Today, Alma Har'el, director of this year’s Sundance winner Honey Boy - written by and starring Shia LaBeouf - is launching FREE THE WORK to increase the number of women, trans identifying, non-binary and underrepresented creators involved in all aspects of film making.
The launch is accompanied by a hard-hitting film, from creative agency Wieden+Kennedy Portland and directed by Amber Grace Johnson through Object & Animal, which takes viewers on a 200-year journey, imploring us to open our eyes to often-overlooked creative voices.
FREE THE WORK's talent discovery service is powered by machine learning to promote intelligent, personalised discovery, in hopes of fighting systemic discrimination within industry hiring practices. The platform represents the next generation of Free The Bid, Har'el’s game-changing nonprofit initiative in the world of advertising.
Actors and industry leaders, including Emmy award winners Lena Waithe, Tracee Ellis Ross, Jill Soloway, Oscar nominated actor Lucas Hedges, 2019 Emmy nominee Natasha Lyonne and Oscar nominated DOP Rachel Morrison, appear on the discovery page
, which provides curated playlists of global talent.
Four of the world’s biggest companies, including Procter & Gamble, AT&T, Facebook and Amazon Studios have joined Har'el as founding partners of FREE THE WORK and will lead its global expansion over the next three years. Additionally, Verizon has signed on as the inaugural guardian patron. FREE THE WORK launches with the support of its allies: The Sundance Institute, The Unstereotype Alliance, and the ANA’s #SeeHer initiative.
“P&G is a proud supporter of Free the Bid,” said Marc Pritchard, P&G chief brand officer. “Now, we are thrilled to be a founding sponsor of FREE THE WORK – because creativity loves diversity!”
Jen Salke, head of Amazon Studios added “FREE THE WORK furthers Amazon Studios commitment to discovering underrepresented voices, championing creative opportunities and improving the lack of inclusivity within our industry.”
FREE THE WORK will allow TV networks, film studios and brands like diversity and inclusion leader AT&T, ranked no.1 on Diversity Inc.’s 2019 list of Top 50 Companies, to track quantifiable results for their diversity efforts across industries with a customised dashboard. Access to the database is free to everyone, with special features like personal accounts, sharing playlists and tracking available via paid membership, similar to Spotify / Spotify Premium and IMDbpro / IMDB.
It will also offer educational tools, facilitate mentorship opportunities and act as a collaborative community platform. Members can connect with each other and work together on issues they care about, such as equal pay.
Alma Har'el, founder of FREE THE WORK, said: “We use services daily to discover new music, movies, and restaurants - it’s time we treat talent-discovery of underrepresented creators with the same level of urgency and innovation. Given the right tools, I know we will open our eyes and reach a renaissance of creativity.”
Free The Bid was founded in September 2016 by Har'el.
The initiative has seen measurable change for Free The Bid's brand and agency partners. Some ad agencies have reported a rise of 35-400% in their bidding and hiring of women directors. Under the leadership of Antonio Lucio in his former role at HP Inc., Free The Bid took pledged supporters from 0% women directors hired to helm their commercial campaigns to 59% women directors in a short period of 18 months. Antonio Lucio now joins forces with FREE THE WORK, coming aboard as a founding member in his role as chief marketing officer of Facebook.
“Facebook is proud to support this game-changing talent discovery service, helping to expand into international markets with talent that reflects the multicultural tapestry of today’s world,” adds Antonio.
An estimated 160 ad agencies worldwide are now signed up to Free The Bid in 20 countries, along with an estimated 180+ brands. FREE THE WORK intends to bring these unprecedented numbers to the TV, film and music industries.