August 23, 2023
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Best Entertainment Networking Groups for BIPOC Filmmakers

Shaudi Bianca Vahdat
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It’s no secret that the film industry is built on relationships. Your social and professional network is the key to finding your next opportunity.

For BIPOC people who are traditionally underrepresented in film and TV, this can make an already challenging industry even tougher to navigate. 

That’s where networking and resource groups for BIPOC filmmakers come in. These organizations provide everything from community and mentorship to education and grant opportunities. They play an important role in the development and visibility of BIPOC artists.

About this list

On this list, you’ll find groups for emerging as well as for more established filmmakers. Diverse industry roles, from writers to agents to actors to crew, are represented here. Some groups require a fee to join, but many offer free resources. You’ll find opportunities for more casual engagement like connecting with peers in a safe online space. You will also find more hands-on support like multi-week in-person workshops.

While some of these organizations serve specific communities, others are open to BIPOC artists more broadly. Many focus specifically on women and nonbinary/gender nonconforming people. 

Some of these organizations provide directories, cultural and DEI consulting, or volunteer and donation opportunities that are open to everyone. For this article, though, we're going to focus on the resources they provide for the BIPOC communities they were formed to serve. 

Please note that the following organizations are listed in alphabetical order. Membership and cost information is accurate as of August 2023. Membership fees are annual unless otherwise indicated. 

Barcid Foundation

Since 2004, The Barcid Foundation has provided educational opportunities and resources to Native American filmmakers through the Native American Media Alliance.  

According to the Foundation’s website, 

“Barcid has supported numerous Native Americans, more than doubling the number of indigenous representation in the Writers Guild of America [since 2020].”

The Native American Media Alliance, which boasts the likes of Netflix and Comcast as sponsors, hosts several programs. These include the Native American TV Writers Lab, the Native American Writers Seminar, the Native American Showrunner Program, the Native American Animation Lab, and the Native American Unscripted Workshop for those who work on documentaries.

Some of these are intended for more seasoned creators. Others are open to emerging professionals. These programs open applications on a rolling basis, so follow their Instagram for updates.   

The Native American Media Alliance also offers the Native Writes List. For a tiered monthly or annual fee, you can host your TV or film scripts on the Native Writes site. Industry insiders from production companies ITV Studios America, Gunpowder & Sky and Westward Productions will then read and offer feedback on your scripts. 

Barcid also sponsors The Los Angeles Skins Festival (LA SKINS FEST), the largest Native American film festival in the United States. Held over three weeks every November at the historic Chinese Theater in Los Angeles, the Festival screens over seventy Native American movies. Special events are held for writers, actors, and youth interested in film. 

To get involved with LA SKINS FEST, you can submit your film, documentary, or short film for consideration. You can also keep an eye on their website for news on attending the Festival. 

Who can join 

Varies across programs, but generally you must be a Native American/First Nation/Indigenous artist. You’ll be asked to share your tribal affiliation. 

Cost

Again, it varies. A Native Writes Script Subscription starts at $30 per month. For other programs, there are application fees with discounts for applying early. 

Black Association of Documentary Filmmakers West

The Black Association of Documentary Filmmakers West, or BADWest, offers tons of events, resources, and educational opportunities. 

“[BADWest] champions and further advances the art of Black documentary filmmakers across the Diaspora.”

Their biggest annual event is the Day of Black Docs. Held at the American Film Institute, the event includes short and feature-length documentaries and filmmaker Q&As. Tickets are open to the public. You can submit your documentary for the next Day of Black Docs by emailing a link to badwestla2@gmail.com

BADWest also hosts educational workshops throughout the year, most open to both members and non-members. Free “4th Monday” Community Documentary Screenings include Q&As with directors. 

Recent events outside the Day of Black Docs have been Zoom-based, so you don’t need to live in Southern California, where BadWest is based, to get involved. 

Members-only benefits include a membership directory listing, exclusive industry announcements, discounted events, and access to templates for film budgets, treatments, and proposals. 

There’s also a members-only monthly Zoom meeting with rotating industry leaders and experts. 

Who can join 

Membership is open to people of African descent working in the documentary community. There’s no geographical limitation for membership, but the organization does explicitly focus on issues affecting Southern California documentary filmmakers. 

Cost 

Standard membership is $45. Small discounts are available for group memberships. 

Black Film Allegiance

The Black Film Allegiance is a nonprofit dedicated to “building visibility for underrepresented creatives.” The LA-based organization provides completely free resources for Black filmmakers of various disciplines and experience levels. 

Anyone can search or join the organization’s Black Filmmaker Directory, an international list of professionals across roles, from sound mixers to screenwriters. To join the list, you’ll need to fill out a short form, including links to samples of your work. 

The organization will review your submission and contact you when you’ve been added.

