Representation in Cinema is becoming a prominent issue with the film industry with the growing focus on identity. One of the areas the film industry seems to have trouble representing is the LGBTQ+ community. While Hollywood seems to have a harder time getting representation right, Independent film picks up the slack. The questions that shaped this project are: Why does Independent cinema do a better job at representing LGBTQ+ people than Hollywood cinema which reaches a larger audience than Independent cinema? Is the Hollywood film industry playing it safe with their general audience? How are films that represent LGBTQ+ people produced (Hollywood and Independently) and does representation affect how the film is received financially and qualitatively? Is the representation positive or negative?
According to GLAAD’s 2016 Studio Responsibility Index out of the 126 films that were released by the 7 major Hollywood Production companies only 17.5% actually depicted LGBT characters and according to their 2017 Studio Responsibility Index only 18.4% depicted LGBT characters. While there is an increase in the amount of representation, there’s clearly room for improvement. LGBT adults make up 4.1% of the US population and (as of 2014) about 3% of the Canadian population. It goes without being said that 4.1% or 3% of an entire country’s population is a substantial number and these people aren’t being represented as well as they could in mainstream Hollywood cinema.
In order to answer these questions, data was collected from films that are both produced by Hollywood and Independently. This data includes production companies, budgets, profits, screenplays, and reception of films released in North America from the past 40 years. This data will be used to give people an insight to what representation currently looks like in both film industries and what some of the reasons behind it are. With this information people will be able to discuss representation and come to a conclusion that can be different from my own or similar. The point is to get people talking about the direction of representation in cinema because that’s the only way solutions can be found.