Filmify – a Platform to Promote Diversity in the Film Industry

Presenter: Natalie Duerr

Research Category: Interdisciplinary Topics, Centers and Institutes
College: College of Arts Media & Design
Major(s): Art and Design
Student Type: Undergraduate
Graduation Date: 2021
Additional Authors: Celine Yan, Josh Pensky, Karisa Tzeng, Srilekha Nuli
Award Winner Category: Data and Digital Storytelling

Movements like “#OscarsSoWhite” and “Time’s Up” have highlighted the lack of diversity in Hollywood, but the film industry has made little progress in addressing the issue. This team created Filmify, an informational web app that calculates a film’s diversity score and recommends similar, more diverse films. Based on the UCLA Hollywood Diversity Report (2020), approximately 80% of directors, writers, producers, and critics are white men meaning they decide what gets made, who makes it, who stars in it, and what is worth seeing. Through a survey that garnered over 400 responses, the team found that film enthusiasts would be interested in a platform that helps them diversify their watchlist through recommendations. Filmify’s algorithm calculates two diversity scores based on top-billed cast and crew’s gender and race/ethnicity, focusing on both the people who make the film and those who star in it. To make this data accessible, the team also built a personalized, online experience. Filmify provides users with (1) information on gender and race/ethnicity diversity in Hollywood; (2) data about the diversity of their own current film choices; (3) personalized recommendations of films made by and starring underrepresented talent; and (4) a searchable database of films and their diversity information. Filmify will drive more box office dollars and streams to these films and expose users to a broader range of films and ideas. Filmify amplifies the ongoing conversation on equity and inclusion, acting as a wake-up call to film enthusiasts and Hollywood.