UFA Commits To More Diversity In Front Of And Behind The Camera
UFA has become the first German entertainment company to commit itself to more diversity in front of and behind the camera. The aim is for UFA’s entire full year programming portfolio to reflect society’s diversity by the end of 2024. The German government’s census will serve as a guide.
UFA will continually monitor and evaluate the goals and program quotas formulated in its voluntary commitment. The first comprehensive evaluation of the results will be performed and published at the end of next year. The inclusiveness of the world of work and what can be done to ensure that our diverse society is reflected both on and off screen is an ongoing process at UFA. As a creative company, the Fremantle subsidiary sees diversity not only as an important part of its creative responsibility, but also as a key component of the corporate culture, one that must be actively shaped. The goal is to put the aspiration of diversity, inclusion, equal opportunities, and tolerance into action as a matter of course.
“Taking many different perspectives is essential to creating unique entertainment for audiences,” explains UFA CEO Nico Hofmann. “The diversity of our creative teams is essential and inspires us in our daily business. Diversity can only be created in front of the camera if it is a given behind the camera. UFA wants to manage to portray this difficult-to-grasp concept in real life.” Joachim Kosack, Managing Director of UFA and UFA Serial Drama, adds: “As media professionals, we have a special responsibility and must use the creative means at our disposal to act responsibly and serve as a role model. We must emphatically counter any discriminatory tendencies, spotlight related topics, and give them visibility in our programs. At UFA, diversity is an absolute prerequisite for any kind of creativity.”
To achieve the voluntary commitment’s goals, pool all activities, and advance them in a focused way, employees have founded an in-house Diversity Circle comprised of mentors for the four focal topics of gender, LGBTIQ*, people of color, and people with disabilities.
Measures in front of the camera
As a basis for transparency and measurability, targets will be defined for the UFA program lineup, taking their cue from the German Government census. In this connection, guidelines were developed together with members of the groups that are underrepresented in German television. Formulated as a questionnaire, these are designed to help all creatives critically review their projects, narratives, and depictions of character with a view to stereotyping. Beyond this, UFA is collaborating with important players in the field to create synergies and promote diversity and inclusion in the film and television industry. For example, the company is sponsoring the next study by the MaLisa Foundation and Wismar University of Applied Sciences on the topic of gender-specific violence on German TV. Maria and Elisabeth Furtwängler’s MaLisa Foundation is committed to social diversity and overcoming restrictive role models in Germany. Since the beginning of this year, UFA, under the lead management of producer Nataly Kudiabor, has also been working with Tyron Ricketts’ company Panthertainment to break old patterns of narration and give creatives – regardless of background or skin color – the opportunity to tell stories from their own perspective.
Measures behind the camera
To achieve more diversity in casts, topics, and narrative in UFA programs, greater diversity is also necessary behind the camera. UFA is therefore committed to increasing diversity in creative and administrative leadership positions as well as in entry-level positions, where targeted support also plays a role. UFA aims to become an inclusive place where talents and creatives feel at home and can develop according to their individual goals and requirements. Measures will be established to ensure that UFA is an employer that is open to everyone. Learning and exchange will be given top priority: there will be training sessions for employees, keynotes by external speakers, and networking events on the topic, e.g. In addition, job listings and hiring processes will be revised, employee contracts made gender-neutral, and workplaces reviewed for their accessibility.