A group of more than 100 Black filmmakers, including Park Pictures’ Savanah Leaf and Prettybird’s Calmatic, has teamed up to launch Change the Lens, a new initiative calling for 15 percent Black representation at all levels of production.
Change the Lens is backed by the Black Filmmakers Collective, a group that includes Park Pictures director Leaf and Alli Maxwell, executive producer at Florence. The initiative asks creative companies to commit to increasing the diversity of their department heads and crew, at all levels and more, to reflect 15 percent Black representation. It also asks production and talent agencies to consult a head of diversity and inclusion to mediate and oversee the diversity pledge.
The pledge follows other initiatives such as Bid Black, a database that showcases Black production talent, aimed at normalizing representation in the ad industry, which was founded by Sydni Chustz, an associate producer of social content at Saatchi & Saatchi L.A.; and Free the Work, which last month released data on the lack of Black directing talent on industry rosters.
However, the Change the Lens initiative reflects the whole production landscape, say Leaf and Maxwell, rather than just directing talent. It calls on production companies and talent agencies to have 15 percent representation on their rosters, and for producers, directors and department heads to have a 15 percent Black crew on every job. The 15 percent figure reflects the fact that Black people make up 15 percent of the population in the U.S. and in London.