The Mayor of L.A. Vows to Strengthen Diversity in the Entertainment Industry with New Fund

Named Evolve Entertainment Fund (EEF), the new public-private financial partnership initiated by Eric Garcetti aims to raise $5 million by 2020 to grant budgets to various organizations related to the film, TV and music industry to help create more opportunities for communities too often excluded.

The mayor of Los Angeles stood alongside director Ava DuVernay and producer Dan Lin as he spoke during a press conference yesterday to make the announcement. Garcetti affirmed that the investment will help “tell the stories of all the beautiful complexity of this city, which is the most diverse city in the world today, a place where 39 countries find their largest population outside their home country.”

An alliance between industry leaders, the city of Los Angeles, digital media, non-profit organizations and educational institutions, the EEF will work to build bridges for women, people of color and low-income L.A. citizens to establish careers in show business via additional paid internships, focused mentoring and continuous workshops and panels. The fund’s main goal is to increase the amount of internships from 150 to 250 by the end of 2018, with the objective to reach 500 by 2020.

The grant comes at a time when Hollywood is going through important changes after the Weinstein scandal initiated the Time’s Up movement raising sexual assaults, harassments and inequality issues in the entertainment industry and beyond. “Hollywood is taking a very hard look at itself right now, as is much of this nation,” commented Garcetti. “At this moment, the women of Time’s Up and #MeToo are looking and saying, ‘Why don’t we have more stories, and why is it that if we see these perversions at the end of the line, why aren’t we fixing it at the beginning of the line?'”

Director Ava DuVernay and producer Dan Lin / The Hollywood Reporter

“I really think it starts from the ground up,” added Taiwanese producer Dan Lin, who is behind many successful cinema productions like The Lego Movie and It, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, and attested that his entire life and career were forever changed thanks to one internship.

Also present, Selma‘s and the upcoming Disney movie A Wrinkle in Time‘s director Ava DuVernay expressed her support and high hopes for the project. “I feel very passionately about the Mayor’s great effort to really move out of the point of conversation,” she said. “We alway say, ‘Let’s move the conversation forward.’ You know, I’m done talking. I got it. Let’s start doing. And that is what this fund really means to me.”

“I am hopeful that this will really blossom into something dynamic for this city,” she concluded. “The hope is that we can all just stay committed to it so that it becomes… I don’t like the word ‘movement’ – I just want it to be a fact, a new reality.”