1 MAR 2021

NETFLIX LAUNCHES FUND FOR UNDERREPRESENTED CREATIVES

The Netflix Fund for Creative Equity will invest $100 million over the next five years alongside external organizations to identify, train and provide job placement for global upcoming creatives. The streamer has successfully attained the inclusion, with all underrepresented groups having potential to continue growing.

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Netflix announced plans to invest in a creative fund for storytellers who identify with underrepresented groups. The Netflix Fund for Creative Equity will invest $100 million over the next five years alongside external organizations to identify, train and provide job placement for up-and-coming talent around the world. “As we expanded into films and documentaries, we continued to push boundaries, celebrating firsts with talent from traditionally underrepresented communities,” the platform stated.

The fund follows other initiatives the platform has engaged in to find new, diverse talent, such as the Ghetto Film School, Film Independent’s Project Involve, Firelight Media, and Black Public Media. Efforts also include the Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival’s Latinx Inclusion Fellowship Series, featuring the work of Afro-Latin directors. The company also collaborated with imagineNATIVE for the launch of a mentorship program to support indigenous directors, producers, and screenwriters, among other talent. “We’ve also been working to develop training programs on our series like Top Boy in the UK and 3% in Brazil, which both invited diverse aspiring directors on set to shadow the filmmaking process,” Netflix stated.

The resulting USC Annenberg report examines the makeup of Netflix’s on-screen talent as well as our creators, producers, writers, and directors. Though inclusion of women, women of color, and Black lead/casting roles has grown, a gap of growth is yet to be filled for Latinx, Middle Eastern/North African, American Indian/Alaskan Native, and Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander communities, as well as other underrepresented communities such as LGBTQ and disability. The research also concludes that inclusion within the creative industry promotes diversity in all aspects of filmmaking as reflected on the streamer's first-ever Inclusion Report about Netflix’s employee population. “Over the years, we’ve seen that to drive real change, we need to approach our work with an inclusion lens,” the streamer stated. “That means asking more questions like: ‘whose voice is missing? Is this portrayal authentic? Who is excluded?’ This lens directly impacts who is being hired both above and below the line as well as the stories we make for our members.”

Founder and director of USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, Dr. Stacy L. Smith analyzed the outlet’s US-commissioned titles from 2018-2019, two years. Smith has been credited for projects related to the portrayals of gender, race, LGBTQ+ identities, and disability across the media industry. “We’re committed to continue our work with Dr. Smith and USC, and will release a report every two years, from now through 2026,” Netflix stated. “As Dr. Smith said, she'snot aware of another quantitative study that has this degree of nuance,’ setting “a high bar for the wider industry” as “an internal audit is a critical first step toward inclusive change."

Netflix used the 2013 hit series “House of Cards” and “Orange Is the New Black” as an example of stories brought to the screen by creatives of color. Other titles include “Dear White People,” “When They See Us,” “Atypical,” “Master of None” and “Nanette.” “We are still in the early stages of a major change in storytelling - where great stories can truly come from anywhere, be created by anyone, whatever their background, and be loved everywhere. And by better understanding how we are doing, we hope to stimulate change not just at Netflix but across our industry more broadly.

We’re committed to continue our work with Dr. Smith and USC, and will release a report every two years, from now through 2026. As Dr. Smith said, she'snot aware of another quantitative study that has this degree of nuance,’ setting “a high bar for the wider industry” as “an internal audit is a critical first step toward inclusive change.” Netflix