Promoting Diversity & Inclusion in Film Industry
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 8 min read


Movie magic isn't just about the special effects, it's also about the people who bring stories to life. More and more, we're seeing the power of workplace diversity and inclusion in the film industry. It's not just about being fair—it's about making better films. In this blog, we'll explore why diversity and inclusion are so important and how we can promote them at every level, from casting to distribution.

Reasons for promoting diversity and inclusion in the film industry

When you think of the film industry, you might picture Hollywood stars and big-budget blockbusters. But behind the scenes, there's a world of people working together to make those movies happen. That's why workplace diversity and inclusion in the film industry are so vital. Let's look at some reasons why:

  • Richer storytelling: Diverse teams bring a wider range of experiences, perspectives, and ideas to the table. This can lead to more creative and authentic stories, which can connect with a broader audience.
  • Better representation: When the people making films reflect the diversity of the world, the films themselves are more likely to do the same. This is important because when people see themselves represented on screen, they feel seen and understood.
  • Greater innovation: In any industry, but especially in film, new ideas are key. A team with a mix of backgrounds, experiences, and ways of thinking is more likely to come up with fresh, innovative solutions to challenges.
  • Improved financial performance: Studies have shown that movies with more diverse casts and crews tend to do better at the box office. Film is a business, after all, and diversity can be good for the bottom line.

So, promoting workplace diversity and inclusion in the film industry isn't just the right thing to do—it also makes sense from a business perspective. And it can lead to films that are more engaging, more representative, and more successful. Now, that's what I call a win-win!

How to promote diversity in casting

When we think about diversity in the film industry, casting is usually the first thing that comes to mind. And it's true: who we see on screen matters. But how can we promote diversity in casting? Here are some strategies:

  • Break free from stereotypes: All too often, casting decisions are based on outdated stereotypes. Instead of casting based on physical appearance or background, focus on talent and fit for the character.
  • Open up auditions: Consider "open" or "inclusive" casting calls, where anyone can audition, regardless of their age, race, gender, or experience level. This can help bring in a wider range of talent and perspectives.
  • Work with diverse casting directors: Casting directors play a major role in the selection process. By working with casting directors from diverse backgrounds, you can increase the diversity of actors considered for roles.
  • Commit to diversity at all levels: Diversity shouldn’t just be for background characters or minor roles. Commit to casting diverse actors in lead roles and make sure their characters are well-developed and integral to the plot.

Remember, diversity in casting isn't just about checking a box. It's about reflecting the real world, telling richer stories, and giving all actors a fair shot. So next time you're casting a film, take a moment to think: could this role be played by someone unexpected? Could a different perspective bring something new to the character? The answer might surprise you.

Increasing diversity in film crews

When it comes to workplace diversity and inclusion in the film industry, it's not just about who's in front of the camera, but also who's behind it. The people who work on film crews—directors, producers, cinematographers, sound engineers, and so on—have a big impact on the final product. But how can we increase diversity in film crews? Here are some ideas:

  • Hire intentionally: Make a conscious effort to hire crew members from different backgrounds. This might mean going beyond your typical hiring channels or taking a chance on someone with less experience but lots of potential.
  • Provide training opportunities: Not everyone has access to the same educational opportunities or experiences. Offering training or internships can help level the playing field and bring in new talent.
  • Create a welcoming environment: Having diverse crew members is one thing, but making sure they feel valued and included is another. Foster a positive workplace culture that respects and celebrates individual differences.
  • Promote from within: Don't just hire diverse crew members—promote them. This not only gives them opportunities for growth, but also brings diverse perspectives to leadership roles.

Increasing diversity in film crews isn't just the right thing to do—it can also lead to better films. After all, different perspectives can lead to more creative ideas, deeper understanding of characters and stories, and a broader audience appeal. So next time you're assembling a film crew, remember: diversity isn't just a buzzword—it's a strategy for success.

Inclusive storytelling

The magic of movies lies in their ability to tell stories that captivate, challenge, and change us. However, the real power of storytelling comes to light when it's inclusive. Inclusive storytelling is about taking steps to ensure that stories from all walks of life get told. So, how can we ensure more inclusive storytelling in the film industry? Here are some ideas:

  • Include diverse characters: The first step to inclusive storytelling is to create characters from all walks of life. This includes different races, religions, gender identities, abilities, and more. The more varied our characters, the richer our stories.
  • Tell authentic stories: Including diverse characters isn't enough if their stories aren't authentic. Do your research, consult with people who have lived experiences similar to your characters', and strive for accuracy and authenticity in your storytelling.
  • Listen to feedback: Inclusive storytelling is a continuous learning process. Be open to feedback from audiences and critics, especially those from the communities your stories represent. They can provide valuable insights to help you improve your storytelling.
  • Challenge stereotypes: Inclusive storytelling means not just telling diverse stories, but also challenging harmful stereotypes. Be mindful of how your characters and stories might reinforce or challenge existing stereotypes.

Inclusive storytelling isn't just about doing what's right—it's also about creating better, more engaging films. By telling a wider range of stories, you can reach a broader audience and make a bigger impact. So, whether you're a screenwriter, a director, or a producer, remember: inclusive storytelling is a powerful tool for promoting workplace diversity and inclusion in the film industry.

