Netflix is committing the first US$5 million from its Fund for Creative Equity towards programs that identify, train and provide workplace placements for up-and-coming women talent globally.
The streamer will partner with third parties and bespoke Netflix programs to support a range of initiatives — from workshops to train aspiring women writers and producers to pitch their ideas, to shadowing opportunities on productions.
Initial programs include Collectif 50/50, a year-long, national mentorship program for aspiring women creatives of various ages and backgrounds in France, including a series of masterclasses from 30 industry leaders; and Into the Wild, a one-year mentorship program for young female filmmakers from film schools across Germany, including a script writing camp and a final pitch at well-known German festivals including Filmfestival Munich and the Max Ophüls-Festival.
Women in Post will be a new eight-month program that builds on the Netflix and Canadian Academy Directors Program for Women, providing mentorship and training within post-production to women creatives from across Canada; while Narrative Short Film Incubator for Women of Color will serve as an incubator program by the National Association of Latino Independent Producers for Latinx women and women of color to produce short film projects through dedicated funding, production support and mentorship.
“As an Indian woman growing up in the US, I didn’t see anyone on screen that looked like me until Parminder Nagra joined ER in 2003. But when I started reading scripts as a young TV executive, I didn’t let that precedent get in my way: in my mind, the hero of the story was always a brown girl, with hopes and aspirations, strengths and talents just like her white counterparts,” head of global TV Bela Bajaria (pictured) said in a statement. “Experience has taught me that great stories are universal: they can come from anywhere, be created by anyone, and be loved by everyone – what matters is that they are told authentically. Now we need to ensure that traditionally disadvantaged voices – in this case women – get the same chances to be heard in our industry as men have been for generations.”
The Fund for Creative Equity, announced Feb. 26 by Netflix co-CEO and chief content officer Ted Sarandos, will see the streamer invest $100 million over the next five years in a combination of external organizations that support underrepresented communities in film and TV as well as bespoke Netflix programs.
In January, Netflix released its first inclusion report, offering a snapshot of the company’s progress since 2017 and plans to grow representation under the leadership of Vernā Myers, VP of inclusion strategy.