As the film industry continues to evolve, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti leads a new collective alongside celebrities to grow Latinx representation in Hollywood
Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti is implementing a new program that will increase the presence of Latinx actors, actresses, writers and crew members in Hollywood. He is joined by stars Eva Longoria, Zoe Saldana and others to lead the historic initiative that projects job opportunities to double for Latinx people in Hollywood over the next decade.
According to a report from the Los Angeles Times, Garcetti co-founded a new collective known as LA Collab alongside Beatriz Acevedo, founder of Mitú, a multichannel network on Youtube targeted for Latino audiences, and Ivette Rodriguez, founder of the theatrical marketing and communications firm AEM.
The group has already raised $250,000 that will finance a range of entertainment productions and deals from film, TV and podcasts that will provide opportunities catered to Latinxs working in the industry, according to the LA Times.
Garcetti’s office said in a release on Monday that LA Collab is financed by the Mayor’s fund for Los Angeles, the Annenberg Foundation, Warner Media, Endeavor Content and is supported by multiple organizations such as Blumhouse Productions, the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, the Sundance Institute and the United Talent Agency.
“Latinos are a powerful force in L.A.’s culture and economy, and our trademark industry should tap into the diverse pool of talent in our own backyard,” said Mayor Garcetti in a statement. “On big screens or small, in front of the camera or behind it, our studios, actors, directors and producers inspire the world with the power of their creativity and imagination — and LA Collab will elevate new voices and empower the next generation of Latinx creatives.”
Within 30 miles, the bustling center of Hollywood is in Azusa Pacific’s backyard.
“I believe Hollywood to be a connections-based industry, and I agree more with finding ways to give less privileged or less connected people, no matter their race, more opportunities to engage and grow in their interests towards the cinematic arts,” said Caelin Nelson, a senior cinematic arts major. “Every person of every race has a story to tell and film is simply a form of telling their stories.”
According to NBC News, a recent study conducted by the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at the University of Southern California has LA Collab’s founders concerned after the enterprise found that less than five percent of the nearly 50,000 speaking or named characters in films over the last 12 years were Latinx.
Given that Latinxs represent nearly 20 percent of the U.S. population and account for nearly a quarter of movie theater audiences, the group told NBC News that the study is troubling.
“The fact of the matter is that the country was originally formed under white dominance and Hollywood has been and continues to be a visual representation of our nation’s progression,” said Nelson.
Actress Eva Longoria, who is known for her philanthropy efforts, created her own production company to help create content for the Lantinx community and said she became a director and producer to be in a position to hire more people that look like her.
“As a Latina, I want to see more actors who look like me on screen and behind the camera,” Longoria said in a statement. “With LA Collab, 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.”
Garcetti’s announcement comes on the same day that nominations for the 92nd Academy Awards were released, creating headlines from multiple sources accusing the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for its lack of diversity in actors that were nominated and the birth of the #OscarsSoWhite campaign.