Creative Artists Agency (CAA) has set the in-person return of the CAA Amplify summit, an invitation-only convening of artists, thought-leaders, and executives of color from influential organizations in entertainment, sports, media, technology, and social justice. The event kicks off on June 22 in Ojai. Amplify 2022 will provide a unique environment where key influencers and industry decision-makers will explore the role that business plays in advancing culture and justice for communities of color.
This year’s attendees include Oscar-nominated filmmaker and Emmy-winning Ava DuVernay; black-ish and grown-ish actor, Executive Producer, and Change Agent Yara Shahidi; Grammy-winning, Golden Globe and Emmy-nominated actor and recording artist Anthony Ramos; Stephanie Hsu actor from critically acclaimed A24 feature Everything Everywhere All At Once as well as Amazon’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel; Tomi Adeyemi Children of Bone and Blood writer; Storm Reid Euphoria actor, Producer, and CEO, A Seed & Wings Productions; Jeymes Samuel, Filmmaker/Music Producer, Geneva Club Entertainment, The Harder They Fall; Jon Platt, Chairman and CEO, Sony Music Publishing; Keisha Lance Bottoms, Senior Advisor, White House Office of Public Engagement and Former Mayor, City of Atlanta; Cris Abrego, Chairman of the Americas, Banijay, and President & CEO, Endemol Shine Holdings; Amber Ruffin, Comedian, Writer, Producer, The Amber Ruffin Show; Leslie Grace, Actor and Music Recording Artist, In The Heights; Crystal Echo Hawk, Founder and Executive Director, IllumiNative; Khalil Rountree, UFC Fighter, Actor, Entrepreneur, and Activist; Lauren Ridloff, Actor, The Walking Dead and The Eternals; renowned entertainment attorney Nina Shaw, Del Shaw Moonves Tanaka Finkelstein Lezcano Bobb & Dang; Soman Chainani, Author and Executive Producer, SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL; Franklin Leonard, Founder and CEO, The Black List, and many other leaders in entertainment, media, sports, and politics.
“We’re thrilled for the return of CAA Amplify and to once again be in community with so many talented artists and business leaders,” said Ruben Garcia, Executive and Co-Head of Cultural Business Strategy at CAA. “The pandemic helped illustrate the value of the network we have built and how we can use our power to influence sustainable change across our industries. Five years since our launch, we’re excited for this next chapter of CAA Amplify and to create opportunities that live at the intersection of business, culture, and equity.”
In addition to the signature gathering held each summer, CAA Amplify created CAA Amplify Town Halls, a series of special livestream events that address a range of social issues featuring many past conference attendees. The first was hosted in June 2020 in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. It was an unprecedented gathering of more than 11,000 artists and cross-industry leaders who were able to learn about the state of race in America and hear about critical action steps necessary to help end systemic racism.
Other Town Halls focused on threats to democracy and civic engagement, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on America’s youth and education system, and the staggering increase of violence impacting the AAPI community. Click here to view conversations and clips from these Town Halls.
The CAA Amplify platform is also dedicated to celebrating the success and progress for communities of color. In December 2020, in partnership with the Movement Theater Company and Broadway Advocacy Coalition, CAA Amplify hosted a celebration recognizing the eight plays from Black playwrights on Broadway during the 2020 theater season. Most recently, CAA Amplify partnered with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, HBO Max and Warner Bros. Pictures to support the release of Father of the Bride with a special virtual conversation featuring the cast and creative team, including director Gaz Alazraki, writer Matt Lopez, Andy Garcia, Gloria Estefan, Adria Arjona, and Diego Boneta.
A longtime leader in the promotion of inclusion across the industry, CAA continues to prioritize and invest in a wide range of efforts and initiatives that advance opportunities for underrepresented communities, within the agency and beyond. In 2020, CAA promoted Executive Garcia and Theater Agent Kevin Lin to Co-Heads of Cultural Business Strategy to focus on strengthening creative and business growth opportunities for the agency’s diverse clients. Together, they oversee and implement a range of strategies and efforts across the agency, including a slate of custom talent development programs, corporate partnerships and collaborations, expanding data and research capabilities, and offering cultural consulting across a range of narrative, marketing and corporate projects.
In April 2022, CAA’s Full Story Initiative partnered with UCLA’s Center for Scholars & Storytellers (CSS) to examine the business impact of Authentically Inclusive Representation (AIR) in film. The study found that films with higher AIR scores perform better at the box office and generate more favorable critic and audience reviews. Based on the research outcomes, CAA and CSS collaborated with partners across studios, networks, and production companies to develop a robust set of industry-wide, call-to-action recommendations.
In October 2020, CAA, in partnership with global entertainment analytics leader Parrot Analytics, released a report on the demand for television content featuring diverse on-screen talent. The CAA/Parrot Analytics study revealed that diverse debuts have grown to surpass non-diverse titles since 2017 and that demand for diverse debuts in the Top 100 has doubled to surpass non-diverse titles for the first time in 2019. In December 2018, CAA partnered with tech-forward innovation company shift7 to examine the correlation between female-led films and box office success, as well as the box office implications of films that pass the Bechdel Test, a measure of the representation of women in film, television and other works of fiction. Building upon the agency’s CAA Motion Picture Cast Diversity Index, the data analysis looked at the top-grossing U.S. films released between January 2014 to December, 2017, and found that female-led films outperformed male-led films at all budget levels. In June 2017, CAA issued the CAA Motion Picture Cast Diversity Index. The primary goal of this research was to determine the correlative factors of diverse casting, diverse audiences, and box office success; and their broader implications on the business case for diversity in motion picture programming.