Ava DuVernay, Dan Lin, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti Launch Inclusion Fund

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, filmmaker Ava DuVernay, and producer Dan Lin have launched the Evolve Entertainment Fund to promote inclusion.

“When ‘Oscars So White’ and ‘Time’s Up’ put a spotlight on inequality in Hollywood, they captured the frustrations of people shut out of opportunity in what the world knows as L.A.’s signature industry,” said Garcetti. “We created the Evolve Entertainment Fund to give people in underserved communities a new opportunity to chase their dreams in Hollywood — whether they want to be the next award-winning director or screenwriter, or are looking to secure a future in below-the-line jobs that are the bedrock of this city’s middle class.”

The fund is a public-private partnership aimed at including communities that have been historically excluded from the entertainment industry. It was unveiled Monday at a news conference at Rideback Ranch — Lin’s rebranded production company — in the Filipinotown District west of downtown Los Angeles.

Lin, whose credits include “It” and “The Lego Movie,” revealed that the new space on Beverly Boulevard will also serve as home to filmmakers Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the Lego animation team from Warner Bros, and David Ayer and Chris Long’s Cedar Park production company.

Lin said that the “Rideback” name was selected from a cowboy term for helping a horseback rider who’s fallen to get back on the horse. “When you’re a young person, you don’t even realize where the horse is,” he quipped.

Rideback Ranch, which is due to be open in three weeks, won’t include a Starbucks, Lin noted. He’s opted for a Boba Guys facility on the site.

DuVernay announced at the event that she’s opening a new headquarters for her Array Entertainment in the same area on Glendale Boulevard in order to convey a spirit of inclusion. “Every room we inhabit needs to look like the real world,” she added.

The Evolve fund is an alliance between the City of Los Angeles, industry leaders in entertainment and digital media, non-profit organizations, and educational institutions. The EEF has already secured 150 paid summer internships for students participating in the Hire LA’s Youth program — partnering with leading entertainment and digital media organizations that include DreamWorks Animation, Ryan Murphy Television, Film Independent, WME, CAA, Kobe Bryant’s Granity Studios, and Anonymous Content.

That number is expected to grow to 250 by the end of 2018, with a goal of 500 placements by 2020.

“As we radically reimagine Hollywood, it is critically important that young people are included in our vision,” said DuVernay, founder of Array Entertainment and EEF co-chair. “Real change happens when we take tangible action — and that means giving young women and people of color opportunities in the industry early on, so they have the chance to shape its future.”

“Rideback is proud to join Mayor Garcetti and EEF to increase diversity in the entertainment industry,” said Lin, CEO of Rideback and an EEF Advisory Committee member. He noted that he came to the U.S. as a Taiwanese immigrant  given his first job through an internship with Lorenzo di Bonaventura.

“After 20 years in the business, it’s time for me to give back,” Lin said. “A more diverse mix of people and stories is essential for the future of our industry. We look forward to working alongside our colleagues to make EEF flourish and to launching new opportunities for young people of all backgrounds to join our industry.”

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