Diversity isn’t something that Hollywood has tapped into and film and media incubator Big Vision Empty Wallet is looking to change that by launching a new incentive program to boost visibility of women, people of color, and LGBT individuals in film and television.
On Monday, the company launched Kickstart Diversity—in hopes of helping diverse filmmakers reach an audience. The company also announced upcoming projects with Spike Lee, Michael C. Hall, Wendell Pierce, and more.
“It’s wonderful that the inequality in Hollywood has become a more mainstream conversation recently,” said producer and co-founder of BVEW, Alex Cirillo, in a press release. “The industry needs programs like ours to incentivize companies to work with ‘minority’ filmmakers to help make it easier to get their work made and seen.”
In an interview with Slate, Cirillo gave more information about the Kickstart Diversity and the submission process.
What have you seen or experienced that made you want to help non-white straight males succeed in the business?
I think there’s currently still a misconception that films and TV shows created by women or created by a diverse population are not successful, they don’t make money, people don’t want to see them. And that’s just wrong. Data backs it up that audiences really want to see diverse points of view and diverse life experiences, so we’re hopeful that a program like this, that helps at the independent level and supports more diverse filmmakers who are creating work independently, will then also translate to seeing more diverse characters and diverse points of view on screen.
So say I’m a filmmaker and I want to work with you. Can you walk me through the process, from submissions to the final product?
Submissions are open all year long, so they’ll be on a rolling basis. And what we’re really looking for are projects with a diverse team and a strong business plan and team in place, a team that we would love to support and get behind. So we’ll be choosing projects all throughout the year to receive the diversity incentive, and those projects will then also qualify to participate in our distribution lab. [We’ll give] them access to distribution, which is another issue that diverse creators face.
To learn more about submitting, head over to their website.