Greta Gerwig, Lily Gladstone Join Selection Committee for Cate Blanchett’s Fund for Women, Trans, Nonbinary Stories

Eight top female, trans and nonbinary creatives are coming together to support the Proof of Concept Accelerator, which exists to bring to life projects about people from those backgrounds.

Chloé Zhao, Emma Corrin, Eva Longoria, Greta Gerwig, Jane Campion, Janicza Bravo, Lily Gladstone and Lilly Wachowski will form the eight-person selection committee for the fund, which was launched in December by Annenberg Inclusion Initiative’s Stacy L. Smith, and Dirty Films’ Cate Blanchett and Coco Francini. The program is supported by the Netflix Fund for Creative Equity.

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“We are profoundly grateful for the partnership of these members of the Proof of Concept selection committee, made up of not only some of the most talented and prolific storytellers working toda,y but those who are also dedicated to creating change in our industry and our world,” Blanchett, Francini and Smith said in a joint statement. “By extending a hand to this next generation, these filmmakers are creating an ecosystem of change that we aim to grow exponentially as a result of this accelerator.”

Added Netflix chief content officer Bela Bajaria in a statement, “This committee is a stellar group of filmmaking talent. Each of these visionaries has moved audiences around the world, and I look forward to seeing how their support paves the way for future filmmakers.”

The committee will choose eight filmmakers who will each receive $50,000 and industry mentorship to make a short film, which will be screened this fall. Proof of Concept received more than 1,200 submissions, with 85 percent of applicants identifying as women, 9 percent as men and 2 percent as nonbinary. A total of 8.5 percent of applicants were transgender. According to AI2 research of the 100 highest-grossing movies each year from 2007 to 2023, just 6 percent of directors were women and 2 percent were transgender.

Proof of Concept’s pool of applying filmmakers was also more racially and ethnically diverse (52 percent people of color) than Hollywood’s directors from the past 17 years (22.7 percent). Specifically, 16 percent of applicants were Black, 13 percent Hispanic/Latino, 14 percent Asian, 5 percent Middle Eastern/North African, 2.2 percent Indigenous and 1.2 percent multiracial or multiethnic.

“Filmmakers from these communities are currently overlooked for the top jobs, but when we reached out, they answered our call to action,” the three Proof of Concept founders said in a joint statement. “The overwhelming response to Proof of Concept is a demonstration to the entertainment industry that there is a vast group of underrepresented talent ready to graduate to large-scale filmmaking. Our goal now is to select, support and showcase eight individuals among this remarkable array of voices and prove that they are ready to be invested in.”

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