Film Academy Invites 774 New Members

The film academy is inviting 774 new members to join its ranks, including actors Leslie Jones, Dwayne Johnson, Riz Ahmed, Chris Pratt and Anna Faris.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences revealed its latest invitees on Wednesday.

The organization reports the new class of potential members is 39 percent female and 30 percent non-white. The film academy has been diversifying its ranks after two years of #OscarsSoWhite and criticism of its overwhelmingly white and male voting body.

Other invitees include directors Barry Jenkins, who was nominated for his film “Moonlight,” and composers Lin-Manuel Miranda and Justin Timberlake. “Hidden Figures” director Theodore Melfi and documentarian Ezra Edelman, who won an Oscar for “O.J.: Made in America,” also received invitations.  (AP)

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LA Film Festival Features Diverse Slate of Films, Directors

While the rest of Hollywood lags behind, the LA Film Festival continues to break the mold with its robustly diverse programming.

The festival begins Wednesday and includes a slate in which 42% of the films playing are directed by women and 40% by filmmakers of color.

The festival includes the directorial debut of actress Lea Thompson, who directs herself and her daughters Zoey and Madelyn Deutch in “The Year of Spectacular Men” and Whitney Cummings’ ensemble relationship pic “The Female Brain,” with Sofia Vergara and James Marsden.

Festival Director Jennifer Cochis says the numbers are due to exhaustive outreach, a diverse programming staff and a shared goal of amplifying underrepresented voices.

The festival begins Wednesday in Culver City with the premiere of Colin Trevorrow’s “The Book of Henry.” (AP)