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Her Production Company ColorCreative Has Big Plans

Issa Rae is making sure Hollywood’s recent pull for diversity isn’t some here today, gone tomorrow trend.

According to Variety, Issa’s production company, ColorCreative, has signed a multi-picture production deal with Columbia Pictures. The deal is special because it’ll allow ColorCreative to work with and back projects from diverse emerging screenwriters.

Though films like Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians are making a splash in Hollywood, a recent USC study shows that only 29.3% of characters in the 100 top grossing movies of 2017 were from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups.

So clearly, there’s room for improvement, and not just in front of the camera, but behind the camera as well. A select group of writers will be announced in the spring of 2019 to work with Rae and her studio 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. “We couldn’t be more excited to join her in her mission to pave the way for fresh and authentic voices.”

Columbia, which is owned by Sony, has backed various projects with women of color leads, including the upcoming Miss Bala, an action film with a cast and crew that is 95% Latinx. They’re also preparing for the release of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, the animated film based on the Black Spider-Man Miles Morales voiced by Shameik Moore. 

Rae is most known for creating, co-writing and starring in the HBO series Insecure. The VP of production at Columbia Pictures, Bryan Smiley, helped shepherd in the deal with Issa and he will oversee production and development with ColorCreative.

In a statement about her Columbia deal, Issa said, “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. 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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