Free The Bid founder, Alma Har’el, has expanded her efforts for fairness in filmmaking, launching Free The Work, to increase the number of women, trans identifying, non-binary and underrepresented creators involved in all aspects of filmmaking. An estimated 160 ad agencies worldwide are now signed up to Free The Bid in 20 countries, along with an estimated 180+ brands. Let’s hope that Free The Work does as much or more for the TV, film and music industries.
Wieden+Kennedy Portland and Object & Animal’s director, Amber Grace Johnson, have set the new initiative on the path to success with an eye-opening film about overlooked creative voices. Did you know that Mozart had a sister who was equally, if not more, talented?
Free The Work’s talent discovery service is powered by machine learning to promote intelligent, personalised discovery, in an attempt to fight systemic discrimination within industry hiring practices.
Alma Har’el stated, “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.”
Actors and industry leaders, including Emmy award winners, Lena Waithe, Tracee Ellis Ross and Jill Soloway; Oscar nominated actor, Lucas Hedges; 2019 Emmy nominee,, Natasha Lyonne and Oscar nominated DOP, Rachel Morrison; appear on the Free The Work website, 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,” stated 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 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.
Since Har’el launched Free The Bid in 2016, 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 just 18 months. Antonio Lucio has added Free The Work to his bow 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,” he stated.
Har’el’s film, Honey Boy, an autobiography written by and stars Shia LaBeouf while he was in rehab was a standout at this year’s Sundance Festival in January.