Gender inequity stains the entertainment industry from the portrayals of women in front of the camera to the lack of women behind it. Last May, the ACLU made news when it asked for state and federal agencies to investigate what it calls “the widespread exclusion of women directors from employment in directing episodic television and feature films.” Dr. Stacy Smith’s research has brought to light the egregious exclusion of female characters in the media, as well as the sexualized representation of the ones that do appear. Our panel will strive to define the problem and look toward solutions, so that the next generation might enjoy a range of stories, by diverse storytellers
Melissa Goodman (@mg718) is director of the LGBTQ, Gender and Reproductive Justice Project at the ACLU of Southern California. She joined ACLU SoCal as a senior staff attorney in October 2012. Melissa conducts legal and policy advocacy concerning LGBTQ rights, reproductive rights, gender equality, and the rights of people with HIV.
Melissa’s cases include McKibben v. McMahon, a class action case challenging discriminatory treatment of gay, bisexual and transgender prisoners in San Bernardino County, and American Academy of Pediatrics v. Clovis Unified School District, a case challenging medically inaccurate, non-comprehensive, and biased sex education. She leads the ACLU So Cal’s advocacy to end discrimination against women directors, to protect the rights of transgender students and adults, to expand access to quality and confidential reproductive healthcare, to increase protections for working parents, to end bias and over-policing and over-incarceration of LGBTQ people and to improve health care for incarcerated women.
An AFI Directing Workshop for Women alumna, Tessa Blake is an award-winning writer/director whose films have premiered at Cannes and SXSW, have won awards at Nantucket Film Festival and the Human Rights Watch Film Festival, have been honored by the Academy, been released theatrically, and have played on Showtime, Oxygen, PBS & DirecTV.Tessa recently directed an episode of NCIS: New Orleans and is looking forward to more TV directing assignments this fall. She and her husband Ian Williams also work as a writing team for film and television and have enjoyed script deals with ABC, NBC, FOX and Warner Brothers.
Stacy L. Smith (Ph.D., University of California, Santa Barbara, 1999) joined the USC Annenberg faculty in the fall of 2003. Her research focuses on 1) content patterns pertaining to gender and race on screen in film and TV; 2) employment patterns behind-the-camera in entertainment; 3) barriers and opportunities facing women on screen and behind-the-camera in studio and independent films; and 4) children’s responses to mass media portrayals (television, film, video games) of violence, gender and hypersexuality. Dr. Smith has written more than 75 journal articles, book chapters, and reports on content patterns and effects of the media. She has received multiple "top paper" awards for her research from the Instructional Developmental Division of the International Communication Association. In terms of the popular press, Dr. Smith’s research has been written about in The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, The Huffington Post, Newsweek, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, Slate.com, Salon.com, The Boston Globe, and USA Today to name a few. She also has a co-edited essay in Maria Shriver’s book, A Woman’s Nation Changes Everything (2009).
Parking: Free parking with validation in the 5- story public parking lot
These programs are made possible, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and The City of Los Angeles, Department of Cultural Affairs. Additional support provided by the California Arts Council.