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21CF donates $100,000 to flood relief efforts in Louisiana, FOX stars rally public support

Louisiana disaster relief graphic.jpg

Louisiana has been an important production hub for 21st Century Fox and the film and television industry as a whole, which is why the company saw an urgent need to respond to the damage and casualties caused by the unprecedented rains there last week. Today, 21CF is donating $100,000 to help the disaster relief efforts in the affected communities, where our production teams have lived and worked.

The donation will be directed to the Louisiana Association of United Ways' (LAUW) Flood Fund, which has been set up to distribute flood relief donations to six local United Way member organizations operating across the region. The LAUW determines which local chapters have the greatest need and is particularly focused on the post-emergency recovery work to come.

Two of Ryan Murphy's shows, FX Networks' American Horror Story and FOX's Scream Queens, have filmed in Louisiana, as will the upcoming Katrina: American Crime Story.

"After shooting two series in New Orleans, I feel particularly connected to the state of Louisiana and the wonderful and talented people I've met there," Ryan said. "We want everyone affected by these devastating floods to know that we see you and that help is on the way."

Scream Queens cast members, including Jamie Lee Curtis and Emma Roberts, joined the cause by calling on viewers to help the relief efforts:

The severe flooding in Louisiana has caused at least 13 deaths and damaged approximately 60,000 homes, and the state reports that about 102,000 survivors have registered to receive federal aid from FEMA. The American Red Cross estimates that the response will cost $30 million or more.

"More than 100,000 families throughout south Louisiana are working through the shock of the unnamed storm that flooded our state, while they clean up and come to terms with their devastating losses," said Sarah Berthelot, president and CEO of the LAUW. "Louisiana United Ways are coordinating efforts to help meet the unmet needs of families and their communities, now and in the future. The Louisiana Association of United Ways is grateful for the generosity and partnership of 21st Century Fox during our tremendous time of need in Louisiana."

Over the years, 21CF's film and television studios have had a number of productions in Louisiana, most recently 20th Century Fox Film's Fantastic Four and upcoming X-Men movie featuring Wolverine.

To donate, go to the LAUW's website or text "HELPLA" to 313131.

Corporate, Fox Filmed Entertainment, Fox Networks Group (incl. FOX, Cable, Sports, etc.), Sports & Wellbeing, Sustainability

Vancouver Film Festival to honor 'X-Files' creator Chris Carter for achievements in environmentally sustainable production


From its first episode in 1993, The X-Files built a legacy as one of TV's most ambitious dramas, and the series and its creator are now being honored for their ambitions behind the scenes, as well.

The Vancouver International Film Festival (VIFF) announced on August 24 that it will present Chris Carter, creator and showrunner of The X-Files, with its Industry Builder Award for his efforts to make the production of this year's X-Files event series as environmentally sustainable as possible. The production team's work behind the scenes led to major cost and carbon emission savings and promoted innovative new ways to recycle set materials. Carter will accept the award at a VIFF luncheon on October 7.

"The VIFF Industry Builder Award recognizes a key contributor to British Columbia's creative industries," VIFF said. "With a growing focus on sustainability in production and content creation across the industry, this year's award is proudly presented to Chris Carter for his exemplary sustainable production of the X-Files."

Efforts to green the production of The X-Files event series began even before shooting began in summer 2015. 21st Century Fox worked with the production team to share best practices from previous green shoots, such as 24: Live Another Day, and hired a dedicated green production consultant to help each department conserve materials and keep energy use down.

Thanks to these efforts, the production managed to divert more than 81% of its total waste from landfill, recycle 100% of the aluminum and steel used in set construction, use only lauan plywood certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), replace plastic water bottles with refillable ones, avoiding the use of 45,760 plastic bottles, and recycle more than 35 tons of "dirty" Styrofoam used for set construction, breaking new ground for the industry as a whole.

These achievements were a high water mark for the series, which has demonstrated its commitment to sustainability in the past. The previous entry in the franchise, the 2008 feature The X-Files: I Want to Believe, was one of the first films to go into production following the launch of 21CF's corporate sustainability program in 2007, and it was among the first to implement the green production practices that Fox helped pioneer, such as prioritizing alternative fuels and recycling materials used on set.

