Magic Johnson, Samuel L. Jackson, and LaTanya Richardson Jackson are helping to bring more eyes to stories from African women filmmakers.
The basketball mogul and legendary Hollywood couple invested in the $750,000 pre-seed funding round for Statement Films — founded by Areej Noor — according to a press release. The entertainment startup works to create an inclusive global community through sourcing and developing films created by African woman creatives.
“I am incredibly excited to be a part of the journey with Statement Films. The company is doing such important work to fill a long overdue gap in the industry. We can look forward with optimism to the future of African women in film,” Samuel L. Jackson shared in a press statement.
“As a female creative, this is something I am particularly passionate about and I look forward to seeing the opportunities and progress that will unfold for African women through the incredible work of Areej and her team at Statement Films,” LaTanya Richardson Jackson chimed in.
Johnson and the Jacksons were also joined by business leaders Robyn and Tony Coles and Vicki and John Palmer for the investment.
The press release details that Statement Films “develops and presents a pipeline of African-women-led IP to international buyers, bridging the gap between African and Diaspora women filmmakers and the global market.”
The mission to bridge the gap is tied to Noor’s personal experience as a Somali-American from Washington, D.C. During the writer, producer, and political analyst’s upbringing, she learned from stories about “powerful” women across the globe.
“I grew up exposed to incredibly creative and powerful stories of African women, but I felt they were still underserved by Western media and the entertainment elite — that is why I founded Statement Films,” Noor said in a press statement. “Having the support of Hollywood, sports, and business titans gives us the momentum to establish new and equitable pathways for the explosive female talent coming from the continent.”