WEEK IN WOMEN: New Proof of Concept Accelerator Program is accepting applications – Brandy McDonnell reports

Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett and Emmy Award nominee Coco Francini, along with Stacy L. Smith and the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, have launched the Proof of Concept Accelerator Program, which is now taking applications for 2024. Supported by Netflix, the program’s goal is to identify the next generation of filmmaking talent whose stories promote the perspectives of women, transgender and nonbinary people. Proof of Concept is designed to challenge the three most significant barriers these directors face as they navigate the industry: funding, mentorship and exposure. As many as eight filmmakers will be selected for the program’s inaugural cohort. Each of these filmmakers will receive $50,000 in funding to create a short film that can serve as “proof of concept” for a feature film or television series.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: Stats Show More Women and Characters of Color in 2019 – Brandy McDonnell reports

In 2019, film fans were more likely to find movies with lead characters who were women and people of color in their local cinemas than they had previously in more than a decade, according to a recent study led by Stacy L. Smith from the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at the University of Southern California.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: New Stats show drop in WoC-directed films – Brandy McDonnell reports

Female director representation may be the highest it’s been in 13 years, but the number of women of color is still low. The percentage of underrepresented directors reached 16.8% in 2019, a drop from 2018’s high watermark of 21.4%. Just four women of color directed a top 100 movie in 2019.

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WEEK IN WOMEN: 4% Initiative Begins at Sundance 2019 – Brandy McDonnell reports

During the “Making the (In)visible: Radical Transparency in the Data-Driven Age” panel at the Sundance Film Festival, Dr. Stacy L. Smith from the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative announced the “4% Challenge,” which urges filmmakers to make a commitment work with a female director — especially a female director of color — within 18 months.

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