Eva Longoria Baston has delivered a powerful talk at the Kering Women in Motion gathering in Cannes not only highlighting Hollywood’s lack of diversity and representation but also the industry’s lack of action to create meaningful change.
The Desperate Housewives alum who recently made her feature directorial debut at the festival with her film Flamin’ Hot, took to the stage last week where she spoke of the challenges she’s faced as a first-time director being both female and Latina:
“We don’t get a lot of bites at the apple,” she said. “When was the last Latina-directed studio film? It was like 20 years ago. We can’t get a movie every 20 years.”
She continued,”The problem is if this movie fails, people go “Oh Latino stories don’t work, female directors really don’t cut it.’ We don’t get a lot of at-bats. A white male can direct a $200 million film, fail and get another one. That’s the problem. I get one at-bat, one chance, work twice as hard, twice as fast, twice as cheap.”
Flamin’ Hot is about a janitor who invented the Flamin’ Hot Cheetos snack and shares a reflection of corporate America’s treatment of the Latino community. It’s based on the 2013 memoir by Richard Montaez and stars Jesse Garcia, Emilio Rivera, Annie Gonzalez, Bobby Soto and more.
Continuing her talk, Eva explained that Latino audiences are major consumers of film and television and deserve to have their stories told too:
“28% of ticket buyers at the box office are Latino. Your film will not succeed if you don’t have the Latino audience…. So why shouldn’t there be content for us if we are the ticket buyers? If we are the viewers?”
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Eva was joined on stage by Dr Stacy L. Smith, founder of the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative which researches diversity in the industry.
“Are we showing the stories that aren’t told? And then who is working behind the camera?” Dr Smith asked, highlighting the lack of representation off-screen too.
And while it may feel like the industry is making some progress in terms of representation with films such as Encanto and In The Heights, Eva pointed out that the statistics tell us otherwise:
“We’re still underrepresented in front of the camera, we’re still underrepresented behind the camera, we’re still not tapping into the females of the Latino community. We were at 7% in TV and film, now we’re at 5%, so the myth that Hollywood is so progressive is a myth when you look at the data… the reality is that we’re still far behind in equal representation.”
Watch Eva Longoria’s full chat here.
(Feature Image Credit: FeatureFlash Photo Agency/Shutterstock)
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