Issa Rae and Columbia Pictures Sign Multi-Picture Production Deal Promoting Diverse Screenwriters

(PHOTO BY PETER YANG)

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

According to deadline.com, creator/writer/actor Issa Rae, via her production company ColorCreative, has signed a multi-picture production deal with Columbia Pictures. ColorCreative will work primarily with and support projects from emerging, diverse screenwriters.

Globally successful, profitable films such as “Black Panther” and “Crazy Rich Asians” have demonstrated the commercial appeal of movies with leads of color and from their perspective, but so far movies like these remain the exception, not the rule. A recent study from USC  stated that only 29.3% of characters in the 100 top grossing movies of 2017 were from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups.

Selected participants, to be announced in spring 2019, will work with Rae and Columbia to develop and write features based on their original ideas.

“Issa is a force of nature, and a magnet for talented people,” said Sanford Panitch, president of Columbia Pictures, in a statement. “We couldn’t be more excited to join her in her mission to pave the way for fresh and authentic voices.”

Bryan Smiley, VP of production at Columbia Pictures, oversaw the deal and will oversee production and development with ColorCreative for the motion picture group. Sara Rastogi, VP of production for ColorCreative, will also help guide the deal for the company along with Deniese Davis, COO of ColorCreative.

“Working with Bryan Smiley and Columbia Pictures to further the mission ColorCreative set out to achieve four years ago in creating access for underrepresented writers, has been a dream come true,” Rae said in a statement. “All of the projects we are working on are fresh and promising and we can’t wait to continue the work. We hope to set a precedent and inspire the industry at large to invest in undiscovered talent, original IP, and fresh stories and perspectives.”

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