Following a study which showed that less than 5% of characters in film are Latino, a new celebrity-endorsed initiative is pledging to double that number over the next decade.
The endeavour, dubbed LA Collab, is being spearheaded by Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti, alongside Mitu Networks founder Beatriz Acevedo and AEM president Ivette Rodriguez to “empower the next generation of Latinx leaders”, according to Variety.
Longoria is joined by Zoe Saldana, J.J. Abrams, Eli Roth, Devon Franklin and Jason Blum, who have all spoken out in support of the project, which has already raised a quarter of a million dollars to finance a range of film, TV and podcast development deals and projects intended to increase opportunities for Latino filmmakers, writers, actors and crew members.
Initial funders of the project include the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles, the Annenberg Foundation, WarnerMedia and Endeavour Content.
“As a Latina, I want to see more actors who look like me onscreen and behind the camera,” Longoria said in a statement, as per Variety.
“I started my own production company to create content from our community, and I became a director/producer to be in a position to hire people who look like me. With LA Collab, I want to open the door for many more Latinx creators and fuel the emergence of a better entertainment industry that elevates and celebrated the diversity and richness of my culture.”
The project was partly spurred by a recent study by the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at the University of Southern California, which found that despite Latinos making up 20% of the US population, less than an average of 3% of the leads and co-leads in the past 12 years and less than 5% of the nearly 50,000 of characters in films over the same period were Latino.
“The Latinx community is a growing force across LA’s economy and our trademark industry should tap into the diverse pool of talent in out own backyard,” Garcetti said in a statement announcing the initiative. “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.”