Gender diversity in all fields is the need of the hour, and films are no different. American actress, film producer, writer and model Geena Davis, who is a champion gender activist, has recently taken on an interesting project to address this. In association with ARC Entertainment, Davis is ready to launch the Bentonville Film Festival with the aim of highlighting diversity in films.

 

Set for May 5-9 in the Arkansas city, the festival will be chaired by Davis and will screen approximately 75 films. Extinguished members of the advisory board are Angela Bassett, Bruce Dern, Samuel L. Jackson, Randy Jackson, Eva Longoria, Julianne Moore, Paula Patton, Natalie Portman, Nina Tassler and Shailene Woodley.

 

Davis told Variety, “The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media is dedicated to improving the representation in gender and diversity of talent, filmmakers, and business leaders by growing awareness through research, education and advocacy. The Bentonville Film Festival is a critical component of how we can directly impact the quantity and quality of females and minorities on screen and behind-the scenes.”

 

Geena Davis
Geena Davis
Picture By: A celebration of women.org

 

Talking about the importance of this festival, an interview with The Wrap, she said, “It all started when my daughter was a toddler… I didn’t intend to take it this far. At first, I was just going to bring it up in industry meetings. When I told people, ‘have you ever noticed how few female characters there are in TV and movies?’ it surprised me how nobody noticed.

 

“And that’s what made me decide to do some research. I discovered, for example, that only 17 percent of crowd scenes in film, live action and animation, are female. Also, no one realizes the ratio of male to female characters has been exactly the same since 1946.” This is a fantastic effort and will hopefully give rise to more awareness about such disparities in the television and film industry.

 

[Feature Picture Courtesy: Entertainment Weekly]