TV crews in US still struggle with inclusion

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Los Angeles, Aug 4 (IANS) Actress Priyanka Chopra hopes she has opened doors for women and people of colour with “Quantico”, but the television industry still falls short when it comes to diversity.

When the Emmy nominations were announced on July 12, they once again cast a spotlight on the lack of diversity in the industry, not just in front of the camera but also behind the camera. But it should also be noted that the Emmy statistics are a symptom, not a cause, of the industry’s gender and ethnic imbalances, reports variety.com.

“The Emmys, the Oscars and other selections are evidence of the opportunities that have been presented to people,” says cinematographer John Simmons, co-chair of the American Society of Cinematographers’ Vision Committee and a governor of the TV Academy.

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“Our peer group gets together and we judge the films and TV shows that are made. The discriminatory practices of the industry become the foundation of the things we get to view.”

The statistics of the Creative Arts categories are certainly not encouraging if you are a woman or a person of colour.

In the visual effects category alone, only 16.3 per cent are women and 19.8 per cent people of colour.

“The ratio feels accurate,” says managing producer Lindsay Seguin, one of this year’s nominees for NBC’s “Mr. Robot”, who along with her colleague Lauren Montuori makes up two of the eight women nominated for visual effects in her category, alongside 36 men.

For Seguin, that’s just par for the course.

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“When I’m in the room for a big important meeting, I’m usually one of the only women,” she said.

In cinematography, where the statistics are even more unbalanced, the ASC Vision Committee was created to address the professional challenges of underserved minorities, variety.com reported.

“One of our goals is to change the optics of the industry and create environments that make it not unusual, but the norm, for a camera person to be a woman or a cinematographer to be black. It’s about making crews look like the society we live in,” said Simmons, who is African-American.

Simmons feels change begins with the studios, and department heads in particular. Part of the solution, he believes, is introducing mandates that demand the hiring of a more diverse crew.

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–IANS

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