Best Entertainment Networking Groups for People of Color - Wrapbook - Directory
The Black Film Allegiance’s Black Filmmaker Directory. SOURCE

If you’re looking for educational resources, The Black Film Allegiance provides free podcasts and videos accessible to all. Their podcast series “Diaspora Table Talks” covers interviews with cross-disciplinary creators from around the world. These include two-time Emmy-nominated filmmaker Rolake Bamgbose Whitaker

Their video series is made up of bite-sized roundtable discussions on relevant topics like “Do Black Filmmakers Get Second Chances?” and “Is Film School Worth It?” 

Finally, anyone can join the mailing list. Through the list, you’ll be kept in the loop on job openings as well as festival and competition deadlines. The mailing list also provides opportunities to exchange resources with other filmmakers. 

Who can join 

Joining the Directory is open to Black filmmakers. There are no restrictions on accessing the other resources. 

Cost 

Free.

Black Film Space

Founded in New York in 2015 by two Black filmmakers, Black Film Space is a nonprofit that supports independent Black film and media makers around the world. 

Black Film Space’s mission:

“... Is to provide skill-enhancing opportunities, community building experiences and knowledge on navigating the film industry for people of African descent.” 

Their events are mostly held virtually, in LA, or in New York. There are occasional live events in other cities as well. Non-members will pay a small fee for events, typically between $5-$15. Attendance is free for members.

Events include film screenings, panels, professional development workshops, and networking mixers. Recent events hosted by Black Film Space include an LA Queer Community Screening & Panel, a virtual Screenwriting Workshop, and an annual Summer Mixer in Brooklyn.

Best Entertainment Networking Groups for People of Color - Wrapbook - Retreat
A past Black Film Space screenwriting retreat, incorporating “workshops, casual dinners, yoga, and group walks.” SOURCE

They also host multi-week programs. Upcoming programs include an eight-week pilot course and a screenwriting retreat. Sign up for their email list at their website to be kept in the loop. Black Film Space offers grant opportunities to qualifying filmmakers as well. 

Member benefits include free applications to grants and programs, free or discounted entrance to many events, access to a member directory, and more. 

Who can join

“People of African descent in the film industry.” 

Cost

Membership is $75. 

The Black TV & Film Collective 

The Black TV & Film Collective is a nonprofit organization that was born in Brooklyn in 2015. What started as a small circle of friends supporting one another’s work has grown into a group of over 1,300 members around the world. 

The Collective hosts public events that include panels, screenings, table reads of new work, and workshops. Their public offerings include a mix of in-person and online events.  While ‌in-person events are held in many cities, they mostly stick to New York and Los Angeles.

Other free resources include a directory of community resources, training programs, and data and analysis on the representation of Black people in Hollywood. 

Of particular note on the list of free resources is Charity’s List. If you are a Black person interested in being hired in a writer’s room as support staff, you can fill out a short form to be added to the public directory. 

Members-only events include educational and professional development opportunities. Writers Rooms, which are held both virtually and in-person, are a monthly members writing group. 

The Collective also offers members time with experienced industry mentors, a speakers series, and networking events. You’ll also be added to the Member Directory, which you can use to both hire and get hired. 

Who can join

While there don’t appear to be specific guidelines on who can become a member, BTFC was created to serve Black and brown content creators and professionals. 

Cost

Membership is $19.99 a month or $199 a year. 

The Blackhouse Foundation

The Blackhouse Foundation was formed in 2006 by three friends who wanted to see more Black representation in films and audiences at major film festivals. Since then, they’ve had a consistent presence at film festivals around the world. They also host about seven events each year in New York and LA.

Best Entertainment Networking Groups for People of Color - Wrapbook - Blackhouse
Artists featured in The Blackhouse pop-up Portrait Studio at Sundance. SOURCE 

Their longest festival relationship is with Sundance where they hold panels and community events each year. 

To get involved, follow them on Instagram or sign up for their newsletter for details on upcoming events. 

Who can join

There don’t appear to be specific guidelines on who can attend The Blackhouse Foundation’s events, but the organization was created to serve Black filmmakers and audiences. 

Cost

Follow their social media or sign up for their newsletter for information on event costs. 

Black Women Film Network

The Black Women Film Network (BWFN) was founded in 1997 as the Black Women Film Preservation Project.  Its current mission statement is:

“To empower women of color to ‘tell the untold stories’ through feature films, documentaries, television, and digital media.”

The nonprofit hosts networking mixers, interviews with experts, and conferences. Their biggest annual events are the Annual BWFN Short Film Festival and the BWFN Summit. 

Both of these are held in Atlanta. BWFN occasionally hosts events in other US cities like New York. For example, a recent mixer in Brooklyn featured Emmy-winning WABC-TV reporter Darla Miles as a special guest. 

BWFN also offers a scholarship to U.S.-based women of color who are college students pursuing a career in film and TV. 

