Why isn't TV and film more inclusive of Hispanics and Latinos?

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Friday, March 10, 2023
ABC13 Juntos: "Hispanics and Latinos in Film" town hall
Why are Hispanics and Latinos so underrepresented in film and television? Our panel of filmmakers weigh in.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- While we know on-screen representation is important, new data shows there is still much work to do to ensure the inclusion of Hispanic and Latin storytellers in film and television.

Although Latinos make up about 25% of the U.S. population, only 3.1% of lead television actors and 5.2% of lead film actors are Latin or Hispanic, according to a 2022 report by the Latino Donor Collaborative.

"This has been going on for 50 years. It's not a new problem," said CEO Fanny Veliz Grande, who founded Los Angeles' Avenida Studios in 2016. "We make small strides and we pull back, and as a community, we have to take a stand and say, 'You know what? No more. We're not going to take the crumbs anymore.'"

Thursday, ABC13's Nancy Vazquez assembled a panel of filmmakers for a town hall, highlighting why these disparities are still happening in 2023, and what the industry can do to support diverse storytellers.

Our town hall panel included:

The situation doesn't get much better behind camera, where only 1.5% of showrunners and only 1.3% of directors are Latino, data shows.

In film, Latinos represented just 5.2% of lead actors and 5.1% of co-lead/ensemble actors. Only 3.5% of screenwriters and 2.6% of directors were Latino.

"We as a community have the power to change things because we buy one in four movie tickets," Grande said. "We consume the most media, and we can take a stand and say, 'You know what? Unless you start representing us in a fair way, we're just simply not gonna watch.'"

Researchers at UCLA found of 252 of the top English-language films released in 2021, only 18 movies were led by Hispanic or Latin actors, compared to 154 films for white and 39 films for Black actors.

In 2021, about 70% of film directors of top films were white, compared to about 7.1% of Latinos, according to UCLA's Hollywood Diversity Report.

You can watch the town hall wherever you stream Eyewitness News on your TV, like Roku and Fire TV. Just search "ABC13 Houston."