Too Few Latinos in Film

If it has seemed like there were too few films that depicted Latinx characters in a positive light, or at all, a recent study has brought to light the extent to which Hispanics are underrepresented or represented negatively in film. Hollywood stands to reap great rewards by addressing this issue.

The Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at the University of Southern California released a study this summer detailing a recent count of Latinx characters in front of the camera and the content creators behind the camera.

The study, “Latinos in Film: Erasure On Screen & Behind the Camera Across 1,200 Popular Movies,” makes several interesting and disturbing revelations:

  • The Latino community plays a large part in overall movie ticket sales, 23% of tickets sold.
  • The number of Latino characters is out of step with the U.S. population. Across the 100 top grossing movies from 2007-2018, only 3% of films featured leads or co-leads with Latino actors.
  • Latinos tend to be shown as negative stereotypes – poor, isolated, uneducated, or criminals.
  • Few Latino content creators (writers, directors) are employed in Hollywood behind the camera.

One remedy lies in employing more Latinx writers, actors, directors and producers to create good content that better represents Latinx characters and stories. Studios need to consider more literary material that features Latinx characters and stories, and be open-minded when casting roles that could be portrayed by a Latino actor.

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