Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is leading a new jobs program to double Latino representation in Hollywood, in front of and behind the camera, over the next decade.
A new collective of Latino creators and executives called LA Collab has raised a quarter of a million dollars to finance a range of film, TV and podcast development deals and projects intended to provide opportunities for Latino filmmakers, writers and actors and crew members.
The project is backed in part by the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles, the Annenberg Foundation, WarnerMedia and Endeavor Content, Garcetti’s office said in a statement Monday.
The jobs initiative seeks to address the underrepresentation of Latinos in Hollywood by connecting workers with various employers in the industry.
“The biggest problems that we face of poverty come from a lack of social capital, whether it’s in the tech industry or whether it’s in the construction trade, or here in entertainment, " Garcetti said. “It is City Hall’s role to make sure that good middle-class jobs are going to all communities, that a child growing up in Pacoima or Jefferson Park isn’t locked out of opportunity to see her stories on the small or big screen.”
Garcetti cited a recent USC study that found that although Latinos represent nearly 20% of the U.S. population and 25% of Hollywood’s box office revenue, only 3% of the 100 top-grossing films from 2007 to 2018 featured Latino leads or co-leads.
LA Collab was co-founded by Garcetti as well as Beatriz Acevedo, founder of Mitú, a multichannel network on YouTube targeting Latino audiences; and Ivette Rodriguez, president of theatrical marketing firm AEM. High-profile Hollywood supporters include actress and director Eva Longoria and filmmakers Jason Blum and J.J Abrams.
“I want to open the door for many more Latinx creators and fuel the emergence of a better entertainment industry that elevates and celebrates the diversity and richness of my culture,” Longoria said in the statement. Longoria formed her own production company to create content from the Latino community.
Among the commitments, director Eli Roth has pledged to support Latino horror filmmakers with opportunities to work on his digital outlet, Crypt TV. Lions Gate Entertainment’s Pantelion Films production label and Spanish-language streaming service Pantaya have committed to seek out new bilingual voices for scripted projects.
Additionally, Endeavor Content, whose parent company owns talent agency WME, pledged to finance the development of a feature script; Shine Global has offered a development deal for a documentary, and Southern California Public Radio’s LAist Studios said it will work with Latino creators on a podcast deal.
Although Latino directors Alfonso Cuarón and Guillermo del Toro have had huge success and earned Oscars for their work, the USC study from August found that among 1,200 popular films released between 2007 and 2018 (a sample of the top 100 films per year), just 4.5% of more than 47,000 speaking or named roles went to Latino actors. Only 3% were leads or co-leads.
The USC study noted that 77% of U.S. states and territories have a Latino population larger than the percentage seen in major Hollywood films.