Submissions opened October 5th for incentive programs to support and encourage film and TV projects from and including women, people of colour, and the LGBTQ community.

If you watched the 2015 Emmy Awards, you’ll agree that it is getting better for women and diverse talent in the mainstream television industry. But let’s not make this year’s awards a one-off. Let’s make it the general status quo.

Big Vision Empty Wallet, a film and media “incubator,” is launching its new incentive program, Kickstart Diversity, designed to support diversity in storytelling and to make it easier for the work of women, people of colour and LGBT individuals to get produced and distributed.

On October 5th, submissions will open for feature films and series with diverse teams. This means: In order to qualify for the program, the writer, director or producer must be a woman, a person of colour or a member of the LGBTQ community.  That’s very good news for women and minorities who have historically found themselves locked out of the entertainment industry.

Shocking fact: In Hollywood today, only 6 per cent of film directors are women and 18 per cent are people of colour. And remember Matt Damon’s recent attempt to mansplain “diversity” to the successful black female producer, Effie Brown? All that has to change! The Kickstart Diversity program will help by encouraging authentic diversity in storytelling at the independent level.

Big Vision co-founder Dani Faith Leonard said, “Tweeting from your couch isn’t the same as taking measurable action. We have structured the program so that recipients will be seen as better investments at the independent level than they currently are viewed as.”

Selected projects will receive significant discounts from vendors and service providers nationwide to create savings in all stages of production. Plus, BVEW’s production company arm Big Vision Creative will choose several projects per year that come through the Kickstart Diversity to co-produce and/or represent for distribution.

And lesbian projects are very welcome: The first Kickstart Diversity project is the feature film LEZ BOMB, written and directed by Jenna Laurenzo.

The advisory board for BVEW’s Kickstart Diversity incentive program boasts such powerhouses as Alysia Reiner (OITNB), Issa Rae (The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl) and Jacqueline J Gonzalez of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences NY. Community partners include New York Women in Film & Television, Film Fatales, and Alliance of Women Directors.

Founded in 2010 by producer and comedian Dani Faith Leonard and producer Alex Cirillo, Big Vision Empty Wallet is a film and media incubator. They believe you don’t have to sell your soul to be successful, so they create awesome programs that encourage independent creators to get their work made and seen.

Programs include two writers labs annually, distribution labs, and the new Diversity Incentive Program. In 2014, they launched their production company, Big Vision Creative, which specializes in feature films, live events, and audience building.