Filmmaker and professor at the University of Hartford, Pedro Bermudez, served as a featured guest in a conversation on the Oscars and representation in Hollywood. Mr. Bermudez began by discussing his career as a filmmaker and storyteller. His career began as a student at the University of Hartford and continued at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles. Mr. Bermudez is the director of Hasta Mañana, a short Spanish-language film shot in Hartford. With the film, Mr. Bermudez sought to explore themes and stories central to the Puerto Rican experience and community.
After describing his background and career, the conversation shifted to #OscarsSoWhite. #OscarsSoWhite is a viral hashtag created by writer and Managing Editor of Broadway Black, April Reign, to draw attention to the lack of people of color nominated for Oscars at the 2016 awards. Conversation focused on the need for a hashtag like #OscarsSoWhite and the ways in which it explicitly draws attention to the lack of representation of people of color in Hollywood. While the hashtag was created in 2016, when no actors of color were nominated for any of the acting categories at the Oscars, the hashtag took off, and has been used to draw attention to the lack of representation of people of color in film, television, and media. The hashtag continued to be used in relation to the 2017 Oscars, even as more actors of color were nominated. Participants and Mr. Bermudez noted that even in 2017, with films like Moonlight, Fences, and Hidden Figures, all which feature Black actors in lead roles and stories that focus on people of color, there is still need for more and broader representation. Mr. Bermudez commented that Latinx actors and Asian actors are still vastly underrepresented in front of the camera and filmmakers of color are often not given opportunities to direct or produce big-budget Hollywood films. The status-quo in Hollywood is often white-male led, directed and produced films, and only with attention will this change. The conversation concluded with Mr. Bermudez encouraging guests to seek out a support a range of films and media, not just stories that feature all white casts and crews.
Inspiration to Action