A mixed-race family, including a daughter with Down's Syndrome, sitting on the couch to watch TV at home.

From Real to Reel: Representation and Inclusion in Film and Television Produced in British Columbia

UBCP/ACTRA partnered with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media to do a study on equity and diversity in the film industry. The report provides data on the on-screen representation of gender, race, disability, fatness, age, and 2SLGBTQIA+ identity in B.C.’s film and television industry. It highlights both the progress that has been made and the challenges that remain in ensuring that all members of our society are accurately and fairly represented on screen. The film and television industry has a unique power to shape public perceptions and attitudes, and it is crucial that the stories we tell reflect the diversity of our communities.

British Columbia (B.C.) hosts a thriving entertainment industry that fosters creative production, including feature films, TV shows, and TV movies. This provides actors with the prospect of landing acting gigs ranging from walk-on parts to leading roles. It is important to assess the diversity of these productions. For decades, research has demonstrated that media affect our perceptions of the world around us, the issues we view as important, our understanding of acceptable behaviors, the norms we do (or do not) question, and the lenses through which we view ourselves. Powerful and persuasive media can inspire change, and everyday media can both inform and reflect our social values. Thus, it is crucial that they accurately reflect the diversity of our society. Further, assessing the diversity of characters in film and television productions is important because it helps to understand what work opportunities are available to performers from equity- and sovereignty-seeking groups. In this analysis, we present findings from feature films, TV shows, and TV movies shot in 2018, 2019, and 2021, based on the representations of six identities: gender, race/ethnicity, 2SLGBTQIA+, disability, fatness, and age. We also analyze characters based on prominence, billing, story role, and traits.

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