Lena Waithe and her production company, Hillman Grad Productions are known for being mindful of inclusion with their staff and now they are extending this with the safety of their productions. The production company has made a commitment to providing safer sets by hiring intimacy coordinators who will serve as an additional resource for staff for all future and current Hillman Grad projects, in front of and behind the camera.
“Intimacy coordinators should not only be mandatory on every set, but they should reflect people from all walks of life,” Waithe told Deadline. “That’s why myself and everyone at Hillman Grad productions thought it was important to invest in helping Black and Brown people, as well as those in the LBTQIA+ community, get certified. It’s a great way to ensure everyone feels safe on set — especially with the person helping them to coordinate intimate scenes.”
Hillman Grad Productions will work with an inclusive team of intimacy coordinators for the newly launched program. The team will include Mia Schachter, who worked as Consent Educator and intimacy coordinator on Waithe’s Twenties on BET as well as HBO’s Perry Mason and Insecure. Also joining the team are Yehuda Duenyas, intimacy coordinator and Emmy award-winning Experiential Director as well as Jimanekia Eborn, Queer Media Consultant, Comprehensive Sexuality Educator and Sexual Assault & Trauma Expert with an MS in Health Psychology. They will offer guidance to aspiring intimacy coordinators in Los Angeles who would not have had the access to proper training without the Hillman Grad Productions Mentorship Program. Schacter’s intimacy coordinator organization, Centaury Co, will be the official trainee program.
“It’s been clear that an effort needs to be made to ensure that the field of intimacy coordination in Los Angeles reflects the actors and the stories that we’re meant to be in service of,” said Schachter. “The need for this program is more apparent and urgent than ever. We consider it our responsibility to make the space for new intimacy coordinators who are currently underrepresented in the field.”
Hillman Grad’s commitment to working with intimacy coordinators may be a mindful move that other production companies will follow. As Waithe and Hillman Grad continue to find and support underrepresented voices in entertainment, the company will further their program participants’ growth by building out opportunities for mentees to train within the field of Intimacy Coordination as well as provide scholarships for these trainees interested in continuing their career in the industry.
The goal of this program is to foster wider, more diverse representation and progress in the field of intimacy coordination and to support trainees as they move into the profession. Trainees will receive a foundational education in IC Standards and Practices as well as education on consent, sexuality, and choreography coupled with on-set training for TV, and film as the industry reopens.
This news comes during a shift in the culture when it comes to diversity in film and TV — in front of and behind the camera. On Wednesday, The Bold Type‘s Aisha Dee took to Instagram to express her concern for the lack of people of color and LGBTQ people behind the scenes on the Freeform show.
In January, SAG-AFTRA set new guidelines for the use of intimacy coordinators. The union’s new Standards and Protocols provide a framework for their involvement throughout the entire production process and are designed to protect performers and facilitate collaboration with the least disruption to the production.