Ava DuVernay’s Array and Google Offering Grant to Underrepresented Filmmakers

Array, founded in 2011 by filmmaker Ava DuVernay, has announced a partnership with Google to offer emerging creatives from historically underrepresented communities the opportunity to apply for a $500,000 feature film grant.

Array is a  grassroots distribution, arts and advocacy collective focused on amplifying work by people of color and women. The Array + Google Feature Film Grant, which will provide funds to produce the recipient’s first full-length feature film, was instituted as a way to help build a more equitable and inclusive artistic community of diverse storytellers.

“Having started my filmmaking journey by self-funding projects, this is a full-circle moment,” DuVernay said in a statement. “I’m pleased to partner with Google and Array’s grant advisory committee to identify an emerging writer/director to bring their vision to the screen. Inclusive storytelling is at the heart of Array’s mission and we’re proud to also provide access to Array Crew in order to further ensure that the set of the grantee’s film reflects the full array of the world around us.”

The recipient of this mentorship and filmmaking opportunity will be selected by an advisory committee within the independent filmmaking community, including Gabrielle Glore (Urbanworld, festival director and head of programming), Francis Cullado (Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival, executive director for visual communications media), Crystal Echo Hawk (IllumiNative, founder and executive director), María Rauqel Bozzi (senior director of education and international initiatives at Film Independent), and Smriti Kiran (artistic director, Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival).

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“We live and breathe filmmaking at Array. For the past decade we have had the opportunity to amplify the work of so many stellar women and filmmakers of color, and the opportunity to partner with Google on this grant is the start of a strong partnership,” Array president Tilane Jones said in a statement. “We are so lucky to have Crystal, Gabrielle, Francis, Maria and Smriti on our advisory committee and be working with every pillar of Array to produce and distribute this project.”

“We’re honored to help Array showcase talented creatives from underrepresented communities and to add volume to more diverse voices,” Elle Roth-Brunet, Google Assistant’s entertainment partnerships lead and producer on the project, said in a statement. “The Array + Google Feature Film Grant is intrinsically aligned with Google Assistant’s commitment to speak with a diverse set of voices, and connect with more people to help in their everyday lives.”

The production will be powered by Array Crew, the database created by DuVernay as a way for hiring managers in search of below-the-line hires to access underrepresented film and television professionals, including but not limited to women and BIPOC individuals of African American, Hispanic, Native American, Asian American, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and Pacific Island decent. The platform currently has more than 6,000 qualified members and more than 300 productions across 450 departments. Array Crew includes grips, lighting directors, production designers, costume designers, sound technicians, production accountants, hair stylists, VFX designers, foley artists, ADR mixers, animal trainers, food stylists, choreographers, scenic painters, toolmen, fabric buyers, stitchers, ADR editors, graphic designers, SFX makeup and more.

Netflix Announces Pact With Canadian Indigenous Filmmakers

Netflix June 11 at the 2019 Banff World Media Festival announced a partnership aimed at assisting indigenous filmmakers in Canada.

The SVOD pioneer is working with imagineNative, The Indigenous Screen Office (ISO) and Wapikoni Mobile on programs ranging from screenwriting to apprenticeships, joining 11 existing programs Netflix has funded to guide content creators from underrepresented communities.

“Indigenous communities in Canada are rich with unique stories,” Stéphane Cardin, director of public policy, Netflix Canada, said in a statement. “Netflix is proud to help launch these three programs, which will reach indigenous communities across the country.”

Rhymes for Young Ghoules

Canada was Netflix’s first foreign expansion in 2010 and now accounts for more than 7 million subscribers.

Over the next three-and-a-half years, imagineNative will undertake or expand activities aimed at indigenous screenwriters, directors and producers through its institute department.

“This funding is a significant investment in opportunities for indigenous directors, producers, and screenwriters in Canada, and marks one of the largest sponsorships in [our] history,” said Jason Ryle, executive director of imagineNative.

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The ISO-Netflix Production Mentorship and Apprenticeship Program will provide second phase support for projects that may have received assistance through programs offered by imagineNative, Hot Docs, Banff World Media Festival or Whistler Film Festival, among others.

The program will include two streams: Key Creative Apprenticeships and Cultural Mentorships for directors, producers, screenwriters and showrunners.

“ISO spent the last year in consultations with Indigenous creators and this fund responds to their expressed need for new funding opportunities that will advance work and career opportunities, as well as allow them to follow protocols and practices that are central to Indigenous ways of working,” said Jesse Wente, director of the Indigenous Screen Office.

With the Netflix partnership, Wapikoni will be able to coordinate emerging filmmakers, organize opportunities and structure a program of both continuing education and professional coaching.

Focuses include mediation, dialogue, awareness, education and building bridges between nations, peoples and generations.

“The support from Netflix will allow us to continue to foster narrative sovereignty and cinematographic excellence,” said Joannette, from the Pessamit First Nation of Quebec, and executive director at Wapikoni.

Netflix’s support of these programs comes from its fund to develop the next generation of Canadian creators and talent, focused on underrepresented communities in the screen industry.

Other partnerships include the Inside Out Film FestivalRIDM (Rencontres internationales du documentaire de Montréal), and the Alliance des producteurs francophones du Canada (APFC).