"When I first started working in the business, we would just take sets and throw them away," said series creator Chris Carter in an interview on green production for the movie's DVD release. "That's changing. There is a new directive, and I think Fox is at the forefront of that directive, using recycled materials whenever possible, recycling what you do use, and looking at it as a total approach. I was very excited about that."

At the Vancouver Film Festival, Carter will also host the Sustainable Production Forum, a daylong conference featuring production executives from across the industry, as well as representatives from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts and the World Bank. The event comes as part of VIFF's Impact program, a screening series dedicated to socially relevant documentaries.

Read our detailed case study on The X-Files' green production practices and view the video below. The Vancouver Film Festival will run from September 29 until October 14.

Corporate, Fox Networks Group (incl. FOX, Cable, Sports, etc.), Sustainability, Twentieth Century Fox Television

Fox Global Directors Initiative announces 16 new Fox Director Fellows to cultivate directors with diverse voices and backgrounds


In its ongoing endeavor to develop directors with diverse voices, backgrounds, life experiences and perspectives, Fox Audience Strategy has begun it second annual Fox Global Directors Initiative (FDI). The directors who have been named Fox Director Fellows will participate in comedy or drama apprenticeship programs and be pitched for directorial opportunities across Fox entertainment programs.

The 16 Fellows were selected after advancing through the Fox Directors Lab, an intensive three-week platform that started in July and was led by a rotation of Fox programming mentors, directors and showrunners. Nine of them will join the Comedy Apprenticeship Program (CAP) and seven will join the Drama Apprenticeship Program (DAP).

The CAP, which was created by Jason Winer, producing director of Twentieth Century Fox Television's show Life in Pieces, will give its nine Fellows the opportunity to shadow Modern Family (produced by Twentieth Century Fox Television) and Life in Pieces. Meanwhile, the seven Fellows in the DAP will shadow directors from Empire, Rosewood, Pitch, Homeland (produced by Fox 21) and several of FX Networks' shows.

"I set out to start a program like CAP, not just to form new relationships with a diverse group of young directors, but also to immerse them specifically in the shooting style and creative culture of two well-run shows," said Jason. "What I discovered in the process was that Fox had, through FDI, assembled a group that was not only wildly talented, but truly ready to take the next step."

Terence Carter, Executive Vice President, Drama Programming & Development, FOX Broadcasting Company added: "Empire, Pitch and Rosewood are all known for their diverse talent in front of and behind the camera so it was a natural fit for these shows to host Fox Director Fellows."

Eighteen of the 20 participants in the inaugural FDI class have been selected for shadowing opportunities across Fox's broadcast and cable entries.


Corporate, Creativity & The Arts, Diversity, Fox Filmed Entertainment, Fox Networks Group (incl. FOX, Cable, Sports, etc.), Fox Television Studios, Twentieth Century Fox Television

National Geographic celebrates National Park Service Centennial with exclusive interview with President Obama, new photography book, and more

Photo by Ryan Sheets for National Geographic Channels

August 25 marks the 100th anniversary of the founding of the U.S. National Parks Service, and National Geographic is celebrating by offering audiences multiple ways to discover the parks and learn how to preserve them for future generations.

The push comes as part of National Geographic's Power of Parks initiative, a year-long campaign launched in January to commemorate the Parks Service Centennial. The program engages each of National Geographic's media platforms, including television, publishing outlets, and social media, and includes an Explore the Power of Parks web portal featuring the latest magazine stories and photos, travel guides, maps, and educational resources. In the week leading up to the August 25 anniversary, National Geographic has unveiled a special programming slate, featuring a range of new content on TV, in print, and online.

The newest issue of National Geographic magazine features the story of two journalists' attempt to hike the length of the Grand Canyon and reveal the commercial interests threatening the park. National Geographic is also highlighting twenty young people making a difference at national parks around the world, as well as photographer Jonathan Irish's "59 Parks in 52 Weeks" series. In addition, David Quammen's new book, Yellowstone: A Journey Through America's Wild Heart, published by National Geographic Books, went on sale August 23.

On television, National Geographic Channels will broadcast an exclusive interview with President Barack Obama, airing in two parts on August 23 and August 24 at 9:00PM ET. President Obama's interview was recorded with Explorer host Richard Bacon during his June 18 visit to Yosemite National Park. During the visit, National Geographic teamed up with the White House, Facebook and its Oculus team, and Felix & Paul Studios to create the world's first virtual reality video ever made with a sitting president. The video will be available on August 25.

