September 27, 2017, Washington D.C. – On Sept. 14 the newly-formed House Caucus for Advancement of Studio, Talent and Film Diversity (CAST) held a panel discussion in Washington calling attention to the barriers facing minorities in the film industry and discussing how to overcome those barriers.
Carter Pilcher, the CEO of ShortsTV moderated the conversation, which included Representatives Hank Johnson (D-GA), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Raul Ruiz, M.D. (D-CA), on-air talent Tsi- tsi-ki Felix of Univision and key leaders of key national stakeholder organizations, including Hilary Shelton of the NAACP, Tony Tijerino, of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation and Felix Sanchez of the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts.
“I was thrilled that these key policymakers and industry leaders came together to focus specifically on increasing the diversity of talent in the film industry. Minority ownership and content are important but growing the base of diverse talent is fundamental – creating a talent pipeline. Without that, we’ll never get sustainable change. We’ll never the rest of it right,” said Pilcher.
Minorities are under-represented by 3:1 in leading roles, 3:1 in directors and 5:1 in writers according to the 2016 Hollywood Diversity Report. “The members of Congress who formed this new caucus understand that we need to build a deep base of diverse talent.”
Congress and industry leaders discussed how they can work together to support more opportunities for diverse talent, breakdown the stereotypes that misrepresent minorities via film, and give viewers, including impressionable children, access to content that more fully represents the diversity of America. “With all the demands on their time, these three, bi-partisan members of Congress, along with Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) are committed to finding solutions that will increase the pool of diverse talent. That’s exciting and their support is critical,” concluded Pilcher.
Participants included: Reps. Hank Johnson (D-GA), Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), and Raul Ruiz, M.D. (D-CA); Hilary Shelton, Vice President for Advocacy/Director to the NAACP's Washington Bureau. of the NAACP; Carter Pilcher, CEO, ShortsTV; Tony Tijerino, President and CEO, the Hispanic Heritage Foundation; Felix Sanchez, Chairman, the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts; Tsi-tsi-ki Felix, News Anchor and National TV Host, Univision Communications.