Ava DuVernay’s Array film collective and Google are partnering to award a $500,000 grant to an up-and-coming filmmaker to help get their debut feature on the screen.
The initiative is meant to make more of a level playing field for women and people of color in the movie industry.
“Having started my filmmaking journey by self-funding projects, this is a full-circle moment,” DuVernay said in a statement Wednesday. “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.”
A judging panel made up of professionals from the indie filmmaking world will select the recipient of the grant. The panel includes Gabrielle Glore (Urbanworld festival director & head of programming); Francis Cullado (Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival’s executive director of visual communications media); Crystal Echo Hawk (IllumiNative founder); María Rauqel Bozzi (senior director of education & international initiatives at Film Independent); and Smriti Kiran (artistic director of Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival).
“We’re honored to help Array showcase talented creatives from underrepresented communities and to add volume to more diverse voices,” said Elle Roth-Brunet, Google Assistant’s entertainment partnerships lead and producer on the project. “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.”
Last year, Google announced it would be partnering with The Black List (a screenwriting initiative co-founded by Black film executive Franklin Leonard) for the inaugural Black List x Google Assistant Storytelling Fellowship.