Audiences Want More Accurate, Diverse Portrayals of Faith in TV and Movies

80% of global audiences are calling for more accurate portrayals of faith and spirituality in entertainment. According to the groundbreaking Global Faith and Entertainment Study by HarrisX and the Faith and Media Initiative, consumers want to see their beliefs represented authentically on screen.

The study includes countries that are identified from highest to lowest in terms of religion, spiritual or person of faith. The highest are Nigeria, Brazil, india and Turkey; the mediums are the U.S., Mexico, Italy, and Canada; and the least spiritual are the U.K., germany and Japan.

Inaccurate Representation of Religions

63% of viewers think that movies, TV shows, and other forms of entertainment often show religions in a way that’s not accurate. They use stereotypes, which are simplified and sometimes unfair ideas about different religions. This makes it seem like these types of shows and movies aren’t showing much, and when they are shown, they’re often exaggerated or made to seem more exciting than they really are.

Repetitive Storylines of Religions

More than half of respondents from various faiths, including Christians, Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, Muslims, and atheists, expressed that they often encounter repetitive storylines in portrayals of their respective beliefs or faiths.

So, what do they need? People are saying they want to see different kinds of stories about their faith instead of the same ones over and over again. So, the solution they’re looking for is to have a wider variety of stories told.

What can the entertainment companies do?

Write diverse characters and storylines. Characters or individuals that represent different backgrounds, cultures, and faiths will help in creating different scenes for TV shows and movies. Showcasing a wider range of experiences and perspectives will not only make entertainment more interesting and engaging but also reflect the diversity of the real world. Viewers like watching relatable shows that allow them to see themselves on the screen.

Bring in talent with the same faith. Talents on the screen with an accurate representation of their faiths will ensure authenticity. It also has other benefits, such as:

  1. Realness: They can make the characters feel real because they understand the beliefs deeply.
  2. Accuracy: They ensure that the portrayal of those beliefs is accurate and thoughtful.
  3. Inclusivity: It gives opportunities to people from those communities and makes the industry more inclusive.
  4. Respect: They bring a deeper understanding of cultural sensitivities, avoiding stereotypes and showing respect for different beliefs.

Hire experts. Experts help make movies and TV shows about religion and faith better by making sure they are real and respectful. They know a lot about different beliefs, so they can show them accurately without making mistakes. This will help viewers learn, understand and respect each other’s religion or beliefs more.

How does it help?

It will promote a deeper understanding of their own faiths or religions as well as those of other religions. The study shows a high score of 89% for those who are highly spiritual or religious in terms of their importance in making their faith portrayals look more accurate on the screen.

Frank Patterson, CEO of Trilith Studios, reminds that “It’s not just about representation; it’s about making a positive impact on society through the stories we choose to tell.”

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