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On The Lot: LGBT actors, female directors, and 'Gravity'

Sandra Bullock and George Clooney in
Sandra Bullock and George Clooney in "Gravity."
Warner Bros. Pictures

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Time for On The Lot, our weekly look at the business of entertainment with Rebecca Keegan of the LA Times

We start with a survey by the actors union, SAG-AFTRA. Gay members of the union say they face discrimination in Hollywood. One thing that is interesting is some performers said once they had played roles as a LGBT character, they found it harder to get the more available roles playing straight characters.

Meanwhile, news about another group that's had a hard time making it in Hollywood: female directors. Women wanting to make films might soon have a new source of funding. Only about seven percent of mainstream Hollywood movies are directed by women, and that's actually less than it was 15 years ago. Why aren't studio executives hiring more women to direct?

A group is funding small, independent films with budgets under $5 million. Can it make a difference for women who want to direct big Hollywood movies?

LA's new mayor, Eric Garcetti has said he wants to do more to combat runaway film production and make it easier for film and television productions to shoot here in LA. Now he's named a "film czar." Who is he?

There are so many other places offering big tax breaks to filmmakers. Right now, everyone seems to be shooting in Atlanta, because Georgia is offering movie companies big breaks. How can LA compete against what amounts to cash rebates from these other places, and can one guy really make any difference?

Let's talk about an actual movie, one that opens this weekend and is getting the early Oscar buzz. It's called "Gravity," a space thriller starring George Clooney and Sandra Bullock.