Netflix, Shondaland, The Latinx House and the Sundance Institute’s Women at Sundance program announced a joint partnership on Wednesday, teaming for a new program that will give Latina and non-binary Latinx directors hands-on entertainment industry experience and connections.
The Adelante Directors Fellowship will be a yearlong program supporting the selected directors’ professional development and creating a pipeline to support independent filmmakers throughout their careers.
The fellowship includes the opportunity to shadow an episode of a series, a grant covering the six-week shadowing period, a two-day orientation with masterclasses and support from nonprofit The Latinx House. Shondaland will be providing shadowing opportunities as part of the program on some of their productions as well.
“We know that great representation on screen begins with who’s behind the camera. We’re honored to be a part of this incredible coalition to help support Latina and non-binary Latinx directors who are looking for a pathway into television,” Bela Bajaria, head of global TV at Netflix, said in a statement. The streamer has previously collaborated with The Latinx House at the Sundance Film Festival, and joins the fellowship as part of Netflix’s Fund for Creative Equity, an effort to create more behind-the-camera opportunities for underrepresented communities within the TV and film industries.
Added Tom Verica, Shondaland’s head of creative production, “Shondaland is committed to finding ways to ensure equal representation both in front of and behind the camera. We are incredibly excited to partner with The Latinx House and the Sundance Institute’s Women at Sundance to establish this wonderful program that will mentor and nurture Latina and non-binary directors.”
The fellowship comes on the heels of a 2021 study from the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, which found that of the 1,300 top-grossing films released between 2007 and 2019, there were only 12 individual Latinx directors represented – and only three out of the 1,447 directors were women of Hispanic/Latina origin.
“It’s essential that the industry dedicates the resources needed to develop a strong pipeline of Latina and non-binary Latinx directors,” said Latinx House cofounder Olga Segura. “We believe it is critical to be working with like-minded partners in Hollywood to accelerate change in the industry. We hope that this fellowship is just the beginning and will inspire even more studios and companies to open doors for Latinx directors.”
“We’re thrilled to be collaborating with The Latinx House, Netflix and Shondaland on the inaugural year of the Adelante Directors Fellowship. Women at Sundance continues to support filmmakers from underrepresented communities and recognizes the impact that can be made by working together with our partners to build a more inclusive community of creators,” said Adella Ladjevardi, associate director for Women at Sundance. “Providing a shadowing opportunity is one of many ways we hope to increase access and exposure for Latina and non-binary Latinx directors.”
Applicants for the program have been sourced through targeted outreach from The Latinx House and Sundance Institute. The three selected Latina and non-binary Latinx directors will be announced in early summer.