Photo: Ryan Reynolds/YouTube
Diversity has become a hot topic in Hollywood over the last several years. While people of all colors and creeds have a hand in filmmaking, many have accused cinema of being a predominantly white industry. Major production companies, in response, have taken steps towards diversifying the workplace and ensuring that everyone has an equal opportunity within the movie making process.
Just recently, actor and comedian Ryan Reynolds has announced a new initiative which will further enforce diversity in Hollywood. This program, dubbed The Group Effort Initiative, will allow aspiring minority filmmakers to get hands-on experience working on a professional film alongside industry veterans. The program will completely cover the recruits’ payment, housing and travel.
Reynolds, a film icon known for starring roles in films such as Deadpool, Detective Pikachu and The Proposal, announced this new initiative on his Twitter account. In the video he explains, “Making a movie, well it’s a group effort. But for entirely too long that group has systemically excluded Black, Indigenous, people of color and a whole host of other marginalized communities.” The video continues, as Reynolds explains that between ten and twenty trainees of all ages from the BIPOC will be invited to join him on the set of his next film which is planned to begin filming in Fall 2020. The recruits’ payment, housing and travel will be paid for out of Reynolds’ own salary for the film.
The Group Effort Initiative
While this action is very generous on the part of Ryan Reynolds himself, the actor hopes that The Group Effort Initiative will inspire other stars to follow his lead. As he explains in the video, “This is a long overdue action… since it’s called ‘Ground Effort,’ we’re hoping that people with the privilege that I’m lucky enough to experience will join in that effort.” By committing to this idea, and even sacrificing his own profit in the name of social justice, Reynolds hopes to start a movement within Hollywood. If every star was willing to forgo a fraction of their paycheck in order to fund the training of an aspiring filmmaker, many thousands of people would have the opportunity to receive hands-on training in the entertainment industry. The commitment to serving underrepresented minorities, in particular, demonstrates a drive towards diversity and equality.
Black, indigenous and people of color are able to apply for The Group Effort Initiative by visiting their website and filling out a digital contact form. The initiative’s website is topped by an extremely appropriate quote by Gina Prince-Bythewood, director of such films as Beyond the Lights and The Old Guard. Prince-Bythewood’s quote reads, “I didn’t know I was a director until I got the chance to see it on a student film set. There are so many who have the pieces of a dream in their heads but don’t know what to do with it.”
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This quote demonstrates the fact that many successful filmmakers did not know that they had the skills or passion to be involved in the industry until they had the opportunity to try it for themselves. Prince-Bythewood, a graduate of University of California, Los Angeles’ film school, understands the importance of giving the next generation of Hollywood a chance to shine. These aspiring filmmakers could become the next big Hollywood legends, when they would otherwise have never gotten the opportunity to try filmmaking.
The Group Effort Initiative is designed to invest in the talent and creativity of any and all under-represented communities who’ve felt this industry didn’t have room for their dreams. To register yourself, go to: https://t.co/DXMM9VuPhL #GroupEffort #MaximumEffort pic.twitter.com/TJ0FGUMe2l
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) July 31, 2020
The Hollywood Reporter was able to shed a little more light on The Group Effort Initiative, reporting that the diversity and inclusion program will be run through Ryan Reynolds’ production company Maximum Effort. The movie that the trainees will be a part of is apparently an untitled time-travel adventure film, which is set to be produced by Netflix and Skydance Media, directed by Shawn Levy and shot in Vancouver, Canada. However, delays are still possible due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Shawn Levy told The Hollywood Reporter, “A film crew is a family. The more diverse and representative it is, the better the outcome.” Reynolds expressed a similar opinion, saying, “Being a member of a film crew is a special experience — but that privilege hasn’t been extended to everyone. There’s a ton of untapped talent out there. This action is the right thing to do, but it’s worth noting that inclusivity will also make our industry stronger and more dynamic. We will tell better stories.” The Group Effort Initiative was apparently designed with the help of Dr. Stacy Smith of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, a think tank with the goal of researching and advocating for social change.
With the Black Lives Matter Movement still going strong around the world, now is the time for people with a platform to use it to spread awareness. Ryan Reynolds, and all those involved in The Group Effort Initiative, are doing their part to promote diversity and equality in the film industry. Hopefully others in his position will follow his example, and those without the opportunity to express themselves through filmmaking will be given a shot at success.
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An excerpt from the love letter: Hollywood Insider’s CEO/editor-in-chief Pritan Ambroase affirms, “Hollywood Insider fully supports the much-needed Black Lives Matter movement. We are actively, physically and digitally a part of this global movement. We will continue reporting on this major issue of police brutality and legal murders of Black people to hold the system accountable. We will continue reporting on this major issue with kindness and respect to all Black people, as each and every one of them are seen and heard. Just a reminder, that the Black Lives Matter movement is about more than just police brutality and extends into banking, housing, education, medical, infrastructure, etc. We have the space and time for all your stories. We believe in peaceful/non-violent protests and I would like to request the rest of media to focus on 95% of the protests that are peaceful and working effectively with positive changes happening daily. Media has a responsibility to better the world and Hollywood Insider will continue to do so.”
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