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Idris Elba, Angela Bassett and others to help launch new opportunities for diverse first-time filmmakers

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Maarten de Boer/Contour (LOS ANGELES) — ViacomCBS is teaming up with some major star power in an effort to offer more opportunities for people of color and women.

The company has announced that they’ve set up a First Time Directors program that will produce 50 films from BIPOC and women filmmakers for Paramount Network, Comedy Central, MTV and other outlets under the Entertainment and Youth banner.

The program, which aims to tell diverse stories through the lens of diverse storytellers, will pair the filmmakers with A-list executive producers that include Angela Bassett and husband  Courtney B. Vance for their Bassett Vance Productions; Idris Elba as a part of his Green Door Films; Salma Hayekunder her Ventanarosa Productions banner; Priyanka Chopra Jonas for Purple Pebble Pictures; John Leguizamo and his Rebel Productions; and Eva Longoria for her UnbeliEVAble Entertainment company.

“We are thrilled to embark upon this very important journey with ViacomCBS in telling stories that are representative of communities of people who are often missing from the majority landscape of film and television,” said Bassett and Vance in a statement. “It means opening doors for new and fresh voices, both in front of and behind the camera, something that has always been a top priority for us.”

Meanwhile, Elba noted that he was “incredibly proud to join a group of such extraordinary talent and welcome this commitment from ViacomCBS to introduce opportunity into their business model.”

“When I set up Green Door one of my core philosophies was to promote and encourage a diversity of ideas from new voices who might otherwise be shut out of the industry establishment,” Elba declared. “I believe that this is a bold step forward and look forward to working with a new cohort of original storytellers.”

By Candice Williams
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