With a goal of doubling Latino representation in Hollywood within 10 years, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Monday announced the creation of a new initiative, LA Collab. The effort, which has the backing of major agencies, studios, and talent, is launching with deals for features, podcasts, and documentaries.
The effort comes amid bleak statistics about Latinos in Hollywood. While Latinos represent one-fifth of the US population and about 25% of moviegoers, a recent USC Annenberg study found that their representation in the industry has halved over the last decade — from 6% of the entertainment workforce in 2009 to 3% today.
LA Collab’s backers want to reverse this trend by connecting Latinos with skill development, promoting collaboration with Latinx creators and top producers, filmmakers, buyers, showrunners, and others in the business.
LA Collab is launching with a finance development deal for a feature script with Endeavor Content, a scripted proof-of-concept deal with WarnerMedia’s content incubator OneFifty, a documentary development deal with Shine Global, a podcast development/pilot deal with KPCC’s LAist Studios, and a blind digital pilot deal with the kid-focused pocket.watch.
Additionally, Eli Roth will support Latinx horror filmmakers through his digital platform Crypt TV and Lionsgate’s Spanish-language streamer Pantaya. Latino-focused production company Pantelion Films will “actively search for new bilingual voices” for their projects.
The Latino Donor Collaborative will complete a report summarizing LA Collab’s achievements during its first year. It tracks the progress of Latino representation with a database of working talent in Hollywood, which the mayor’s office describes as a “master tool” for LA Collab’s success.
“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,” Garcetti said. “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.”
The mayor co-founded the effort with Beatriz Acevedo and Ivette Rodriguez. In 2012, Acevedo co-founded mitú to produce web videos and other content with a Latino point of view. She’s president of her family’s Acevedo Foundation.
Rodriguez is president of the Latino-focused entertainment marketing and communications firm AEM, which has worked on campaigns for Alfonso Cuarón’s Oscar winner “Roma” and his earlier film “Y Tu Mamá También,” as well as Hispanic marketing for “Deadpool” and “X-Men.”
Initial funders include the Annenberg Foundation, WarnerMedia, and Endeavor Content.
Advisory committee members include WarnerMedia VP Axel Caballero, Deputy Mayor William Chun, Franklin Entertainment President and CEO DeVon Franklin, Endeavor Content Partner Alexis Garcia, CAA executive Ruben Garcia, the Academy’s Lorenza Munoz, “The Kominsky Method” producer Marlis Pujol, Amazon Studios executive Genna Terranova, and Betty Mae Casting founder Mary Vernieu.
Other supporters include Blumhouse Productions, J. J. Abrams’ Bad Robot, Eva Longoria, 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, and Zoe Saldana.