As part of the ongoing push for diversity in film and television, it’s important to highlight some of the great opportunities that studios and networks offer throughout the year. These programs are often geared toward building communities of diverse storytellers within the film industry. From HBO to Vimeo to Sundance, take a look at this list of opportunities meant to enrich and improve the rich basin of talent that we have to offer.
Here is a comprehensive list of diversity programs being offered at different agencies/studios:
Vimeo “Share the Screen” – The project, called “Share the Screen,” is a new effort by Vimeo intended to help shrink the gender gap in filmmaking. “Share the Screen” will offer financing and workshops for female filmmakers, and will invest in a “minimum of five projects” from women, to be released globally on Vimeo On Demand in 2016. Vimeo will also create a new section of its website called “Female-Directed, Vimeo-Approved,” where it will host videos directed by women.
Submissions Period: TBD
HBO Access Writing Fellowship – HBOAccess is a new four-week program created by HBO to provide project development, master classes and mentoring opportunities to emerging, diverse filmmakers.
Submission Period: Applications open on April 6th for the Directing Fellowship.
The CBS Diversity Institute/Writers Mentoring Program: The CBS Diversity Institute program links aspiring writers with mentors from the ranks of CBS Network and CBS Paramount Studio executives. Writers are mentored by producer mentors from series airing on CBS. Additionally, there are weekly sessions with successful writers, producers and show runners examining in very specific and practical terms many aspects of the experience of being a television writer in Hollywood.
Submission Period: March 1, 2016 – May 1, 2016
ABC Talent Development Program: The ABC Talent Development provides a variety of programs to help aspiring individuals in the fields of acting, writing, directing, and production. For additional information,
Submissions Period: opens in October.
National Latino Media Council (NLMC)/National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) Latino Television Writers Program: During the five-week, Los Angeles-based, intensive program (October and November), participants create a mock writers room led by an entertainment executive to develop at least one television spec script. The workshop-style setting provides a collaborative environment where participants pitch story ideas and engage in notes sessions – training them how to incorporate others’ notes into their writing, as well as preparing them for writing program submissions, creative meetings and potential series staffing.
Submission Period: Typically late March to early August
Fox Writers Intensive: The Fox Writers Intensive (“FWI”) is a highly selective writer’s initiative, held at the Fox Studios in Los Angeles, CA. The Intensive is designed to introduce experienced writers with unique voices, backgrounds, life and professional experiences that reflect the diverse perspectives of the audiences Fox creates for to a wide range of Fox showrunners, writers, directors, screenwriters and creative executives. These collective individuals will work with the selected writers in a series of master classes to build on both their general craft and further their skillsets in the business of writing for television, feature films and digital content.
Submission Period: Fall of 2016
Sundance Institute Latino Screenwriters Project: The mission of the Latino Screenwriters Project (LSP) is to support emerging Latino screenwriters by elevating the presence, representation and quality of stories that narrate the U.S. Latino experience. Held in San Antonio, the program typically runs alongside Cinefestival, the nation’s longest running national and international Latino film festival, and each year supports four screenwriters in a three-day intensive workshop that includes panels, screenings and one-on-one feedback sessions under the mentorship of experienced screenwriters. Past advisors have included Patricia Cardoso (Real Women Have Curves), Ligiah Villalobos (Under the Same Moon), Tyger Williams (Menace II Society), and David Riker (The Girl).
Submission Project: TBD
Global Media Makers – Film Independent has partnered with the U.S. Department of State to launch a new international film exchange program called Global Media Makers. Global Media Makers is an innovative mentoring initiative that will connect visual storytellers from around the world with leading U.S. entertainment professionals through specially tailored mentorships, workshops and master classes. For the first year of this program, 12 film, television, and new media makers will be selected from Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco and Turkey. Global Media Makers Fellows will receive in-depth filmmaker education, business training and professional networking opportunities. Participants will travel to Los Angeles to work on projects with a team of American mentors and receive state-of-the-art training and industry access to support conceptual development of independent, authentic and compelling content for distribution in their home countries and foster creative cross-pollination between filmmakers from around the globe.
Let’s make this an ongoing list! If you know of any initiatives that focus on diversity both in front and behind the screen, share the with us!