NYFF: Michael Moore Calls Lack of Diversity in Hollywood "A Form of Apartheid"
"When you block out whole groups of film by that cinema, what are the great films that you and I are missing because their great voices can’t be heard?" he said in a Sunday discussion.
Among Michael Moore’s list of grievances is the lack of diversity among Hollywood filmmakers — particularly, that the low number of female directors is “a form of apartheid.”
During the audience Q&A portion of a conversation with Moore at the New York Film Festival on Sunday, Just Another Girl on the I.R.T. director Leslie Harris asked about the oft-discussed topic — specifically, what their white male counterparts can do to help minorities break through.
“It’s amazing, really, that women are so nice, or that any of us have throats left — I mean, seriously, we’re lucky,” said Moore, after quoting the USC statistic that only 1.9 percent of the top-grossing 100 films over the past two years were directed by women.
“Women [and] especially men need to say this, and say it over and over and then do something about it. My guild, the Writers Guild [of America], Directors Guild [of America], we have to fix this. This is absolutely wrong," Moore said, after agreeing to appear in Harris' next film. "This is the most liberal of all industries, when you use the word ‘industry’ in this country, and for it to be so shamelessly white and male?”
“I’m not saying that just because I’m a liberal making a politically correct statement; I’m saying it as a filmgoer and audience member,” he continued. “I’m missing out on her story. Their stories. That person. When you block out whole groups of film by that cinema, what are the great films that you and I are missing because their great voices can’t be heard? I want to go to that movie. I want to hear that voice. I’m being denied that voice by a system that’s sent out to give the reins to white men."
“I’m telling you, anthropologists are not gonna look kindly on us. We’re gonna look like Neanderthals, and they’re gonna say, ‘Even the liberal ones, the liberal ones let 1.9 percent of the majority gender make movies,’” he concluded on the matter. “It’s a form of apartheid, folks, when a minority controls everything and the majority gets a bone thrown to them. That’s just absolutely wrong.”
Moore's latest film, Where to Invade Next, is screening at the New York Film Festival.