It’s been two years since the #OscarsSoWhite campaign helped to—incrementally—push forward the conversation about the lack of diversity on display at the Academy Awards, both in terms of the films being considered, and the people voting on how to hand them out. Originally created by April Reign, the campaign’s ongoing pressure helped convince the Academy to invite hundreds of younger, more diverse voices to join the voting body over the last couple of years, a move that presumably contributed, at least in part, to a film like Get Out being nominated for Best Picture at this year’s competition. (Even if there are still plenty of issues to address, as highlighted by a protest today by the National Hispanic Media Coalition in L.A., or a recent Hollywood Reporter piece in which an anonymous older voter dismissed Jordan Peele’s horror-satire hit with a comment about the “race card.”)
Now, Reign is taking another step to help build increased representation in the industry, launching a new site called Akuarel this week. Reign is describing the site as a free “centralized directory in which those who work on both sides of the camera or curtain and those who hold a pen, a computer, or a microphone can self-identify in the same #OscarsSoWhite categories: race, sexual orientation, disability, etc. Subscribers (studios, networks, theater companies, and media outlets) can then search by a cross-section of these categories and other criteria and reach talented candidates directly for an interview or audition.”
According to her Twitter, Reign has already partnered with CBS, Comcast, and the A&E Networks in order to build support for the site, as it launches ahead of this year’s Academy Awards.