TORONTO WANTS TO CHANGE CANADIAN FILM AND TV’S “SUPER WHITE” REPUTATION

The city is launching a production assistant training program to remedy the lack of diversity behind the scenes on film and TV productions

Mayor John Tory and Councillor Paula Fletcher launch the Production Assistant Training Program at Astrolab Studios.

Lexi Alexander describes Canada’s film and television industry as “super white.”

The Punisher: War Zone director, who has shot shows like Taken and Arrow in Vancouver and Toronto, considers us worse off than the U.S. when it comes to diversity on film and television sets – and she’s not talking about on-camera representation.

I met with Alexander in Los Angeles last spring to discuss her work with Gabrielle Union and Jessica Alba on the Bad Boys spinoff LA’s Finest. She got to talking about her experiences in Canada with the grips, gaffers, electricians, carpenters, transportation and all the other below-the-line departments that employ most of our film and television workers. That the crews seemed “all white” never made sense to her.

“You have a Palestinian food truck,” Alexander exclaims while trying to process how the most diverse city in the world could lack diverse film crews. “I don’t even have a Palestinian food truck in LA.”

“There’s no mystery,” adds Director X, the Toronto-based filmmaker and artist whose feature credits include Across The Line and SuperFly. “There’s a lack of diversity at the writer’s table, the production table and the fucking lunch tables. This whole industry is very, very white.”

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