The panel discussion on diverse films at the 2019 Berlin Film Festival has reached a consensus that, while there has been gains for film directors and writers, there is more to be done to ensure more opportunities for female and minority talent. The gains we are specifically highlighting include the box office success of “Black Panther” and “Crazy Rich Asians” and the Oscar best picture victories of “Moonlight” and “12 Years a Slave.”
The panel agreed that the box office success of diverse films should be seen by international film distributors and studio heads not as exceptional but as the result of increased demand for these films in the global market. Japanese film distributor Kana Koido said Japanese movie audiences have already started embracing movies with diverse casts “as long as there’s a good story.” Screenwriter Misan Sagay insisted that the traditional and outdated attitudes of Hollywood studios, guilds and agencies towards diverse films should be changed in order to keep up with the demands of the audience.
Paramount Pictures executive vice president of worldwide acquisitions Syrinthia Studer argued that diverse filmmakers need to be given equal opportunities with their male and white counterparts and that the best way to address the diversity issue in the film industry is behind the camera in the green-light meetings.