L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti Unveils Initiative to Improve Latinx Representation in Entertainment

Brandon Williams/Getty Images

Opportunities fostered by the campaign so far include deals with Endeavor Content, WarnerMedia's 150 and Shine Global, among others.

L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti is entering the fight to increase Latinx representation in Hollywood.

On Monday, the mayor announced a new initiative to increase Latinx participation in front of and behind the camera at an event in Boyle Heights with actor Eva Longoria. "L.A. Collab," as the campaign is called, aims to introduce talent, creatives and executives to a variety of opportunities in entertainment and seeks to "double" the number of Latinx creatives in a diverse array of entertainment fields. It has so far raised a quarter million with seed funders.

Cofounded by Garcetti, along with Mitu founder and Acevedo Foundation president Beatrive Acevedo and AEM president Ivette Rodriguez, L.A. Collab has already negotiated the following opportunities for Latinx creatives: a finance development deal of a feature script with Endeavor Content; a scripted proof-of-concept deal with WarnerMedia's 150; a documentary development deal with Shine Global; a podcast development/pilot deal with SCPR's LAist Studios; and a blind digital pilot deal with pocket.watch. 

Other supporters who have pledged opportunities for Latinx talent include Blumhouse Productions, Bad Robot, Hello Sunshine, Sundance Institute, UTA, Women in Film, FREE THE WORK, Hispanic Heritage Foundation, National Association of Latino Independent Producers and National Hispanic Media Coalition. Filmmaker Eli Roth has additionally promised to highlight Latinx talent on his platform Crypt TV and Lionsgate's Pantelion Films and Pantaya have said they will look for bilingual voices for scripted streaming and studio titles. Several supporters will additionally mentor Latinx talent working with L.A. Collab.

The initiative will track its progress via a "Database of Latino Working Talent in Hollywood," created in collaboration with The Latino Donor Collaborative. After its first year, L.A. Collab will produce a report of the current state of Latinx representation in the industry with the help of the database and present some of its initial successes.

“The Latinx community is a growing force across L.A.’s economy, and our trademark industry should tap into that diverse pool of talent in our own backyard,” Garcetti said 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 L.A. Collab will help bring new voices and dynamic storytellers into the fold by including and empowering the next generation of Latinx leaders.”

The announcement comes in the wake of several disheartening statistics in the past year regarding Latinx representation in Hollywood. Earlier this month, a San Diego State University Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film study found that while white women saw more representation in the top 100 films of 2019, women of color's representation decreased, with Latinas accounting for five percent of female characters. Last August, an Annenberg Inclusion Initiative study concluded that Latinx characters comprised just 4.5 percent of speaking roles in films from 2007 to 2018.

Garcetti has previously worked to diversify Hollywood with the Evolve Entertainment Fund, a grant-awarding fund started in 2018 that supports opportunities for female and minority creatives looking to break into entertainment.