Lily Gladstone, Greta Gerwig, more join Netflix committee to award trans, nonbinary, female filmmakers with life-changing grant

The Netflix headquarters' sign

Despite internet rumblings that Greta Gerwig and Lily Gladstone were overlooked at the Oscars, it’s undeniable that the two powerhouses still had an incredible year. 

As both writer and director, Gerwig pulverized box office records with “Barbie” and Lily Gladstone just swept awards season with 36 awards for her breathtaking performance as Mollie Burkhart in “Killers of the Flower Moon.” 

After rightfully earning their flowers, the two seem happy to pass out their own. 

This fall, Gerwig, Gladstone and other industry titans — Chloe Zhao, Emma Corrin, Eva Longoria, Jane Campion, Janicza Bravo, and Lilly Wachowski — will select eight filmmakers to win a life-changing $50,000 grant. 

The Netflix funded “Proof of Concept” program, in partnership with Cate Blanchett’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, invited 1,200 applicants to submit story ideas for their dream projects, with emphasis on supporting the perspectives of women, trans, and nonbinary filmmakers. 

"By Dirty Films and the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative: Proof of Concept"
Photo courtesy of Netflix

The selected winners will receive the grant, alongside a one-on-one mentorship from one of the eight mentors on the selection committee. Together, the winners will work with high-profile producers, directors, and actors as they each produce a new original short film. 

“This committee is a stellar group of filmmaking talent,” said Netflix chief content officer Bela Bajaria. “Each of these visionaries has moved audiences around the world, and I look forward to seeing how their support paves the way for future filmmakers.”

Blanchett said that with the right tools, the filmmaker’s shorts could potentially lead to feature length films and full series television programs. 

“Providing tangible financial and career support for filmmakers who often get overlooked will not only give them a fantastic launchpad to success, it will also expand the future of film and television,” Blanchett said in a press statement

According to the initiative, 85% of total applicants were women, 8.5% were transgender, and 2% were nonbinary. The pool of people was also incredibly diverse, with 52% of applicants identifying as people of color. 

After the flood of applications poured in, Blanchett joined her Annenberg co-founders — activist Stacy L. Smith and producer Coco Francini —  in releasing a joint statement.

“Filmmakers from these communities are currently overlooked for the top jobs, but when we reached out, they answered our call to action,” the three founders said. “The overwhelming response to Proof of Concept is a demonstration to the entertainment industry that there is a vast group of underrepresented talent ready to graduate to large-scale filmmaking.” 

“Our goal now is to select, support and showcase eight individuals among this remarkable array of voices and prove that they are ready to be invested in.”

Each creator on the selection committee — from “Zola” director Bravo to “The Crown” actor Corrin — has spoken out about the importance of inclusion and diversity. The “Proof of Concept” program reconfirms their commitment to using their platforms to uplift others. 

Notably, after making history as the first Native American to be nominated for Best Actress at the Oscars, Gladstone was eager to share her success. 

Gladstone told the New Yorker: “If I've kicked the door in, I'm just trying to stand here and leave it open for everybody else.”

Header image courtesy of Netflix

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March 25, 2024 12:43 PM
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