Ava DuVernay is continuously placing diversity and inclusion at the forefront of her projects and her latest philanthropic act is a clear testament to that mission.
Through her distribution, arts, and advocacy collective Array, the multihyphenate has partnered with Google to launch a $500,000 feature film grant available to emerging creatives from underrepresented communities.
The Array + Google Feature Film Grant will both provide funds for the winner’s first full-length feature film and be staffed by Array crew, an inclusive hiring database that DuVernay created to highlight underrepresented members in the industry.
“Having started my filmmaking journey by self-funding projects, this is a full-circle moment,” DuVernay said in a statement obtained by Variety. “I’m pleased to partner with Google and ARRAY’s grant advisory committee to identify an emerging writer/director to bring their vision to the screen. Inclusive storytelling is at the heart of ARRAY’s mission and we’re proud to also provide access to ARRAY Crew in order to further ensure that the set of the grantee’s film reflects the full array of the world around us.”
Array Crew launched earlier this year to elevate underrepresented professionals within the film and television industry. As a guest on NPR’s All Things Considered, the When They See Us writer and director said the idea came when she was working on the 2014 Golden Globe-winning film, Selma.
Due to her previous experience working in independent films, she was able to “really curate” what her crews looked like but noticed this privilege was not the norm.
“And so we worked really hard to diversify the crew of “Selma,” of “A Wrinkle In Time,” of “Queen Sugar,” of “When They See Us” – of all the work that I do,” said the 48-year-old. “I won’t walk on a set that does not have women in key positions, women in large numbers, people of color in large numbers because I get to design what my sets look like. But so many of the sets across our industry do not have someone who’s tapped into those crews, and so what we’ve created Array Crew to do is to say, if you don’t know women and people of color, here are some that you should know.”
Array Crew is currently featured in the United States across seven major cities but has plans to expand to select international markets no later than 2022.