LA Film Festival announces its 2018 competition lineup

Alfred Molina, Michelle Monaghan and Common star in "Saint Judy," a world premiere in the L.A. Muse section of the 2018 L.A. Film Festival.

The L.A. Film Festival announced its 2018 competition lineup Tuesday, with 40 feature films, 41 short films and 10 short episodic works from around the world screening over the course of the eight-day event.

Of the festival’s films, 42% are directed by women and 39% are directed by people of color.

“Our mission of finding fresh new voices from different geographical and cultural axes remains true,” festival director Jennifer Cochis said in a statement. “These storytellers are united by their ability to transport, impact and inspire audiences with the power of their craft.”

Continue @ Los Angeles Times

12 Photographers Explain Why Storytelling Needs a New Look

Since 1888, National Geographic has been sharing the world with its readers, but stories are shaped by those doing the telling—and historically those perspectives have been white and male.

Editor-in-chief Susan Goldberg explains the publication’s need for self-assessment in a recent issue on race, “It hurts to share the appalling stories from the magazine’s past. But when we decided to devote our April magazine to the topic of race, we thought we should examine our own history before turning our reportorial gaze to others.” To do that, National Geographic asked a preeminent historian to survey its coverage.

Continue @ National Geographic

Royal Society of Literature admits 40 new fellows to address historical biases

Nearly 200 years after it was founded, the venerable Royal Society of Literature is stepping away from its “overwhelmingly white, male, metropolitan and middle class” history, with the appointment of 40 new writing fellows under the age of 40, ranging from the award-winning Jamaican poet Kei Miller to the bestselling English novelist Sarah Perry.

The RSL’s 40 Under 40 initiative saw publishers, literary agents, theatres and author organisations put forward an array of names to a panel of RSL fellows, who were looking to honour “the achievements of Britain’s younger writers” with the selection of a new generation of fellows. Prior to the initiative, only three of the 523 fellows were under 40, with none under 30 and the average age being 70.

Read @ The Guardian

BAFTA Details Diversity Requirements for 2019 Film Awards

BAFTA has spelled out the diversity criteria films will need to meet for the two British film categories in its 2019 Film Awards. The British Academy came in for a barrage of criticism after this year’s Film Awards nominations included just two non-white actors out of 20 nominated and a best director category devoid of women.

Read @ Variety

Bilal: A New Breed of Hero brings Emirati storytelling to animation

Animation, as have all movies and TV shows in the past few decades, has had to evolve its mindset in order to include more diverse voices and more diverse stories. Campaigns like #OscarsSoWhite have tackled more live-action fare, but with this year’s Coco (the incredibly successful Mexico-set Day of the Dead Disney film) and last year’s Moana (a pan-Polynesian island adventure), animation is starting to pick up on what the rest of the industry is moving towards. No film is more interesting in that regard than the upcoming Bilal: A New Breed of Hero, the first-ever animated feature from the United Arab Emirates. Continue reading “Bilal: A New Breed of Hero brings Emirati storytelling to animation”

The kids are all white: can US festivals live up to their ‘post-racial’ promise?

Festival issues, including diversity, run much deeper than just the performing lineup.

In the heady optimism of the early Obama years – which coincided with the stateside festival industry’s sixfold attendance boom – the phrase “post-racial” began to creep into the lexicon, and music festivals began promoting themselves as spaces where lofty ideals could be realized. On grassy fields and under big tops, differences of race, gender and sexual orientation are supposedly set aside in pursuit of a diverse, multicultural harmony-via-hedonism. In terms of race, this has proven to be a half-truth. O

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