Ava DuVernay Launches Entertainment Diversity Initiative With City of Los Angeles

By Sameer Rao Feb 13, 2018

Director and producer Ava DuVernay ("A Wrinkle in Time") just partnered with Los Angeles city government for a new initiative to train and place young people of color who want to work in the entertainment industry. 

Deadline reports that DuVernay, producer Dan Lin and Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti announced the Evolve Entertainment Fund (EEF) during a press conference yesterday (February 12). A statement describes the fund as "a public-private partnership aimed at creating new opportunities for communities that have been historically excluded from the entertainment industry."

“As we radically reimagine Hollywood, it is critically important that young people are included in our vision,” DuVernay said during the press conference, as quoted by Deadline. “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." 

To that end, The Hollywood Reporter writes that the fund will subsidize 150 entertainment internships for students via the city’s career enrichment project, Hire L.A.’s Youth. The fund will also award grants to organizations already working to create opportunities for underrepresented communities. THR’s Women in Entertainment Mentorship Program is the first recipient of a grant; it will use the $172,000 to create scholarships for program participants. 

A city spokesperson told the Los Angeles Times that the money will come from private fundraising, not municipal funds. Deadline notes that the partnership will bring several film and television company heads together with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the mayor’s office to raise $5 million to fund EEF through at least 2020. Members of the advisory board include DuVernay, Lin, Sundance Institute executive director Keri PutnamNetflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos and Granity Studios founder Kobe Bryant.