Follow their Instagram for the latest events and for information on when submissions open for the next Short Film Festival and scholarship cycle. 

Most of their events are open to the public, but you can also join as a member. You can email blackwomenfilm@gmail.com for details on the benefits of membership. 

Who can join

“Membership is open to persons of all races, cultures and creeds.” 

Cost

Basic membership is $50 and Corporate membership is $500. 

Brown Girls Doc Mafia

Brown Girls Doc Mafia (BGDM) serves BIPOC women and non-binary people working in the documentary film industry. 

According to the nonprofit’s website, 

“BGDM is a global, multilingual and multiracial network of BIPOC women and non-binary filmmakers and industry professionals ranging from veterans to emerging professionals.” 

Membership is free. To apply, you’ll fill out an online application.

Members can create a profile on the Member Directory and access exclusive job listings from the industry.

Best Entertainment Networking Groups for People of Color - Wrapbook - BGDC
A Brown Girls Doc Mafia event. SOURCE 

BGDC also provides artist support through programs like their Black Directors Fellowship, Sustainable Artist Fellowship, and access to peer and expert mentorship. Their Festival Access & Visibility Initiative supports members in attending film festivals and industry conferences. 

Information on application cycles for these and other programs is shared with members through monthly member newsletters and through a private online community platform called Mighty Networks. 

Who can join

Those who self-identify as BIPOC women, gender nonconforming/non-binary, and/or trans individuals. You also need to self-identify as “a professional documentary filmmaker or an industry stakeholder, or be seeking a career in the documentary field.” 

Cost

Free.

Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment

Since its founding in 1991, the Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment (CAPE) has been supporting Asian American and Pacific Islander representation in the entertainment industry. Programs include the Emerging Executives Committee (in partnership with NBCUniversal), the CAPE New Writers Fellowship, and the Leaders Fellowship.

According to their site:

“Alumni of the CAPE New Writers Fellowship have been staffed on every broadcast network, major streamer, and premium cable channel.” 

They also host the Julia S. Gouw Short Film Challenge, which is open to API women and non-binary filmmakers. 

For updates on application cycles, follow their Instagram page, which also posts casting calls and industry news. 

Who can join

The organization supports Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the entertainment industry. Note that CAPE currently only hosts in-person events in the LA area.  

Cost

Contact CAPE or follow on social media for information on application fees and program costs.  

Diverse Representation

Diverse Representation launched in 2021, sponsored by Color of Change. The organization's mission is:

“To increase the hiring and exposure of Black agents, attorneys, managers, publicists, financial advisors and executives in the sports and entertainment industries.” 

Diverse Representation’s job board is free for job seekers (employers pay a posting fee). Recent job posts include gigs from major industry employers like Warner Brothers Discovery, Sony, and MGM. 

The organization held their inaugural Diverse Representation Week in LA in August 2023. The event included programs, networking opportunities, expert panels, and screenings. 

Other past entertainment-focused events include a panel and reception at the 2022 American Black Film Festival in Miami (in partnership with Warner Brothers Discovery) and a panel titled “How to Survive as a Black Woman in the Entertainment Industry” held in New York. 

Join their mailing list for updates on upcoming events. 

Who can join

African-American sports and entertainment agents, attorneys, managers, publicists, and financial advisors. 

Cost

Free. 

Hue You Know

Started in 2017 by production executive Bree Frank, Hue You Know is a group of over 20,000 members who:

“[B]uild community, provide mentorship, and foster employment opportunities for BIPOC media professionals.” 

Their membership includes “Executive Producers, CO-EP's, a lawyer, Accountants, Directors, Producers, CEO's, VP's, Artists, and many more” across multiple media mediums and genres. Members are international and multiracial. 

The group currently exists as a private Facebook group. To request to join, you’ll answer a few questions, and the Hue You Know team will either accept or deny your request. Once accepted, you’ll have access to the group. Members post jobs, answer questions, and provide support to one another through the Facebook group. 

Part of what sets Hue You Know apart from other similar groups is their partnerships. Partners include Staff Me Up, the popular network for production jobs. 

Who can join

BIPOC people in the media. 

Cost

Free. 

LA LISTA 

In 2015, writer and producer Diana Mendez held the first “Latina TV Writers Brunch Group” in One Day at a Time co-showrunner Gloria Calderón Kellett’s backyard. Over the years, the group, which was co-founded by writer/producer Judalina Neira, developed into LA LISTA. 

LA LISTA is:

“... A volunteer-run group that mentors and amplifies working Latina and Latina-identifying TV and feature scribes from Staff Writers to Executive Producers.”
Best Entertainment Networking Groups for People of Color - Wrapbook - LA LISTA
All smiles at a LA LISTA summer meet-up event. SOURCE 

The group maintains a list of Latina writers who are members of the WGA. Potential employers can search this list by name, by genre, or by role when seeking staff. 

