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Imagine Impact partners with Netflix to open pipeline to aspiring writers

Netflix has teamed up with Imagine Impact, a Los Angeles-based mentorship program that supports emerging creators.
Netflix has teamed up with Imagine Impact, a Los Angeles-based mentorship program that supports emerging creators, to develop original content from new screenwriters.
(Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg)

Imagine Impact, a Los Angeles-based mentorship program that supports emerging creators, has teamed up with Netflix to develop original content globally from new screenwriters, in an effort to make Hollywood more accessible.

From June 17 to July 6, Imagine Impact will accept submissions in its first of four genres: “large scale action-adventure movies for all audiences,” according to a release.

The entertainment start-up, which was founded under Imagine Entertainment, will identify chosen film ideas from the applications, and bring the developed ideas to Netflix. Selected applicants will be matched with an industry professional to work on scripts for Netflix, mirroring the model of Impact’s global accelerators, which develop talent and provide opportunities for innovators and other creators breaking into the industry.

“As Impact continues to evolve the way that global talent is discovered, projects are developed and how the creative industry connects, this partnership demonstrates both companies’ commitment to improving the development system in order to generate more original, quality [intellectual property] to meet the growing demand,” the Impact co-founders said in a statement.

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Impact said its evaluation of applications will strive to erase bias from the process and remove barriers many face in the exclusive Hollywood system, allowing quality work to speak for itself.

The partnership comes at a time when entertainment companies are under growing pressure to offer more opportunities for Black and underrepresented individuals in Hollywood, amid protests over the killing of George Floyd and other Black people.

As the streaming wars heat up, Netflix is not just aiming for big name directors, but also making an effort to support first-time filmmakers. It’s part of a long-term strategy to build the company’s feature film business.

Since it was founded in 2018 by Imagine Entertainment founders Brian Grazer and Ron Howard, along with Tyler Mitchell, an executive with the production company, Impact has launched accelerators in Los Angeles and Australia, with over 14,000 writers applying to the programs.

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The programs rely on industry leaders, known as “shapers,” to support the applicants. Other industry professionals, including J.J. Abrams, Issa Rae and Judd Apatow, have spoken to the participants and offered guidance. Impact accelerators have resulted in 62 developed projects, with 22 sold or set up with major studios, networks and streaming services, according to Impact.

“Brian and Ron run one of the most creative and forward-thinking production companies in the business,” Vice President of Netflix Films Tendo Nagenda said in the statement. “Having worked with them and Imagine Entertainment on the upcoming ‘Hillbilly Elegy’ and ‘Tick, Tick... Boom!,’ we were excited to extend our partnership to Imagine Impact on this new endeavor.”

Imagine Impact has partnered with Netflix in the past with works like “Tunga,” an animated family musical that was inspired by the mythology of the Shona culture of Zimbabwe. The film was created by creator Godwin Jabangwe through Impact’s accelerator program.


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