Hollywood celebrities Paul Feig, Marta Kauffman and Nancy Meyers called for more diversity in the film industry during a panel at the Austin Film Festival. Feig said he was tired of seeing female characters “play second fiddle to men,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.
For Kauffman, who was honoured at the festival as the Outstanding Television Writer and is known for hits such as Friends and Grace and Frankie, diversity needs to start with the writers. “We need some writers who aren’t white to bring entertainment to not only the community of whatever race or religion you happen to be but so other people can take a look and go, ‘Oh, I get it!’ It humanises everybody,” she explained, adding, “I mean that was our hope with the two gay characters on [Grace and Frankie] – for those that were afraid to connect, they would have a reason to connect.”
Feig, the fest’s Extraordinary Contribution to Film awardee, agreed. He detailed how Hollywood is “embarrassed,” which is leading to more diversity hiring within the industry. According to the director, Hollywood tends to go for what he calls “fads.”
“Suddenly, now we’re into women, now we’re into this, and then it ends. But I think now they’re finally having a fire where people just aren’t putting up with it anymore. And we
need every voice out there telling stories,” he said. Meyers, this year’s Distinguished Screenwriter recipient, said there also has to change at the top.