President Obama's conversation with Bacon spanned a range of subjects, including climate change, conservation and the cultural value of the national parks, which Obama describes as "America's best idea."

"I think that the way a place like this imprints itself in you, especially when you're young, and carries on for the rest of your life, is remarkable," Obama said. "I do believe that when we get kids, families, out in open spaces, it changes them. It roots you. It gives you a sense that there's something bigger and grander than you. It gives you a sense of order."

21st Century Fox expanded its partnership with the National Geographic Society last fall, with 27% of all proceeds going toward the Society's scientific pursuits.

For more information on the National Parks Service Centennial, visit NationalGeographic.com.

Knowledge & Exploration, National Geographic Channel, Sustainability

National Geographic celebrates World Lion Day with spotlight on leading Big Cats researchers

Photo courtesy Ewaso Lions

National Geographic joined with the rest of the global community in commemorating World Lion Day on August 10, taking the opportunity to highlight some of its many efforts to protect big cat populations around the world.

Since 2009, the National Geographic Society has increasingly focused on supporting conservationists, researchers, and storytellers working to protect populations of lions, tigers, cheetahs, and more through its Big Cats Initiative. The program backs explorers working on the ground primarily in Africa and Asia through grants and broad media support, including yearly PSAs on the National Geographic Channels. 21st Century Fox, which helped launch the channels in 2001, recently expanded its partnership with the Society to bring together all of National Geographic's media properties, with 27% of all proceeds benefiting the Society's grant-making pursuits.

Society President and CEO Gary Knell marked the occasion with a Medium essay featuring an in-depth look at the work of some of the Society's leading female researchers focusing on big cats, including Thandiwe Mweeta and Paola Bouley, conservationists working in Zambia and Mozambique, respectively.

"There are heroes on the ground working every day to save lions--many of them brave women scientists, explorers, and conservationists," Knell wrote. "Together we can invest in bold people and transformative ideas to save them and their fellow big cats for generations to come."


Knowledge & Exploration, National Geographic Channel, Sustainability

FX reshaping Hollywood with big push for diversity behind the camera


For CEO John Landgraf and his team of showrunners at FX Networks, the best way to produce TV series of the highest quality is to hire diverse voices behind the camera.

"We want to make the best television possible," Landgraf said in a recent interview with Variety. "We should be drawing on the entire available pool of storytellers and directors, and we should be expanding that pool and trying to hire the very, very, very best people. That's our job."

Landgraf dedicated a sizable portion of his August 9 session at the TCA Summer Press Tour to this issue of diversity in Hollywood, announcing that the network has dramatically expanded opportunities for diverse directors. Currently, 51% of the directors hired to work on FX and FXX shows during the 2016-2017 season are women or people of color.

"If part of how people are getting jobs is that they're white males, and there's a sort of a lethargy or an inertia around that, and therefore we're not looking at the entire available pool of human talent, then we're squandering talent. Period," Landgraf said. "We're squandering the talents of women and minorities, and we're not fielding the best team. The way this change happens is that the industry decides it wants to field the best team and it wants to do what it needs to do to field the best team."


At FX, the process of making changes began in the director's chair. The company made a concerted effort to diversify its portfolio of storytellers, with Landgraf reaching out to each of the showrunners on the network's 17 series and urging them to fill the upcoming season's 170 available director slots with women and people of color. Of the 149 spots that have been filled so far, 73 helming jobs went to white men (49%), 32 spots went to men of color (21%), 11 to women of color (7%) and 33 to white women (22%).

Landgraf acknowledged that long-term, systemic shifts in the industry at large would take time but that meaningful effort is required in order for progress to be made.

"It's just a matter of will, and it can be done. Nobody really can say, 'It can't be done,' or 'It'll take 10 years to do it.' It can be done now," Landgraf said. "We hope the example of FX more than quadrupling our percentage of diverse and female directors in such a short time sends a message to our whole industry that it is well past time for change to happen--and that it is only a matter of re-thinking our priorities and of putting in the collective effort for us to make it so."

Visit Variety for a detailed recap of Landgraf's TCA appearance, as well as an extended interview with him and Jonathan Frank, EVP of Current Series at FX.

Diversity, Fox Networks Group (incl. FOX, Cable, Sports, etc.)