News Archive

April 09, 2016

Geena Davis Tackles Unconscious Bias In Entertainment For Children

Geena Davis shared an anecdote with me when I sat down with her last week at the Simmons Leadership Conference in Boston. She told me Catherine Hardwick, the director of the film Twilight, attended the Bentonville Film Festival (BFF) last year and left feeling exuberant and empowered. As she and a group of friends boarded a plane to return to LA, the pilot welcomed everyone on board and announced details of the flight. But in this instance, the pilot was a woman. Hardwick admitted to Davis that her first thought was, “Oh, no. We might not be as safe as I hoped we would be if there were a male pilot.” And then she was astonished by her own unconscious bias! Read More…

March 19, 2016

BFF Packages on Sale NOW!

Did you hear the news?! Downtown Bentonville is not getting just one, but three movie theaters this May! Three portable theaters are being brought in just for the festival! The moment you’ve all been waiting for has finally arrived! BFF passes (ticket packages, not individual tickets) are on sale and can be purchased. Read More…

March 15, 2016

Female characters in film and TV motivate women to be more ambitious, more successful, and have even given them the courage to break out of abusive relationships

Findings show that the lack of strong female characters in film and TV have long term effects on society and the progress of women

London 25 Feb, 2016: As the Oscars and Hollywood continues to draw criticism for the lack of equal representation of gender and diversity, ground-breaking global research by the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media and J. Walter Thompson Company shows that female role models in film and TV are hugely influential in driving women to improve their lives.

The research by the Institute and JWT finds that 90% of women globally feel that female role models in film or TV are important, 61% said female role models in film and TV have been influential in their lives and 58% said that women have been inspired to be more ambitious or assertive.

The survey of 4,300 women in nine countries; Brazil, China, India Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Russia, Australia, the United Kingdom and the U.S., also showed that one-in-nine globally, rising as high as one-in-four in Brazil, said that positive female role models had given them the courage to leave an abusive relationship.

However, 53% of women globally think there is a lack of female role models in film and TV, 74% said they wished they had seen more female role models growing up and 80% said that women should have a louder voice when it comes to cultural influence.

Previous research by the Institute found that the percentage of fictional women in the workforce is even lower than the one that exists in the real world. Of the female characters with a job, less than 25% of employed characters were female, while women make up 40% of the global workforce. Film depictions also fail to reflect the slow but steady progress of female representation across professions. Despite women holding 24% of global political positions out of 127 characters holding political office in films, only 12 were female. In the legal sphere, male judges and lawyers outnumbered females 13 to 1, and in computer science and engineering, the ratio of men to women is 7.6 to 1.

Geena Davis, Founder & Chair, Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media said: “The fact is – women are seriously under-represented across nearly all sectors of society around the globe, not just on-screen, but for the most part we’re simply not aware of the extent. And media images exert a powerful influence in creating and perpetuating our unconscious biases.
“However, media images can also have a very positive impact on our perceptions. In the time it takes to make a movie, we can change what the future looks like. There are woefully few women CEOs in the world, but there can be lots of them onscreen. How do we encourage a lot more girls to aspire to lead? By casting droves of women in STEM, politics, law and other professions today in movies.”

Rachel Pashley, global planner at J. Walter Thompson said: “The combination of existing research and the new findings from our global research prove that the lack of female role models on film and TV has been trivialised for too long – the statistics around abusive relationships in particular brings the importance of the issue into stark contrast. This is a real issue with real societal impact around the globe.

“Saying anything is possible isn’t as powerful as seeing that anything is possible. It’s about setting a precedent; if girls don’t see physicists, racing cars drivers and CEOs on screen, how are they expected to want to be physicists, racing cars drivers and CEOs? By shining a light on this issue when the world is watching, we can start to affect real and significant change.”

The full research report will be available through the Geena Davis Institute in March.

The findings form part of J. Walter Thompson’s Female Tribes project. A living breathing research study dedicated to the largest consumer category in the world; women.

