American Horror Story creator Ryan Murphy has formed a charitable foundation called Half, which is aimed at creating jobs for female, gay, and non-white filmmakers in the film and television industry.
Murphy has committed to making sure half of the directors for his productions, which include American Horror Story, American Crime Story, and Scream Queens, are female, non-white, and/or members of the LBGTQ community by the end of 2016, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The foundation will also create a database of filmmakers from underrepresented communities to share with likeminded producers.
“I personally can do better,” Murphy said. “[Former publicist] Nanci [Ryder] said, ‘People in power, you have a position and responsibility to change the industry,’ and I thought, ‘She’s right.'”
Murphy initially planned to focus solely on female directors, who represented 16 percent of TV directors during the 2014-2015 season, according to the Director’s Guild Association, but expanded the purview of the organization to include all minority groups, which make up 18 percent of the same group.
Half will also feature a mentorship program for female and minority film school students. The program will connect young filmmakers with mentors from Ryan Murphy Productions, while helping candidates internships and shadowing opportunities in Hollywood. Half will start recruiting the first set of mentorship candidates at AFI, UCLA, and USC, with plans to start a national search later this year.
“Ryan has always been a leader, whether he was creating new models of storytelling, or setting new standards of inclusion when it came to his characters and casts,” said Fox co-chairman Dana Waldman. “Rather than pay lip service to what we all agree is an important goal for this industry — creating equal opportunity for women and minorities behind the camera — he’s actually committing the resources of his company and setting clear targets to help make a real difference.”
For now, Murphy is searching for a partner to co-manage Half.