Ava DuVernay’s ARRAY — her multi-platform media company and arts collective — and Google have partnered up to launch a new $500,000 feature film grant designed specifically to support emerging creatives from underrepresented communities.
“Having started my filmmaking journey by self-funding projects, this is a full-circle moment,” DuVernay said in a statement. “I’m pleased to partner with Google and ARRAY’s grant advisory committee to identify an emerging writer/director to bring their vision to the screen. Inclusive storytelling is at the heart of ARRAY’s mission and we’re proud to also provide access to ARRAY Crew in order to further ensure that the set of the grantee’s film reflects the full array of the world around us.”
According to Forbes, the award-winning director hopes this grant — referred to as The Array + Google Feature Film Grant — will clear a path for the next woman or person of color filmmaker to create their first feature-length film, and also foster a community of diverse storytellers.
“It’s squarely in our mission, in our goal, to amplify the voices of black artists, people of color, women of all kinds,” DuVernay tells the outlet. “It’s a full-circle moment to have started with a $50,000 budget film as a filmmaker myself and, 10 years later … to be able to give a half million dollars to a filmmaker to make something.”
Forbes reports that the new grant grew out of conversations between DuVernay and Google in which the tech giant hoped to make a huge splash for up-and-coming creators in the entertainment industry.
The idea for the grant was rooted in the fact that both parties wanted to help a filmmaker from an underrepresented background get the tools they need to create something great.
According to Deadline, the chosen recipient of the grant will be selected by an advisory committee within the independent filmmaking community. Their production will then be funded and “powered by Array Crew” — DuVernay’s diverse digital database that helps hiring managers easily access underrepresented film and TV professionals.
“We’re honored to help ARRAY showcase talented creatives from underrepresented communities and to add volume to more diverse voices,” Elle Roth-Brunet — Google Assistant’s entertainment partnerships lead — said in a statement. “The ARRAY + Google Feature Film Grant is intrinsically aligned with Google Assistant’s commitment to speak with a diverse set of voices, and connect with more people to help in their everyday lives.”
Google’s new partnership with DuVernay comes on the heels of its recent collaboration with The Black List, in which the two entities announced a storytelling fellowship for diverse screenwriters.