NBCUniversal is supporting three Black filmmakers in Target-backed program, though DE&I experts say more work is needed
By Tim Peterson
As part of NBCUniversal’s overall efforts to improve the level of diversity, equity and inclusion at the company and in the broader entertainment industry, the media conglomerate has created a program to support three Black filmmakers. However, as is often the case with the entertainment industry’s DE&I efforts, DE&I experts say that NBCU’s program is a promising step, but that they would have liked to see it support a greater number of people.
NBCUniversal has struck a deal with Target to champion three Black filmmakers — Ewurakua Dawson-Amoah, Kristian King and Addison Wright — through a program called “Scene in Color Film Series.” As part of the program, the media company will air interviews and featurettes on the filmmakers on its linear TV networks, distribute a short film from each of the filmmakers on NBCUniversal’s digital properties including Peacock and sign TV show pilot script development deals with Dawson-Amoah, King and Wright.
For the program, NBCUniversal is working with film producer Will Packer, who will assist the filmmakers in developing their pilot scripts. An NBCUniversal spokesperson declined to comment on how much money Target and NBCUniversal are spending on the program, but said the filmmakers are being fairly and equitably compensated for their work.
Equity “is a crucial piece of this program,” said Steven Rummer, svp of strategy and creative partnerships for NBCUniversal’s advertising and partnerships division. “It wasn’t just about branding and a movie night for Target. It wasn’t just about showcasing BIPOC filmmaking talent. The linchpin in this was that we were going to be able to provide this pilot deal and the mentorship with Will to develop and work with this talent on the next thing.”
Throughout the summer, NBCUniversal will air the filmmaker interviews and featurettes during the summer movie series airing on its Bravo, Syfy and USA cable TV networks. Each movie in which the interviews and featurettes appear will star BIPOC talent, such as “White House Down,” which kicked off the program on June 10 and stars Jamie Foxx.
In addition to those clips, NBCUniversal will distribute Dawson-Amoah’s, King’s and Wright’s short films on several of its digital properties, including all tiers of its Peacock streaming service as well as its NBC One app and Rotten Tomatoes. NBCUniversal will run promotions during the TV networks’ movie nights to drive audiences to the short films and will also highlight them on the properties via a Curator Ad on Peacock dedicated to BIPOC content that will list the three short films atop the page.
The most impactful component of the program, though, may be the first-look deals that NBCUniversal has signed with each of the filmmakers. In addition to receiving agreements to put together pilot scripts that could eventually turn into TV shows, Dawson-Amoah, King and Wright will be working with Packer to develop their ideas to pitch to NBCUniversal.
Having the support of Packer as a mentor in the pilot development process is “huge. It will probably be transformational for them in their careers to get that initial backing …read more