March 13, 2016

Stars speak out about sexism in Hollywood but nothing seems to change

Enough is enough, say a slew of celebrities, including Oscar winners Reese Witherspoon, Patricia Arquette and the second-highest-paid actor in Hollywood, Jennifer Lawrence. They are venting, boldly and in public, about inequality in pay, power and creative opportunities for women in the entertainment business. Geena Davis has been so concerned about the issue she founded the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media in 2006 to commission academic studies that have found a dispiriting dearth of women’s faces in most of Hollywood. Her institute announced a partnership last week with YouTube Spaces to showcase female creators in front of and behind the camera. Changing the status quo, at least in the media, is not that complicated, Davis says. Read More…

March 11, 2016

Exclusive Premiere: Invitation Video for BBQ Films’ Immersive “BEETLEJUICE” Event!

As the immersive horror experience becomes more and more in-demand with each passing event, few can stand with BBQ Films in terms of production and execution. After killing it last fall with their unforgettable BLADE Rave, BBQ Films returns next weekend for an immersive BEETLEJUICE event, hosting a party at Brooklyn’s House of Yes that will re-enact the Wedding Ceremony for Betelgeuse & Lydia Deetz. But what’s a wedding without a formal invitation? Well worry not, fright fans: FANGORIA has the exclusive invitation video (courtesy of BBQ Films) for the petrifying party! Read More…

March 11, 2016

Davis pushes for more female roles; predicts 100,000 at this year’s Bentonville Film Festival

Geena Davis expects crowds to more than double at this year’s Bentonville Film Festival. About 37,000 people attended last year’s inaugural event and she speculated that number to approach 100,000 during this year’s festival May 3-8. Geena Davis speaks Thursday in Giffels Auditorium in Old Main on the University of Arkansas campus in Fayetteville. She made that bold prediction Thursday during a lecture at the University of Arkansas that drew in a standing-room-only crowd of about 280 to Giffels Auditorium. Read More…

March 05, 2016

6 Celebrities You Didn’t Know Were Feminists

Emma Watson, Demi Lovato, Amandla Stenberg, Lena Dunham: celebrity feminists are easy to name. They talk openly about feminism and advocate for feminist issues and we love them for it. But what about the celebrities you didn’t know were feminists? The celebs on this list are of the latter variety. Staunchly feminist, but in a way that you might not have noticed because they’re not saying it in every interview or promoting their agenda on stage. That’s not to say these celebrities aren’t doing good work. A lot of them are advocating just as fiercely as the feminists you read about on a daily basis, only they’re not constantly in the media for their work. Read More…

March 02, 2016

YouTube Funds Women Video Creators, Teams With U.N. and Geena Davis

YouTube, touting itself as a platform that empowers women across the globe, has launched a new initiative to fund and promote content from female creators. The Google-owned video giant program has financed more than 50 videos spotlighting women’s perspectives, shot at YouTube Spaces studios around the world. YouTube also struck a yearlong partnership with the United Nations, which has enlisted seven top YouTube female creators as “change ambassadors” to create videos promoting tolerance and gender equality. In addition, YouTube has partnered with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, the thesp’s nonprofit org whose mission is to improve gender depictions on-screen and create opportunities for women behind the camera. The group provided consulting to creators as part of YouTube Spaces program. Read More… or Watch Video…

March 02, 2016

Geena Davis speaks about diversity

Following the controversy surrounding the lack of diversity in the nominations at this year’s Academy Awards, the 60-year-old actress has called out the film industry in America for not creating worthwhile roles for non-white actresses. In an interview with The Guardian newspaper, she said: “There are so few opportunities for women of colour that they barely register in the research (into the numbers of women in film and TV). We are doing a bad job with women and a horrible job with women of colour. There are female actors nominated for the Oscars because we divide by gender – if it were one category for best performance, we would have a really hard time. But the Oscars are emblematic of a deep-seated problem – really, it’s about the product being put out by Hollywood.” Read More…

March 02, 2016

Beetlejuice To Marry Lydia Deetz In Immersive Ceremony

A recent engagement notice caught our eyes and Den of Geek wrangled an invite to what may well prove to be the wedding of the millennium, or at least a fun way to spend a weekend: BBQ Films have announced the engagement of the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Deetz, Lydia, to Beetlejuice, a long departe, but still upstanding pillar of society with references to prove it. A March wedding is planned for the 20th in Bushwick, Brooklyn. This event also benefits the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. Read More…