Walmart Partners With NGL Collective to Foster Latino Filmmakers
January 10, 2023
NGL Collective, a digital media and entertainment destination for Latinos in America, has announced a new partnership with Walmart on an incubator to foster Latino filmmakers.
The program will provide eight Latino filmmakers with resources that will help them prepare and better position themselves in front of Hollywood studios and producers. The program will also provide mentorship from the co-founder of NGL Collective, actor, writer and producer John Leguizamo, who will bring firsthand experience.
Mitú, which merged with NGL earlier this year, will provide filmmaker mentees access to mitúStudios, based in Los Angeles, where they will have the opportunity to work alongside other Latino creators on multiple projects, including the development, production and editing of their short films. Development materials created include three-act structures, story circles, scripts, shot lists, storyboards and production design mood boards.
“Walmart recognizes Latinos are a critical part of this country’s creativity, inspiration and culture,” D.J. Vaughn, director of multicultural marketing partnerships at Walmart U.S., said in a statement. “In looking to support this community and amplify authentic experiences, we could think of no better partner than NGL Collective.”
“Walmart understands Latinos play a critical role in shaping American culture, and mitú is the most authentic, credible destination for them in the United States,” Joe Bernard, chief revenue officer at NGL Collective, said in a statement. “This partnership continues NGL’s work of helping America’s top companies tap into this community with intention and purpose that matters while delivering results for both businesses and consumers nationwide.”
The program was born out of MAPA, mitú’s Accelerator Program for the Arts, and will take participants through the entire storytelling process, including writing and directing, alongside chief creative officer and award-winning director Ben DeJesus.
To further support each mentee, Walmart will provide each of them with a “Creator Kit” consisting of a GoPro camera, sound equipment, lighting equipment and more.
“I am excited to play a role in the development of these young Latino filmmakers and am excited to see firsthand the impact that this program will make in the media and entertainment industry,” Leguizamo said in a statement. “While there is still progress to be made, these are the kinds of efforts that increase Latinx representation in the entertainment industry in front of and behind the camera. NGL Collective and our mitú platform is more committed than ever to being a part of the solution for more inclusion within the industry.”
Latinos continue to be vastly underrepresented, with only 7% of film leads going to Latino actors, according to the latest UCLA Hollywood Diversity Report.
“As a Latino in media, I see the value this program brings to young filmmakers,” said Ben DeJesus, chief creative officer at NGL Collective. “When I began my career, there wasn’t anything like it and now with the help of our partners at Walmart, we’re delivering the promise of storytelling in the language of each individual’s experiences through their voices and talents.”
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The program is an accelerated seven-week film program running from November to January. Eight filmmakers were chosen from a call for submissions on mitú’s social platforms, as well as from a network of colleges and universities across the nation. Candidates were chosen based on their personal stories and creative vision. Out of 75 submissions, 40 candidates were interviewed to arrive at the final eight.
The selected mentees come from California, New York, Texas and Virginia. Each aspiring filmmaker brings a unique set of experiences. Examples include a Director’s Assistant on Lucasfilm projects, a Columbia University student studying film, and an apprentice to their wedding videographer father. Each mentee has some familiarity with the entertainment industry, and each of them is aspiring to establish their creative voice and tell their own stories.