Society Magazine

These Students Are Sending A Powerful Message to the Oscars

Posted on the 20 February 2015 by Juliez

It may be 2015, but women’s representation in the entertainment industry is still grim. According to the Women’s Media Center, a recent San Diego State University report, for instance, found that women accounted for only 16 percent of directors, executive producers, producers, writers, cinematographers and editors for the top 250 domestically made films in 2013. This number is depressingly low on its own and, unfortunately, is even a decline of 2% from the previous year.

Such statistics demonstrate why events like the Athena Film Festival, which addresses the lack of representation of women filmmakers by devoting an entire weekend to honoring their work, are so important. Kathryn Kolbert and Melissa Silverstein work tirelessly to make the event happen, but what many fans of the festival don’t realize is that a number of Barnard College students devote countless hours to making the festival a reality as well. These students are passionate about not only advocating for better gender representation in the entertainment industry, but about diversifying the field across the board.

The Athena Film Festival team is now continuing their mission with a new video that addresses this problem head on by taking on the Oscars, which notoriously nominated plenty of white men for awards this year. “This year’s Best Picture Oscar nominees not only lack any stories about women, but also include a film that glorifies atrocious acts of war in the name of patriotism and tortured (but noble) white masculinity,” editor and co-star of the short film, Jo Chiang told the FBomb. “The Oscars have yet to prove themselves anything more than a farce funded by Hollywood vanity and indulgence, but the impact the Oscars have on the cultural consciousness cannot be taken lightly.”

“What we are calling for is social responsibility on the part of an institution that plays a large role in shaping public tastes and sentiment,” Chiang said. “The stories we tell are important. The stories that we choose to champion are telling.”

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