Underrepresentation and Misrepresentation in Vancouver’s Film and TV Productions

KEY TAKEAWAYS
A recent study by UBCP and The Geena Davis Institute found that American film and TV productions shot in Vancouver have significantly underrepresented or misrepresented women, people of color, and other marginalized groups.
The study analyzed approximately 7,000 characters in 52 films, 103 TV shows, and 75 TV movies produced in British Columbia in 2018, 2019, and 2021.
The study revealed disparities in gender representation, with men outnumbering women on screen, and racial inequality and lack of diversity, with white characters making up two-thirds of all characters in British Columbia productions.
Marginalized groups such as the LGBTQ+ community, people with disabilities, and people over the age of 50 remain underrepresented in British Columbia productions.
The study emphasizes the need for more diverse representation, particularly for actors of color in TV movies, as well as greater inclusion of older actors from the LGBTQ+ community. The hope is that the study will inspire change and lead to a more ethical and just society in the Canadian entertainment industry.

 

A recent study conducted by the Union of British Columbia Performers (UBCP) and The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media has found that American film and TV productions shot in Vancouver have significantly underrepresented or misrepresented women, people of color, and other marginalized groups in recent years.

Examining Representation in Film and TV

The study, titled “Real to Reel: Representation and Inclusion in Film and Television Produced in British Columbia,” analyzed approximately 7,000 characters in 52 films, 103 TV shows, and 75 TV movies produced in the province in 2018, 2019, and 2021.

It investigated representation based on prominence, billing, story role, and traits of gender, race/ethnicity, disability, age, and sexual orientation.

Disparities in Gender Representation

The report reveals that men outnumber women on screen, with 55% male characters compared to 44.9% female characters.

The difference is most pronounced in theatrical movies, where 61.2% of characters are male and 38.6% are female.

In contrast, TV movies show a more balanced representation, with 50.7% male characters and 49.3% female characters.

Racial Inequality and Lack of Diversity

White characters make up two-thirds of all characters in British Columbia (B.C.) productions, with TV movies having the highest share of white characters at 74.2%.

The report also found that white characters are more likely to have lead roles in both films and TV series produced in B.C.

The study, titled “Real to Reel: Representation and Inclusion in Film and Television Produced in British Columbia,” analyzed approximately 7,000 characters in 52 films, 103 TV shows, and 75 TV movies produced in the province in 2018, 2019, and 2021.

Marginalized Groups Remain Underrepresented

The study showed that the LGBTQ+ community accounts for only 5% of characters in B.C. productions, with the majority appearing in TV shows and the fewest in TV movies.

Additionally, only 3.3% of onscreen characters are people with disabilities, and people over the age of 50 make up less than 20% of all characters.

Calls for Change and Increased Diversity

The study emphasizes the need for more diverse representation, particularly for actors of color in TV movies, as well as greater inclusion of older actors from the LGBTQ+ community.

Angela Moore, an executive board director at UBCP/ACTRA and chair of the guild’s BIPOC committee, believes that improved onscreen representation can lead to a more equitable distribution of roles and work opportunities for local performers.

Using the Study to Inspire Change

The first-of-its-kind report can serve as a baseline for future assessments and comparisons, potentially influencing producers and casting agents to make changes in their practices.

The film and television industry has the power to shape public perceptions and attitudes, and it is essential that the stories told reflect the diversity of communities.

With this study, the hope is that it will inspire change and lead to a more ethical and just society in the Canadian entertainment industry.

Craig Miller

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