Some of Hollywood’s leading voices have come together in a new feature-length documentary to speak out about the industry’s long-standing issues with gender discrimination and representation.
After an extensive festival tour, “This Changes Everything” will receive a one-time theatrical release on July 22 via Fathom Events.
Produced in collaboration with Oscar winner Geena Davis and her nonprofit Institute on Gender in Media, the documentary features commentary and firsthand accounts by Davis, Meryl Streep, Reese Witherspoon, Anita Hill, Rashida Jones, Natalie Portman, Shonda Rhimes, and Jill Soloway, among many others both in front of the camera and behind the scenes.
“This Changes Everything” premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival last year and has screened at documentary film festivals around the country.
Directed by Tom Donahue, the film’s official synopsis describes itself as a “feature length documentary that uncovers what is beneath one of the most confounding dilemmas in the entertainment industry — the underrepresentation and misrepresentation of women. It takes an incisive look at the history, empirical evidence, and systemic forces that foster gender discrimination and thus reinforce disparity in our culture.”
“Remember the kids’ books in the 50s — ‘See Dick, See Jane’? I just felt like we see Dick all the time,” Davis, a Wareham native and BU grad, says in the trailer. “I just wanted to see more Jane.”
When children’s film and TV characters are disproportionately male, as a study by the Institute on Gender in Media found, then “we are teaching them that girls and women don’t take up half the space in the world,” Davis says in the film, as reported by Variety.
Founded in 2004 by Davis, the Geena Davis Institute conducts research and workshops on media representation to “expose gender imbalance, identify unconscious bias and creatively remodel content to achieve gender equity.”