Netflix and Mexico City-headquartered non-profit Ambulante are launching a $750,000 fund to support Indigenous and Afro-descendant documentary filmmakers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The aim is to support more than 80 productions, which the companies’ estimate will aid close to 500 people.
Those teams represent nearly 30 Indigenous and Afro-descendant groups, Netflix stated, located in Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua. The groups represented include the Zapotec Serrano, Totonaco, Mixteco, Náhuatl, and Purépecha first peoples.
The fund will support emerging, mid-career and established filmmakers in a variety of genres including fiction, animation and experimental productions as well as documentary.
Netflix’s partner in launching the fund, Ambulante, was founded in 2005 and supports and promotes documentary film as a tool for social and cultural change. It brings films and training programs to places where they’re often unavailable, and organizes an annual international film festival.
The projects selected for the Miradas Fund were chosen by a committee of 11 people, which Netflix says are a group of experts, social leaders and key actors in regional community cinema. All of these projects are currently being shot or are in post-production.
These filmmakers’ work will reinterpret dominant narratives including the robustness of borders, essentialism and foundational myths, Netflix said in a release on Monday (April 19).
Netflix also said the inspiration for this fund comes from filmmakers who have continued to work through the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As we begin to gauge the effects of COVID-19 and how it has exacerbated other crises, we also begin to understand the immense difficulties that the film community faces,” a release from Netflix stated.
“In spite of these challenges, filmmakers have gone above and beyond to continue creating: their generosity and commitment to their craft are the inspiration behind the Miradas Fund.”