What: A new diversity initiative focused on writers rooms for TV and digital shows.
Who: Paul Feig and his digital production company Powderkeg.
Why we care: Paul Feig has used his success to champion women in comedy, putting them at the center of all of his films, four of which star Melissa McCarthy. Now, the writer-director is helping to spur diversity behind the scenes with a new initiative aimed at putting more people of color in writers rooms.
Break the Room is a collaboration between Feig’s digital production company Powderkeg and writer-producer Sameer Gardezi, bringing diverse voices together with “community thought leaders” for a week-long writers retreat. The resulting digital series are meant to give a flavor of a community through the lens of some underrepresented groups who populate it. Break the Room has already enacted two of these retreats–one in Los Angeles and one in Albuquerque–with another set to follow soon in Portland. The Los Angeles room ultimately produced a series called East of La Brea, about two working-class Muslim women in L.A., which is set to premiere at SXSW next month.
According to Deadline, Powderkeg has further diversity initiatives in the works, including a feature film contest with Issa Rae’s Color Creative and the female directors program Powderkeg: Fuse. Hopefully, other production companies are watching and taking notes.