“We wanted to have more diverse voices; it’s a better way to connect with our diverse audience and with the world… There were logjams way down the line before we even saw people. We wanted to start at the first step and give people a leg up, to address the system holistically.” ~ Greg Silverman, president, creative development and worldwide production, Warner Bros. Pictures in a press statement today that included an announcement that the studio is launching what it calls an Emerging Film Directors Workshop, which will provide up-and-coming under-represented filmmakers a chance to develop their skills via a nine-month intensive fellowship program.
In light of #OscarSoWhite and the ongoing discussion around diversity in Hollywood, this is certainly a step in the right direction – cultivating new talent that would typically be ignored.
“It’s really for anybody who is looking at the system and saying, ‘The unfair part is that I can’t even get started… So get started with Warner Bros,” Silverman added.
Selected directors will be partnered with Warner Bros. Pictures executive mentors and work with them through the entire film production process, from pitch to final cut and even a premiere, via a film festival on the Warners lot, where they will be exposed to agents and executives from across the industry. Participants will pitch, write, or work with a screenwriter, and develop a script for a short film (3- 10 minutes). Once they have a final script, filmmakers will work with physical production to prep, create a budget, cast, shoot on the lot and edit with a full post production process. Each film will have a budget of around $100,000. The studio will cover all production costs and salary for filmmakers for the duration of the Workshop.
The inaugural class with have five filmmakers with the goal of finding applicants outside mainstream channels.
The application period is not yet open. Bookmark this website in the meantime: http://filmworkshop.warnerbros.com/.
This news comes after J.J. Abrams’ announced that, via his Bad Robot production company, he would be teaming up with agency CAA and studio partners to require that women and people of color are considered for writing, directing and acting jobs in proportion to their representation in the U.S. population.