Documentary filmmaker Abigail Disney is collaborating with Killer Content on a new studio startup venture whose creative roots were put down in the aftermath of the Harvey Weinstein scandal. Abigail is the granddaughter of Roy Disney, co-founder of the Walt Disney Company and brother to Walt Disney. Level Forward will focus on supporting projects by women and people of color, those who have historically been at a disadvantage in the standard operations of Hollywood. Disney explained,
“The best stories are birthed from the authentic experiences of the people who tell them. Level Forward is committed to the vision of unlocking and amplifying storytelling from all corners and perspectives.”
The studio will assume the assets of Killer Content; Killer Content CEO Adrienne Becker is working with Disney to raise finances and assemble Level Forward. Included in the assets is Killer Films, the indie film company ran by Christine Vachon and Pamela Koffle. Also included is Killer Content’s social action division Killer Impact.
Level Forward’s purpose is to help creative partners produce content on a multitude of platforms. It will also partner with the New York Women’s Foundation to develop a philanthropic fund supported by proceeds from Level Forward productions. The fund will give aid to non-profit organizations that support survivors of abuse, discrimination, and harassment.
Disney, Killer Content, and the New York Women’s Foundation were originally brought together in the wake of Harvey Weinstein’s dismissal from the company he co-founded after numerous allegations of sexual misconduct and abuse. Level Forward’s initial conception involved taking the assets of the up-for-grabs Weinstein Co. in a new direction. Although the Weinstein Co. may now be in talks with an investor group led by Maria Contreras-Sweet, the minds behind Level Forward decided to continue developing the idea as a startup venture instead. Adrienne Becker gave insight into Level Forward’s name, saying,
“Today we are ‘Level Forward,’ tomorrow just ‘Forward.’ Until then, we will commit to our industry’s collaborative and ongoing imperative to level the playing field and support the creation of positive go-forward structures.”
According to Variety, Level Forward has been developed as a Public Benefit Corporation “which is similar to a non-profit in that its charter calls for serving the public good, but it allows for ownership by shareholders and for the company to be a profit-making entity.” The studio plans on offering flexible negotiations and pay equity as an incentive to creative partners. It intends to use marketing and outreach campaigns which will support the ideas presented on screen.
Image : By Web Summit (Sportsfile (Web Summit)) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons