Ava DuVernay teams up with Warner Bros. exec to bring diversity to Hollywood crews

The director has teamed with Peter Roth of Warner Bros.

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Determined to make concrete change in the industry, Ava DuVernay is teaming up with Warner Bros. executive Peter Roth to bring diversity to Hollywood crews.

From her films like Selma and A Wrinkle in Time to her TV ventures When They See Us and Queen Sugar, DuVernay has brought Black stories and representation to screens all over the world. Now, she is determined to make sure the behind the scenes talent is just as diverse as the talent on screen.

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(Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

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In a historic partnership with Peter Roth of Warner Bros. and her company Array, DuVernay is looking for more inclusive crews on set. She told the LATimes of her partnership with Roth, “I’ve never had the experience of being so closely connected with someone who’s probably, just on paper, the polar opposite of me — not a woman, not Black, not my age and certainly not anyone with as much power as Peter has…it serves as a model for the kinds of relationship[s] that we can be in, in our industry.”

DuVernay signed a multi-year deal with Warner Bros. TV in 2018, a pivotal step in her work towards the change she is seeking. According to the LA Times, “DuVernay and her team have assembled a database of below-the-line talent designed to bridge the hiring gap for women and people of color in the entertainment industry.”

The project, Array Crew, has “2,500 profiles, which can be sorted by crew position, experience, location and more,” and has Disney, Netflix, Sony, and more as investors, which is where Roth comes in.

Roth told the LA Times, “I called the heads of all the studios. Alan Horn [now Walt Disney Studios chief creative officer] happens to be an old dear friend, as he is with Ava, by the way; Jim Gianopulos [chief executive of Paramount Pictures]; Tony Vinciquerra [chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment] — I just called everybody. And we started by having Ava and her team put forth these extraordinary demonstrations.” 

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Array Crew is currently in the “soft-launch’ stage, and although the pandemic has certainly slowed down development in the industry, DuVernay insisted, “There’s an opportunity here to slide back or to catapult forward. We know that nothing will be the same, right? This is the time.”

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