Announced by Starz President and CEO Jeffrey Hirsch on Friday, the #TakeTheLead Directors Program includes a commitment to hire emerging episodic directors for their first television directing assignment.
“We’re proud of the opportunities we’ve created for female and diverse directors thus far, but know there is more we can do,” said Hirsch. “We dedicated our first ‘Transparency Talk’ to shine a light on how important it is to have representation behind the camera, and we’re thrilled to launch STARZ #TakeTheLead Directors Program with AWD. Since mentoring programs don’t always materialize into staff opportunities, we’re excited that this program includes a commitment to not only support, but ultimately hire talented directors who just need an opportunity to put their skills into action.”
The initiative comes during Starz’s “Transparency Talk,” hosted with AWD. The conversation covered measures necessary to up access and opportunities for women directors and directors of color. The discussion also featured the results of an inclusion study from Starz and UCLA’s Center for Scholars and Storytellers. The study found that STARZ has exceeded industry averages for directing opportunities for women and people of color, with people of color making up 49.3% of all directors and women comprising 43.7%. According to the study, STARZ has also exceeded industry averages by 88% for directing opportunities for women of color.
To participate in the program, AWD members can apply between May 1 and May 15 on the AWD website. Candidates will be selected through an independent process and meet with STARZ Original Programming executives and STARZ showrunners who will determine program participants. The program will be tailored to participants’ areas of development with finalists receiving a staff directing assignment.
As part of the #TakeTheLead initiative, Starz will host a series of monthly “Transparency Talks” to bring relevant discussions front and center with organizations and members of key organizations including the ACLU of Southern California, Producers Guild of America, Writers Guild of America, California Film Commission, The LatinX House and more.
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