The effort for inclusion and representation in Hollywood took another step forward as filmmaker and philanthropist Abigail Disney has teamed with Killer Content to launch the startup studio Level Forward which backs projects by women and people of color.
The name of the studio aims to “level” the playing field for those who are at a disadvantage in the traditional Hollywood system and to move “forward” into a more equitable marketplace for content. The startup currently has $2 million funding in development and has plans to launch a fund with the New York Women’s Foundation which will support non-profit organizations that focus on helping survivors of harassment, abuse, and discrimination. The fund will be supported by proceeds from Level Forward productions.
In addition, Disney is working with Killer Content CEO Adrienne Becker in raising financing for Level Forward which is expected to announce their first round of creative partners next week at the Sundance Film Festival. Level Forward will assume the assets of Killer Content, which includes Christine Vachon and Pamela Koffler-headed Killer Films as well as Killer Impact, which encourages open dialogue, advocacy and aims to ignite awareness of socially relevant issues through artful content.
The announcement of Level Forward comes in a time when the empowerment of women and underrepresented voices is on the rise in the industry and shortly after Deadline exclusively reported that Maria Contreras-Sweet, former head of the U.S. Small Business Administration for the Barack Obama administration, was the frontrunner to buy the pieces and resurrect the disgraced Weinstein Company which will be renamed and controlled a majority of women.