۶ خرداد ۱۴۰۱ |۲۵ شوال ۱۴۴۳ | May 27, 2022
News Code: 363020
18 November 2021 - 22:45
Movies Portray Muslim

An advocacy group has created a worker database with help from Disney to bring more Muslims into the filmmaking process.

Hawzah News Agency –A new initiative to promote the inclusion of Muslims in filmmaking has been created by an advocacy group with the support of the Walt Disney Company — following a report issued this year that found that Muslims are rarely depicted in popular films.

The project, the Pillars Muslim Artist Database, was announced on Tuesday by the Pillars Fund, an advocacy group in Chicago. It produced the earlier report on depiction along with the University of Southern California Annenberg Inclusion Initiative and others.

Kashif Shaikh, a co-founder of Pillars and its president, said that when the group discussed the findings, those in the industry often said they did not know where to find Muslim writers or actors.

The database, Shaikh said, aims to give Muslim actors, directors, cinematographers, sound technicians and others, who could help create more nuanced portrayals, the chance to compose online profiles that can be reviewed by those hiring for film, television and streaming productions.

That way, “Muslims around the country would be able to opt in and talk about their talents, talk about their expertise,” Shaikh said. “It was really meant to be a resource for studios, for the film industry.”

The report on depiction, “Missing & Maligned,” was issued in June and analyzed 200 top-grossing movies released between 2017 and 2019 across the United States, Britain, Australia and New Zealand.

Of 8,965 speaking characters, 1.6 percent were Muslim, the report said. It added that just over 60 percent of primary and secondary Muslim characters appeared in movies set in the historical or recent past. Just under 40 percent appeared in three movies which took place in present-day Australia, the report said, and most of those characters — including “the only present-day Muslim lead” — appeared in one movie, “Ali’s Wedding,” released in 2017.

Pillars, along with the Inclusion Initiative and the British actor Riz Ahmed and his production company, Left Handed Films, also released a companion report titled “The Blueprint for Muslim Inclusion” that was intended to “fundamentally change the way Muslims are portrayed on screen.”

Before the reports were issued, Shaikh said, Pillars had begun conversations with Disney, which supported the creation of the database with a $20,000 grant.

Latondra Newton, senior vice president and chief diversity officer of Disney, said in a statement that the support was part of an ongoing effort “to amplify underrepresented voices and untold stories,” adding: “We are honored to support the new Pillars Muslim Artist Database.”

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