If you’d like to be added to the list, there’s a short form to fill out. To be eligible, you’ll need at least one writing credit from a TV show (network, cable, or streaming). 

The group also hosts social events, like meet-ups and holiday parties, for folks on the list. 

Who can join

Latina and Latina-identifying TV and feature writers with at least one credit from a TV show (network, cable, or streaming). 

Cost

Free. 

Sisters in Cinema

Sisters in Cinema is a Chicago-based nonprofit: 

“... With an inclusive mission to center and celebrate Black girls, women, and gender nonconforming media makers, providing programs designed to educate, raise visibility, and support and serve our communities.” 

Founded in 1997, the organization hosts regular events, mostly in-person in Chicago. Their free social events include The Sister Social and Sister Outsider, a group walking event. They also host regular screenings, which are free and open to the public. 

Sisters in Cinema professional development programs and resources include a Documentary Fellowship and The Black Lesbian Writers Room, an intergenerational apprenticeship program for Black women ages 17-63.  

Keep an eye on their website and Instagram for program application openings and upcoming events. 

Who can join

Black girls, women, and gender nonconforming media makers. Most in-person events are in Chicago. 

Cost

Social events are free. Other programs vary. 

Women in Film’s Black Member Forum

Women in Film  (WIF) is an organization founded in 1973 (as Women In Film Los Angeles) that:

“... Advocates for and advances the careers of women working in the screen industries—in front of and behind the camera, across all levels of experience—to achieve parity and transform culture.” 

In 2020, WIF established its Black Member Forum to support Black creatives in the WIF community. In addition to the many resources and events provided by WIF, members of the Black Member Forum can attend Forum-only events. 

Past events include a conversation with Black Women Animate’s Taylor K. Shaw, a virtual session on becoming a cinematographer with Michelle Clementine, and online networking mixers. 

Wider WIF benefits include discounts on products like IMDbpro, invitations to apply for career programs, and free admission to WIF speaker series, panel discussions, and screenings. We’ve highlighted WIF’s networking events on the blog before. 

Who can join 

WIF members who identify as Black. 

Cost

Membership for WIF starts at $65. Free for full time undergraduate and graduate students working toward a degree in media arts with proof of enrollment.

Women of Color Unite

Women of Color Unite (WOCU) is a free to join, all-volunteer group with over 6,000 members. According to their website, they are:

“... A social action non-profit organization focusing on fair access, fair treatment and fair pay for women of color in all aspects of the entertainment and media industries.” 

As a part of its programming, WOCU maintains The JTC List

“An extensive, searchable database of women of color who work in the film industry, both in Los Angeles and around the world. It’s referenced by studios and production companies to help guide hiring for both above and below the line positions, and make sure that every set is inclusive.” 

To join the list, you’ll fill out a survey with a few questions about your identity and your work. Industry members with any level of experience can apply to join.

Best Entertainment Networking Groups for People of Color - Wrapbook - WOCU
A moment from the 2022 WOCU-hosted Female Empowerment Panel on the topic of “Sizeism and Fatphobia in Hollywood” in collaboration with Jameela Jamil’s I Weigh. SOURCE

WOCU organizes regular in-person networking, educational, and professional development opportunities for its members, including quarterly topical panels in collaboration with SoHo House. These events are always free for members. 

Who can join

Women and non-binary people of color working in the entertainment industry.

Cost

Free. 

Writers Guild of America West’s Committee of Black Writers

The Writers Guild of America West’s Committee of Black Writers is a group: 

“... Dedicated to empowering and increasing industry visibility of African-American writers and generating more career and networking opportunities within the Guild.” 

To get involved with the Committee, you can ask to join their private Facebook group. The group was created in 2008 and currently has a little over 500 members. The group is for sharing information and asking questions related to WGAW diversity committees. Its membership is limited to members of WGAW. 

Who can join

Members of WGAW who identify as Black or African-American.

Cost

Free.

Wrapping up

We hope you’ve found an organization (or two!) on this list that you find helpful.

Before your first event, read our guide to networking in the film industry. You’ll find tips on how to prepare, stay cool in the moment, and follow up effectively afterward. 

You’ve found some great communities to connect with. Now go forth and network!

Disclaimer

At Wrapbook, we pride ourselves on providing outstanding free resources to producers and their crews, but this post is for informational purposes only as of the date above. The content on our website is not intended to provide and should not be relied on for legal, accounting, or tax advice.  You should consult with your own legal, accounting, or tax advisors to determine how this general information may apply to your specific circumstances.

About the author
Shaudi Bianca Vahdat

Shaudi is a Seattle-based musician, theatre artist, writer and social media marketing specialist. She holds degrees from Berklee College of Music and the University of Washington School of Drama.

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