Netflix released three short films directed by up-and-coming Black female directors, on Saturday as they released three award-winning short films in the honor of Juneteenth.
The films were released on Netflix’s Film Club YouTube channel one day before the federal holiday celebrated on June 19 commemorating the end of slavery in the United States of America.
The films mark Netflix’s collaboration with the Ghetto Film school and the former’s $5 million commitment to support the Black creative community.
The films Silence of Friends, The Divinity Streak, and Day into Knight, have been made by student filmmakers and the school’s alumni.
As per Netflix’s statement, the collaboration kicked-off in 2020 when Ghetto Film School alumni were invited to submit 5-10 minute original short-form fiction or nonfiction projects exploring topics of Black identity and lived experiences in the U.S.
Of the 10 short-listed concepts three were selected and the creators asked to develop formal pitches with a production budget award of $25,000 each.
The three films which were selected include Silence of Friends by a second-year student Nia Stanford, The Divinity Streak by Jess Waters’ and Sarah Jean Williams’ Day into Knight.
Silence of Friends is the story of a Black woman, who is sent back to her hometown due to the COVID-19 outbreak and “is confronted by her lifelong conditioning in a white society and begins the journey to challenge it.”
Jess Waters’ The Divinity Streak is “the re-imagining of history to create both grounded and fantastical explorations of Black and LGBTQIA+ identity.” As per the statement, “After a summer of hard-fought progress in the wake of a nationwide racial awakening, three activists plan to hijack a space shuttle and go to Mars to create a better world.”
Writer, actor, director Sarah Jean Williams’ Day into Knight is about a Black female high school graduate,who confronts her childhood dealings with racism – and her mom’s important advice – as she delivers her valedictorian speech.
For the project, Ghetto Film School along with Film Independent Project Involve, Firelight Media and Black Public Media, were given $1.5 million as a step to create opportunities for Black creators, reported Shadow and Cat.
Additionally, Netflix released its first Inclusivity Report in January, that offered a peek into the workforce diversity and trends since 2017, when the idea was first conceived.
Calling it the “inclusion lens”, the report stated that certain steps towards representation go beyond the screen.
These include recruiting from the under-represented communities such as members of the Latino community, veteran employees, and Hispanics. The report added that it would look into hiring more women in the higher ranks and would create accessibility, provide equitable pay and inclusive benefits across genders, and help built support networks.