Diversity in film production management

Now, let's talk about diversity in film production management. This is where the decisions are made and the direction of the film is set. And it's also where there's a lot of room for improvement when it comes to diversity and inclusion.

  • Seek out diverse talent: Look beyond the usual suspects when hiring for your production team. There are talented professionals from underrepresented groups out there, eager to bring their unique perspectives and talents to your project.
  • Provide equal opportunities: It's not enough to just hire diverse talent—you also need to provide them with equal opportunities to grow and advance. This could mean offering mentorship programs, professional development opportunities, and a clear path to promotion.
  • Create a welcoming environment: A diverse team will only thrive if they feel welcomed and valued. Make sure your workplace is inclusive and respectful, where everyone's voices are heard and valued.
  • Lead by example: As a leader in film production management, you have a responsibility to foster diversity and inclusion. Show your commitment through your actions, not just your words.

Remember, diversity in film production management isn't just about ticking a box. It's about creating a team that reflects the world we live in, and using that diversity to create better films. As you work towards greater workplace diversity and inclusion in the film industry, remember that every step you take towards inclusivity is a step towards better storytelling and a brighter future for film.

Promoting diversity in film distribution

Just as we've seen in production, promoting diversity and inclusion doesn't stop when the cameras do—it continues into film distribution. Distributors play a major role in deciding which films reach audiences and how. So, let's look at how we can make this process more diverse and inclusive.

  • Give diverse films a platform: Distributors have the power to ensure films from diverse creators get the exposure they deserve. This doesn't just mean big-budget films, but also independent films, documentaries, and short films that tell diverse stories.
  • Consider diverse markets: The world is a big place, filled with diverse audiences. Distributors should consider this and work to bring films to a variety of markets, not just the most profitable ones.
  • Collaborate with diverse media outlets: Partnering with media outlets that cater to diverse audiences can help films reach viewers they might not otherwise.
  • Foster relationships with diverse filmmakers: By building relationships with filmmakers from underrepresented communities, distributors can help ensure that these creators' works get the recognition they deserve.

By promoting diversity in film distribution, we can ensure that a wider variety of stories reach the screen. In doing so, we take another step forward in promoting workplace diversity and inclusion in the film industry. Remember, diversity in film isn't just about who's in front of the camera or behind it—it's also about who's deciding what films make it to our screens.

Role of film festivals in promoting diversity and inclusion

Film festivals, big and small, have a unique and powerful role in promoting workplace diversity and inclusion in the film industry. They provide a platform for unheard voices and unconventional narratives, shaping audience perspectives one film at a time. Here's how:

  • Spotlight on diverse talent: Film festivals often showcase films from a wide array of filmmakers. This includes those from different backgrounds, cultures, and experiences. By showcasing these films, festivals help diverse talent get the recognition they deserve and challenge the industry norms.
  • Encourage diversity in juries: Juries at film festivals are the decision-makers. Having a diverse jury ensures different perspectives are considered when selecting winners. This can lead to more diverse films being recognized and celebrated.
  • Hosting panels and discussions: Many film festivals host panels and discussions on diversity and inclusion in the industry. These events can lead to meaningful conversations, action, and change within the industry.
  • Creating inclusive environments: Film festivals can set a standard for inclusion by being accessible to everyone. This can mean providing subtitles, sign language interpreters, or even creating a safe and welcoming environment for people of all backgrounds.

Film festivals can be a beacon of change in the film industry. They have the power to challenge, inspire, and drive forward the conversation on workplace diversity and inclusion in the film industry. So, next time you attend a festival, remember, you're not just watching a film—you're part of something bigger.

Case studies of successful diversity and inclusion in film

Let's take a look at some films that have made significant strides in promoting workplace diversity and inclusion in the film industry. They've proven that diverse and inclusive storytelling not only makes for compelling cinema, but also paves the way for a more inclusive industry.

  • "Black Panther": This Marvel blockbuster defied industry norms by featuring a predominantly Black cast and crew. It demonstrated that films led by people of color can achieve massive commercial success. It also broke barriers by hiring Ruth E. Carter, the first African-American woman to win an Academy Award for Best Costume Design.
  • "The Shape of Water": Guillermo del Toro's Oscar-winning film showcased diversity in a different way. It highlighted the power of inclusive storytelling by featuring a mute protagonist and a narrative that embraced those who are often marginalized in society.
  • "Parasite": This South Korean film directed by Bong Joon Ho proved that language is no barrier to good storytelling. It was the first non-English language film to win Best Picture at the Oscars, showing that diverse cultural narratives have a place in mainstream cinema.
  • "Wonder Woman": Directed by Patty Jenkins, this film was a game-changer for gender diversity in the film industry. Jenkins became the first woman to direct a big-budget superhero film, showing that women too can helm commercially successful films.

These case studies show that workplace diversity and inclusion in the film industry isn't just a nice-to-have—it's a must-have. They demonstrate that when diverse voices are given a chance to tell their stories, the result is nothing short of magical. So, here's to more diversity and inclusion in films, today and always!

If you're passionate about promoting diversity and inclusion in the film industry, we highly recommend checking out the workshop 'Indie Film Composing: Finding Filmmakers' by Daisy Coole. This insightful workshop will help you understand the importance of diversity in filmmaking and provide valuable tips on how to foster an inclusive environment in your projects.