News Archive

Here's the latest on the Institute and Geena Davis.

February 08, 2020

The Ten Best TV Shows Adapted from Best Picture Nominees

Perhaps encouraged by the success of a show like Hannibal, somebody got it in their head that adapting The Exorcist for television would also work. The 1973 film scared the hell out of American moviegoers in its day, but was also such a respected work of cinema by director William Friedkin (not to mention a box-office smash) that the Oscars nominated it for Best Picture (it would lose to The Sting). The TV adaptation starred Geena Davis but focused on a pair of priests tracking murderous/demonic incidents. All told, it was pretty good, with a decent twist along the way, even if it only lasted two seasons. Read more…

February 07, 2020

‘Russell Crowe said don’t cry’: Nicole Kidman and others reflect on first Oscar

It happens in an instant: The envelope is opened, a name is called and the Oscar winner’s life and career are changed forever. To some, the first moments after an Academy Award win felt like an out-of-body experience – it came a shock, the memory is a blur, they felt disoriented. The supporting actress award was presented first in 1989, bringing Geena Davis to the stage at the top of the show. “I sort of can’t believe I have to go first,” Davis declared. Years later, she recalled being nervous about something else, too. “Oh, gosh, I was so shocked, and it all became a sort of blur. I just wandered up on stage and then Melanie Griffith kissed me. … She kissed me. And I remember thinking, ‘Oh, I bet I have lipstick on my face now.’ So, when I was giving my acceptance speech. I was like this,” Davis said, putting her hand to her cheek much like she had years earlier. “And people thought, ‘Oh, she’s shy’ or something. But I was actually like, ‘Oh, I have lipstick on.” Read more…

February 05, 2020

Geena Davis’ Bentonville Film Foundation Unveils Development Program

The selected filmmakers will receive industry support and financial backing over the yearlong program. Eight female filmmakers have been selected to take part in an inaugural development program as part of Geena Davis’ Bentonville Film Foundation, the organization said Wednesday, as part of an initiative to foster voices from underrepresented groups. The See It, Be It Filmmaker Fellowship, a joint program between Bentonville and the Coca-Cola Foundation, offers a yearlong program for eight Bentonville Film Festival alumni, who will receive resources from the industry. Read more…

February 04, 2020

How Geena Davis’ Groundbreaking Research is Helping Girls “See It” So They Can “Be It”

Calling all girls…quick, name your favorite show. How many lead characters are women or girls? How many look like you and your friends? How many of you would like that number to be higher? We thought so. Well, girls – you’re in luck. Geena Davis has your back. Realizing when her daughter was a toddler how many more male than female characters appeared in children’s TV and movies, Golden Globe and Oscar Award-winning actor Geena Davis (she recently received her second Oscar from the Academy’s Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for fighting gender bias in media) got to work. She started asking colleagues in the entertainment industry whether they were aware of a difference in the way male and female characters in children’s media were portrayed. Read More…

January 31, 2020

Despite progress in big-game ads, representation doesn’t match reality

For much of its existence, the NFL’s big game has been home to ads that featured action, comedy, and plenty of men. When women were featured at all, there was a good chance they’d be sporting a bikini. In short, the ads in what has become the nation’s biggest TV event were made by men, for men. To a certain kind of marketer, it made a certain kind of sense. The assumption was that the game was watched predominantly by men. But that’s no longer the case. According to Nielsen, women have accounted for 46% to 47% of total Super Bowl viewership from 2014 to 2018. But the advertising running during the game hasn’t caught up to the people watching it. Why does this matter? Equal representation isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s good for business. In our ongoing work with The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, we found that marketing content on YouTube featuring female led and gender-balanced content attracted 30% more views than male-dominant videos, despite representing less than half of all the videos we studied. Read More…

January 23, 2020

Filmmakers Work to Reframe the ‘Male Gaze’

In the opening shot of Sofia Coppola’s “Lost in Translation” (2003), Scarlett Johansson is lying on a bed, back to the camera, shown in partial view, wearing underpants. In Denis Villeneuve’s “Blade Runner 2049” (2017) a banged-up Ryan Gosling stares up at a bone-thin, enormous nude projection of a woman. More recently, Jay Roach’s “Bombshell” (2019) featured Margot Robbie lifting her dress for John Lithgow as the camera takes in her legs. All typical images from Hollywood films, all doing their job: telling story, building character and providing context. These are images that have been used in cinema almost since its beginnings more than 100 years ago. But what if many shots framed and filmed by directors and cinematographers — men, women, nonbinary — actually do something else, too — like undercut every other progressive stride women make on the camera, and in real life? “It’s about asking filmmakers what they’re trying to achieve,” says Madeline Di Nonno, CEO, Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. “What are they trying to say? Is there a way to depict their vision without objectifying the female character?” Read More…

January 06, 2020

Disney Fights Gender Bias with GD-IQ: Spellcheck for Bias

Disney recently announced they’ll be using GD-IQ: Spellcheck for Bias, artificial intelligence (AI) technology developed by The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media in their scriptwriting process moving forward. The move came in response to years of criticism over the studio’s on-screen history of racism and sexism. The Geena Davis Institute’s AI, GD-IQ: Spellcheck for Bias (Geena Davis Inclusion Quotient), will review completed scripts and report any findings of bias, as well as instances of diversity — like how often female characters are speaking, the number of characters that fall under the LGBTQIA umbrella, and representation of people of color and characters with disabilities — in order to ensure films and shows produced by Disney more closely align with the makeup of the world’s population. Read More…

January 03, 2020

Geena Davis Reflects on Working With Tom Hanks in ‘A League of Their Own’: “He’s Just That Guy”

According to one of his most famous co-stars, the actor — set to receive the Cecil B. DeMille Award at the Golden Globes — proved his nice-guy reputation on the 1991 set: “I don’t think it ever even occurred to us that he was the only guy on the team.”
One of the great joys of my life is that I got to make A League of Their Own with Tom Hanks. He and Penny Marshall, our director, were friends from doing Big together a few years earlier — but I don’t think I’d met him before we started making the movie. Now, A League of Their Own was rather unusual at the time. Read More…

December 16, 2019

Deauville Festival du Cinéma Américain

At Deauville, the facts took precedence over the intentions. The 45th edition of the American Film Festival, was undoubtedly feminine. Marked by the presence of many actresses, directors, screenwriters, producers, the festival had chosen this year to award special prices to four actresses: Kristen Stewart (playing Seberg, by Benedict Andrews), Geena Davis (coming to present the documentary This Changes Everything, by Tom Donahue), Sienna Miller (in American Woman, by Jake Scott, screened in Deauville) and Sophie Turner (the heroine of the Game of Thrones series). The festival also had as president of the jury for the films in competition Catherine Deneuve, and for that of the revelation, Anna Mouglalis. Read more…

December 13, 2019

The 10 best diversity advocates to follow on social media

In our fast-paced world of the 24-hour news cycle and seemingly endless social media scrolling, it can be all too easy to get overwhelmed by an overload of information. Read on to help keep your feeds filled only with the smartest, most informed (and opinionated) people in the game. Our list of the top 10 advocates for diversity to follow on social media includes a wide range of powerhouses, from an indigenous rights attorney to the most powerful showrunner in the world. Read More…

IF SHE CAN SEE IT, SHE CAN BE IT