UPDATED with remarks from event: Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Monday launched LA Collab, an initiative to support Latino talent in the entertainment industry with skills development and promoting collaborations with Latinx talent, executives and creators. Organizers hope LA Collab can double Latino representation in Hollywood by 2030.
The news comes amid another movie awards season where diversity questions have again been at the fore, including at this morning’s Oscar nominations, which saw zero female directors nominated and only one actor of color nominated in the major acting categories.
Garcetti in his remarks announcing LA Collab today in Boyle Heights called out a #JusticeForJLo hashtag after Jennifer Lopez missed out on a nom for her supporting actress role in Hustlers.
Garcetti, building on the Mayor’s Office of Economic Development’s Evolve Entertainment Fund, co-founded LA Collab with Mitu founder and Acevedo Foundation president Beatriz Acevedo and Ivette Rodriguez, president of theatrical marketing PR firm AEM. The program already has garnered support by the likes of Eva Longoria, J.J. Abrams, Eli Roth, Devon Franklin, Jason Blum and Zoe Saldana. Initial funding comes from organizations including the Annenberg Foundation, WarnerMedia and Endeavor Content.
According to the MPA, Latinos represent nearly 25% of the box office. But a USC Annenberg study found that despite Lations making up 20% of the U.S. population, representation (Latino leads and co-leads in movies) has been stagnant the past decade or so (about 3%).
“The Latinx community is a growing force across L.A.’s economy, and our trademark industry should tap into that diverse pool of talent in our own backyard,” said Garcetti. “On big screens or small, in front of the camera or behind it, our studios, actors, directors, and producers inspire the world with the power of their creativity and imagination — and LA Collab will help bring new voices and dynamic storytellers into the fold by including and empowering the next generation of Latinx leaders.”
Other leaders from the founding coalition will help provide access and experience to emerging Latinx creative talent. Eli Roth, for example, will boost Latinx horror filmmakers via his digital platform Crypt TV. Other deals with Hollywood companies include with Lionsgate’s Pantelion Films and Pantaya (recruiting voices for scripted OTT and studio projects), Shine Global (with a documentary development deal), Southern California Public Radio’s LAist Studios (a podcast development/pilot deal) and pocket.watch (a blind digital pilot deal).
Blumhouse Productions, Bad Robot, Free The Work, Hello Sunshine, Hispanic Heritage Foundation, National Association of Latino Independent Producers, National Hispanic Media Coalition, Sundance Institute, UTA and Women in Film also are supporting the initiative.
Progress will be tracked via a new Database of Latino Working Talent in Hollywood, and an advisory committee.
“As a Latina, I want to see more actors who look like me onscreen and behind the camera,” Longoria said in a release ahead of the press event this morning, which she attended along with the likes of Esai Morales, Edward James Olmos, Jim Gianopulos and Roth. “I started my own production company to create content from our community, and I became a director/producer to be in a position to hire people who look like me. With LA Collab, I want to open the door for many more Latinx creators and fuel the emergence of a better entertainment industry that elevates and celebrates the diversity and richness of my culture.”