One year after the release of Emmy award-winning Netflix docuseries “When They See Us,” filmmaker and director Ava DuVernay launched her online learning platform, ARRAY, to encourage conversations around diversity and social justice.
Now she’s taking her mission for inclusivity in Hollywood a step further with a joint venture alongside Warner Bros. Television chairman Peter Roth.
Both DuVerynay and Roth have joined forces to announce the launch of Array Crew — a division of Array Alliance — which will act as a diverse database to highlight below-the-line talent in Hollywood, Variety reports.
According to their announcement in the Los Angeles Times, the purpose behind assembling Array Crew is to offer Hollywood a solution to their diversity problem. The platform will ultimately bridge the hiring gap for women and people of color in the entertainment industry.
Why do most film and TV sets look the same? The industry often tells us they’ve looked for Black folks, people of color and women crew members, but simply can’t find us. So…@ARRAYNow created a place to find us.
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) December 29, 2020
Far too often we hear stories in the industry about a lack of representation both on-screen and behind the scenes. The company exists out of the need to connect underrepresented crew members and hiring managers. Far too often, there is a bridge between the hiring practices of women and people of color behind-the-scenes, and Array Crew hopes to close that gap.
Although the platform is still in its soft launch stage, some of Hollywood’s biggest studios have already begun to invest in the project — including Sony, Netflix, and Disney.
DuVernay shared with the Los Angeles Times that the idea originally started with the thought to put together a running list of names from the many diversity lists floating around Hollywood. However, it eventually grew into its own tech entity.
“The genesis of it was a lot smaller than it is now. And Peter has a lot to do with that. We thought: ‘Oh, let’s just put together names of a bunch of people that we know — like everyone else in town, make a list,’ she said. “The first two weeks, we had 500 people on a spreadsheet. After a while it was 750 and then 1,000 and then people calling and hearing about it, and it became a bit of a thing.”
Every studio in Hollywood reportedly has access to this platform, which wasn’t an easy accomplishment, according to Roth.
“You know, I can’t tell you how many times in my career, whether it was an actor, a director — forget about below-the-line crews — but how many times I’ve heard the words: ‘Well, we looked everywhere. We exhausted all possibilities.’ And this is a living document, an example, of why we didn’t and we haven’t,” he told the Los Angeles Times. “What Ava has done, and her team has done, is she’s created access for us of information of people that are so worthy and so capable. That’s why [the database] is so important. It’s one thing to say we really want to change. It’s another thing to have the information, the access, the data to be able to change.”
The hope behind this new initiative is that people both use this as a reliable resource for overlooked talent and make it the norm to transform Hollywood into an equally diverse space.
For more information about Array, click here.