These days among many organizations there is the buzz word of diversity (or employment equity) and many are trying to at least make the effort to diversify their staff for productivity and profits. But one industry in the media which is the film industry is lagging far behind. I am not referring to actors front of the camera, but rather various departments behind the scenes such as Set Dec, Construction or Wardrobe.
Prior to leaving the film industry about three years ago, I spent about five years in the Set Dec department working in British Columbia. The duty of a set decorator is to dress the stage before a scene is shot, from creating an elaborate ballroom to setting up a doctor’s office.
During these five years I got the opportunity to work with hundreds of people on many television shows and films. However, I cannot recall working with one non-Caucasian person! However, I did work with a large number of Lesbians but no gay men. I am sure there were some who just refused to come out. Believe or not it is still somewhat a “white boys club”.
I must add the attitudes towards people of colour were not malicious but among the teamsters towards ethnics, gays and lesbians and women were a different story. Cultural sensitivity education training is required on a regular basis.
I believe not only attitudes but also tougher mandate needs to be implemented to bring about and reflect diversity in the North Hollywood film industry in B.C., which is one of the largest in North America. (No one returned phone calls from the film industry)
To reflect diversity in this part of the film industry is now vital than ever before especially when the provincial liberal government recently allocated over 12 million dollars to bring Bollywood awards to British Columbia. This money was spent to lure Bollywood productions to Metro Vancouver.
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