In partnership with:

In Partnership with CAPE and Gold House: Understanding API Representation in Film

At the Geena Davis Institute we have partnered with Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment (CAPE) and Gold House to scrutinize the depiction of Asian and Pacific Islander communities within the film industry. This joint effort focuses on the on-screen and behind-the-scenes experiences to gauge inclusion and representation comprehensively.

Comprehensive Studies on API Representation:

  • Personal Experiences Survey: Conducted with CAPE, this survey taps into the firsthand experiences of industry professionals, exploring their views on representation and their roles in entertainment. The participants, ranging from talent to executives in creative positions, share critical insights into the industry dynamics.
  • Film Content Analysis (2010-2019): We analyzed the top-grossing films over a decade to assess the extent of API inclusion. This study provides a quantitative measure of how APIs are represented in mainstream cinema.
  • Detailed Film Review (2017-2020): A focused review of films featuring API actors in major roles, produced by leading studios and streaming services. This analysis seeks to understand how these characters are portrayed and whether they perpetuate stereotypes.

Key Findings on API Representation in Hollywood

  • A significant majority of API professionals believe authentic representation involves portraying their communities truthfully on screen, yet many feel that Hollywood does not share this view.
  • The findings underscore a prevalent dissatisfaction with the current state of API representation, both on screen and behind the scenes. A large majority report experiencing microaggressions and racism, indicating systemic issues within the industry.
  • Despite APIs constituting over 7% of the U.S. population, they are significantly underrepresented in leading roles in major films, and stereotypes continue to persist in character portrayals.

Strategic Recommendations for Enhanced API Representation

  • Diversify API Portrayals: Encourage nuanced representations that reflect the rich diversity within the API communities, avoiding monolithic portrayals.
  • Challenge Stereotypes: Address and debunk prevalent stereotypes like the “model minority” myth, advocating for a more balanced depiction of the API economic realities.
  • Expand Opportunities: Increase funding and support for API storytellers and promote diverse casting to ensure APIs are represented across all genres of film.
  • Empower Voices: Develop programs that empower API professionals within the industry, ensuring their perspectives and stories influence mainstream media narratives.