coordinator, two female assistant directors, and a largely female camera crew. “If it wasn’t for me saying ‘no’ and not doing the status quo, it doesn’t happen,” she added. “It can’t just be our job; it has to be everybody’s job.”

3) There’s a lack of adaptations from famous African-American authors.

“Moonlight” director Barry Jenkins said one of the reasons he was interested in speaking at the Inclusion Summit was the lack of representation in film for African-American and female authors. He pointed to authors like Toni Morrison and Richard Wright, whose works have only been adopted once, which prompted him to take on James Baldwin’s “If Beale Street Could Talk” for his next project. Of the film, Jenkins said he had to work hard to gain the rights to the novel, which involved getting to know Baldwin’s estate, run largely by his sisters and extended family. “In order to be entreated into Mr. Baldwin’s legacy, I had to become family,” he said.

4) Diego Luna joined Season 4 of “Narcos” because he wanted to help educate people on the real story behind the U.S.’ relationship with the Mexican drug trade.

According to actor Diego Luna, the Mexican drug trade shouldn’t just be a Mexican issue; it’s a global one. After joining the most recent season of Netflix’s hit show “Narcos,” Luna said he’s trying get the word out about what’s actually happening in Mexico by highlighting the origins of the drug trade through the show’s narrative. Through his works, he hopes that the next time someone looks at a line of cocaine, they’ll think about the violence and pain behind it.

5) There’s a plethora of female directors for studios to choose from.

Karey Burke, Freeform exec VP who gave a keynote address with Freeform president Tom Ascheim, said 60% of the directors on Freeform series are women. Burke and Ascheim made a conscious decision to bring more female helmers into the mix in order to broaden the industry’s talent pool. They’ve had no shortage of qualified candidates to choose from, including those that have gone through Disney’s extensive director training programs. “Sometimes you just have to give people a shot,” Burke said.

6) Director Malcolm D. Lee made a conscious effort to hire black department heads for “Girls Trip.”

Coming off of the success of the hit comedy film “Girls Trip,” Malcolm D. Lee said there’s still a lot of work that needs to be done in terms of representation and diversity in film. For “Girls Trip,” Lee said he went out of his way to hire black department heads so that people below them could see people of color in positions of power. However, he said other positions like sound design still lack diversity because a lot of African-American people don’t even think about pursuing careers in those fields. His solution? More exposure to the film industry through internships and other methods of inclusion.

More Film

  • Avengers: Endgame

    'Avengers: Endgame' Reviews: What the Critics Are Saying

    It’s been a long year for Marvel fans since the release of “Avengers: Infinity War,” but the wait is nearly over. The finale to the Infinity Saga is here, and while most diehard fans will know to avoid them for fear of spoilers, early reviews are mostly positive. Last year’s “Infinity War” took home an [...]

  • American Made

    'American Made' Plane Crash Lawsuits End in Settlement

    The producers of the Tom Cruise film “American Made” have settled all litigation surrounding a 2015 plane crash in Colombia that killed two pilots. The settlement resolves pending suits in both California and Georgia. A notice of settlement was filed in Santa Monica Superior Court on Monday. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed. The [...]

  • Avengers: Endgame

    Film Review: 'Avengers: Endgame'

    SPOILER ALERT: The following review contains mild spoilers for “Avengers: Endgame.” The culmination of 10 years and more than twice as many movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, “Avengers: Endgame” promises closure where its predecessor, “Avengers: Infinity War,” sowed chaos. That film — which revealed that the cookie-cutter uniformity of all those MCU movies had [...]

  • Avengers: Endgame

    'Avengers: Endgame': Why a $300 Million Opening Could Be Impossible

    “Avengers: Endgame” is preparing for a staggering debut between $250 million and $268 million in North America alone. Unprecedented anticipation surrounding the Marvel juggernaut has some particularly optimistic box office watchers tossing around even higher numbers, estimating the superhero tentpole could clear nearly $300 million in ticket sales in its first three days. If any film [...]

  • Leonardo Dicaprio Nightmare Alley

    Leonardo DiCaprio in Talks to Star in Guillermo del Toro's 'Nightmare Alley' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Leonardo DiCaprio is in negotiations to star in Fox Searchlight’s “Nightmare Alley,” Guillermo del Toro’s follow-up to his Oscar-winning film “The Shape of Water.” Del Toro will direct the pic and co-wrote the script with Kim Morgan. “Nightmare Alley” is being produced and financed by del Toro and J. Miles Dale with TSG Entertainment, with [...]

  • Ben Affleck

    Ben Affleck to Star in and Direct World War II Caper 'Ghost Army'

    Ben Affleck will star in and direct the Universal Pictures caper “Ghost Army,” based on the book “The Ghost Army of World War II,” written by Rick Beyer and Elizabeth Sayles, as well as the documentary “Ghost Army.” It’s unclear when the movie will go into production as it’s still in development and Affleck is [...]

  • 'Yesterday,' 'Maiden,' 'The Farewell' Set for

    'Yesterday,' 'Maiden,' 'The Farewell' Set for Nantucket Film Festival

    The Nantucket Film Festival has set Danny Boyle’s Beatles-themed fantasy “Yesterday” as the opening night selection for its 24th edition. Universal Pictures’ “Yesterday,” which stars Himesh Patel as a struggling singer-songwriter who wakes up one day to realize he’s the only person who remembers that the Beatles ever existed, will open the fest, which runs [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content