Brand Purpose The Drum Awards The Drum Awards For Social Purpose

How Indeed created 1000 new jobs in Hollywood for underrepresented filmmakers


By Awards Analyst, writer

December 8, 2022 | 7 min read

Indeed won at The Drum Awards for Social Purpose 2022 in the Best Celebrity/Influencer Brand for Good Partnership for its ‘Rising Voices’ campaign. Here, we find out more about what went into this successful work.

Rising Voices

Indeed redirected advertising budget to 10 BIPOC filmmakers

Indeed exists to help people get jobs. And while we know talent is universal, opportunity, especially for people in the film industry—is not. Data shows that BIPOC directors remain critically underrepresented as directors. Rising Voices was born out of the question, what would happen if the production budget that might be used for a national TV spot and instead invested it in 10 BIPOC directors to create short films?

The brief

Lena Waithe is a queer Black Emmy-winning creative powerhouse with her own production company - Hillman Grad - and is currently the creator of multiple series and films. When she first moved to LA, she worked at Blockbuster and then as an executive assistant before earning her first junior writing role. With personal knowledge of the struggle to make it in film, she’s long been an advocate for platforming more diverse voices.

Waithe said "Because Hollywood already trusts me to a certain extent, I’m making it my business to find these artists," she said. "We want to give a platform for people to make cool and interesting art—and not have it go through a white filter."

The idea

Instead of producing a new series of ads or content - Indeed decided to redirect those budgets right to up-and-coming BIPOC filmmakers with unique stories about work. It invested $100,000 in 10 different films helmed by diverse directors and gave them the freedom to create, backed by direct mentorship from Lena and other film industry leaders.

The Indeed team was so passionate about this project and the Rising Voices filmmakers it invested in, that it set ambitious goals for the program. It wanted to develop a combination of funding and mentoring that would support the production, release and media for the 10 films. All while building the Rising Voices program itself as a career kickstarter and launching point for the next generation of diverse voices in Hollywood.

Additionally, diversity in the director’s chair often begets more diverse film crews overall - each film can provide opportunities and jobs to dozens of people “below-the-line” - editors, cinematographers, gaffers, production assistants and more. Indeed hoped Rising Voices would create hundreds of jobs–which is at the center of Indeed’s expertise.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, after empowering and funding these up-and-coming BIPOC directors to make incredible films, we also wanted to support those films through a major release. A prominent festival premiere and distribution will bring an audience to the films that sets the filmmakers up with invaluable connections, prestige, media and award- potential that can truly kickstart a career.

Because mentorship was core to the program and key to ensuring we were creating sustainable pathways to a career, the team also brought on PrettyBird directors, Paul Hunter, Calmatic, Melina Matsoukas, Destin Cretton and Oscar-winning Rayka Zehtabchi as mentors alongside Waithe.

BET Awards - Rising Voices from Indeed on Vimeo.

The results

The 10 Rising Voices films debuted at The Tribeca Festival in NYC in June 2022. The filmmakers launched their work on stage with a panel led by Lena Waithe. After the event, their mentors helped them network and make connections. After the premiere, the films began streaming globally on Amazon Prime. For the first month, for every hour streamed on Fire TV (U.S.) of Rising Voices, Amazon committed to donating $1 to Goodwill Industries International, up to $200,000. This goal was exceeded by 3X. This was just the beginning, as the films have gone on to screen at festivals around the world.

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Rising Voices was written up by more than 20 major entertainment and mainstream publications, most featuring Waithe, with individual films and directors getting countless press hits as well.

Indeed also had each production team report on their hiring - and were blown away to learn together they created over 1,000 jobs - a number that will continue to grow as the Rising Voices alumni move into the next stage of their careers.

This campaign was a winner at The Drum Awards for Social Purpose 2022. You can see all the winners here. The Drum Awards for Marketing are currently open for entry. Find out how you can enter now.

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