Partnership aims to create new opportunities for women, people of color, low-income Angelenos, and others underrepresented in the entertainment industry
LOS ANGELES — Mayor Eric Garcetti today joined filmmaker Ava DuVernay and producer Dan Lin to launch the Evolve Entertainment Fund (EEF), a public-private partnership aimed at creating new opportunities for communities that have been historically excluded from the entertainment industry.
The Evolve fund is an alliance between the City of Los Angeles, industry leaders in entertainment and digital media, non-profit organizations, and educational institutions. It is dedicated to building career pathways into film, television, and music for women, people of color, and low-income Angelenos through paid internships, focused mentoring, and an ongoing series of workshops and panels.
The EEF has already secured 150 paid summer internships for students participating in the HIRE LA’s Youth program — partnering with leading entertainment and digital media organizations that include DreamWorks Animation, Ryan Murphy Television, Film Independent, Creative Artists Agency (CAA), Kobe Bryant’s Granity Studios, and Anonymous Content. That number is expected to grow to 250 by the end of 2018, with a goal of 500 placements by 2020.
It will also promote the work of underrepresented filmmakers, storytellers, and creatives — by providing mini-grants to existing non-profits that pair underserved young people with top-level mentors and internships — and deliver production gap financing to qualifying film, television, and new media projects.
“When ‘Oscars So White’ and ‘Time’s Up’ put a spotlight on inequality in Hollywood, they captured the frustrations of people shut out of opportunity in what the world knows as L.A.’s signature industry,” said Mayor Garcetti. “We created the Evolve Entertainment Fund to give people in underserved communities a new opportunity to chase their dreams in Hollywood — whether they want to be the next award-winning director or screenwriter, or are looking to secure a future in below-the-line jobs that are the bedrock of this city’s middle class.”
“As we radically reimagine Hollywood, it is critically important that young people are included in our vision," said Ava DuVernay, founder of Array Entertainment and EEF Co-Chair. “Real change happens when we take tangible action — and that means giving young women and people of color opportunities in the industry early on, so they have the chance to shape its future. ARRAY is proud to be working with Mayor Garcetti on the Evolve Entertainment Fund, and we look forward to our collaboration on this effort.”
To develop a stronger pathway to careers in the entertainment industry, the first cohort of students will be heavily drawn from Los Angeles community colleges and LAUSD high schools. EEF will also recruit students from low-income communities who are attending four-year colleges to ensure the program reaches a broad array of young people.
“Rideback is proud to join Mayor Garcetti and EEF to increase diversity in the entertainment industry,” said Dan Lin, CEO of Rideback and an EEF Advisory Committee member, whose company has established a new summer fellowship that will give young people up-close exposure to the process of developing film and television content for a global audience. “A more diverse mix of people and stories is essential for the future of our industry. We look forward to working alongside our colleagues to make EEF flourish and to launching new opportunities for young people of all backgrounds to join our industry.”
The first EEF grant recipient is the Women in Entertainment (WIE) Mentorship Program backed by Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Los Angeles and the Hollywood Reporter. WIE selects teenage girls from low-income communities to work directly with some of the most influential professionals in entertainment, along with college prep support, scholarships, and paid summer internships.
“Our work with Mayor Garcetti and HIRE LA’s Youth has been rewarding as we continue to create creative pathways for underrepresented youth in Hollywood,” said Ryan Murphy, who serves on the Advisory board of the EEF. “Mayor Garcetti asked my company for support and we immediately introduced internships through our Half Initiative with Hire LA’s Youth and have employed directly from the program.
The EEF will also provide students with educational opportunities — including programs presented by Sundance Institute, site visits at Netflix, and panel discussions hosted by Issa Rae Productions. Mayor Garcetti’s office will also partner with the Center for a Competitive Workforce to help retool the region’s community college courses and programs to prepare Angelenos for a new entertainment landscape driven by digitalization.
“Getting students to and through college and ultimately into quality, high-paying jobs is about so much more than test scores and GPA,” said Saskia Pallais, Regional Executive Director of College Track – Los Angeles, an EEF partner. “With the establishment of this new fund, the City of Los Angeles will provide game-changing opportunities for chronically underrepresented students to grow both personally and professionally, while at the same time taking tangible steps to fill the diversity pipeline into the entertainment industry.”
EEF Advisory Committee members include:
- Ava DuVernay
- Beatriz Acevedo, Founding Partner and President, mitú;
- Charles D. King, Founder and CEO, MACRO;
- Doug Wald, Manager, Anonymous Content;
- Dan Lin, CEO, Rideback;
- Greg Foster, CEO, IMAX Entertainment;
- Josh Welsh, President, Film Independent;
- Keri Putnam, Executive Director, Sundance Institute;
- Kerstin Emhoff, Co-Founder, PRETTYBIRD;
- Kobe Bryant, Founder and CEO, Granity Studios;
- Michael Sugar, CEO, Sugar23
- Michelle Kydd Lee, Chief Innovation Officer, CAA;
- Paul Hunter, Co-Founder, PRETTYBIRD;
- Ryan Murphy, Screenwriter/Director/
Producer, Founder, Half Foundation;
- Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer, Netflix.
- The Evolve Entertainment Fund, a program of the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles, has a goal of raising $5 million to enable programs through 2020. Initial funders include HBO, Interscope Geffen A&M, Kobe Bryant, IMAX Entertainment, and the Edward F. Limato Foundation.
EEF partners include:
- Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
- Amazon Studios
- AM PR Group
- Anonymous Content
- Anthem Films
- Collab Inc.
- Color Creative
- Don Mischer Productions
- DreamWorks Animation
- Film Independent
- Funny Or Die
- GRAMMY Museum
- Granity Studios
- Hungry Man Productions
- IMAX Entertainment
- Innovative Artists
- Interscope Geffen A&M
- Issa Rae Productions
- Jen Muccia
- Karga Seven Pictures
- Live Nation Entertainment
- MAL\FOR GOOD
- Native Content
- OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network
- Red Hour
- Ryan Murphy Television
- Serial Pictures
- Six Point Harness Studios
- Sundance Institute
- Team One
- United Talent Agency
- Univision Los Angeles
- VICE Media
- Warner Bros.
- Wise Entertainment
- Wolf Kasteler Public Relations
About Rideback Ranch
The EEF was launched today at Rideback Ranch, the new creative campus that is home to Rideback, producer Dan Lin’s company (formerly Lin Pictures), as well as industry leaders Warner Animation Group’s LEGO team, Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s Lord Miller, and David Ayer and Chris Long’s new Cedar Park Entertainment. Lin produced “The LEGO Movie,” “The Lego Batman Movie” and “It” for Warner Bros.; Disney’s upcoming “Aladdin”; Netflix’s upcoming “The Pope”; and Fox’s “Lethal Weapon” television series. Rideback is an active member of the Historic Filipinotown community and proud supporter of neighboring Union Elementary School and the Good Shepherd Center.