Diversity has been a withstanding issue in the film industry since its earliest foundation. Stemming back to the unequal wages given to men and women for the same job which continues to this day, it has grown to offend races, nationalities, and so on. The #OscarsSoWhite movement only reached its peak popularity in the last three award seasons, and yet the issues have been around for much longer. Why did the public wait so long to react? Why did it take so long to have a problem formally addressed by the entire industry?
Richard Sustaita is a student at the Art Institute who just completed his portfolio film, which he describes as “[A] situation where the school throws you to the wolves.” This is the beginning of a filmmaker’s entry into the real world and the industry. Now being in the scene, the rest of Richard’s future, as well as all filmmakers today, will be affected by the flaws in the system.
“There’s a lot of diversity coming in through the lowest levels and now it’s just starting to peak,” he goes on to say. As the world at large and the industry itself grows, it becomes a more colorful picture. We’ve grown far from segregation. More and more artists of color have been rising throughout the years. As the years go by, they’ve had to do more and more to stand out. Their undervalued work is moved by strong dedication to be equal. “I know there’s a lot of talent out there that isn’t just caucasian, and they’re working just as hard as I am, if not harder…”
Changes are being made day-by-day. New faces are being brought in to diversify companies and businesses. As we’ve seen from the last award season, the outrage has died down and results have surfaced. The Oscar nominees were well diversified, and so were the winners. There is still an outstanding call for further progress, to create more roles and jobs for diversified talents. The problem isn’t casting colored actors, but rather developing roles specific for colored people. Not in boycotting award shows, but taking problems directly to executives with the power to make changes.
Richard believes change has already started. Social media has evolved to the point where it is much more than entertainment and checking up on old friends. As opposed to the old days where we couldn’t be very affected by news we didn’t hear, today we can take more vigilant notice of everything happening around us. The movement wouldn’t have happened if we couldn’t spread it all over the internet through a simple hashtag.
Richard goes on to talk about the specific changes being made, such as a female president of the Academy, and “They recently changed the guidelines of what it takes to be a member of that board.” This means change has begun, new faces are being brought in, and we are all striving for equality together in unison.
“I believe that the future is gonna be very positive. There’s a lot of strong people who believe in diversity who are making their way up. It’s just a matter of time.”