MZL aims to operate as a platform and meeting point for these artists and professionals enabling them to surpass cultural, institutional, and systemic barriers in order to create and showcase work for diverse audiences.
We want to make underrepresented artists and professionals visible within the artistic landscape of London, the UK, and hopefully internationally, by catering to their specific needs. Artists will be showcased through festivals, and the company will provide workshops, networking events, as well as conference and panel discussions with the aim of fostering an enriching exchange of ideas, a spirit of collaboration, mutual support, solidarity, as well as a sense of community. The long-term aim is to encourage artists to work conscientiously and collaboratively in order to build sustainable careers.
Whilst MZL Productions places an emphasis on the performing arts, the work of filmmakers and theatre makers, and primarily women of colour, the company’s products and services are open to artists working across all artistic disciplines, who are from varying socio-economic backgrounds, with differing skills and expertise.
We prioritise collaboration above competition.
London and the UK has a rich spirit and potential for embracing multiculturalism, and the arts is an ideal medium through which this can be celebrated. We hope to acknowledge and transfer this ethos internationally, especially in places where it is still not fully realised or where it is just as challenging to maintain.
Making underrepresented communities feel empowered to pursue stable and sustainable careers in the creative industries is MZL's priority.
Both artistic work and artists require collaboration, support systems, and networks, which MZL will aim to provide as many other companies do. The only difference is we will provide services, products, and opportunities to ensure that those aspiring to create art and build creative careers gain the confidence, skills, and collaborative networking opportunities to have their work reach the public. In other words, we will be hypersensitive to the fact that gatekeepers and barriers of entry into this industry exist and are made to seem as though they are impossible to surpass. We will do our level best to make the seemingly impossible become possible, especially for those who experience accessibility issues.
The point is not to be grandiose and glamorous. Instead, we want to find what has not been found and give a platform to voices that have not been heard, or those whose voices are being deliberately silenced.
The long-term goal of MZL is to become a self-sustainable film and theatre production company, which produces work that is written, directed, and performed with the aim of increasing representation of women of colour and multicultural narratives.
Why? Because it's time to get what we need from the arts: a true sense of justice and belonging. And that can only be achieved when the currently acceptable power dynamic makes room for a new one, which fearlessly embraces the potential and need for complex characters to be seen and heard.
And that statement, saying we prioritise work by women of colour, should not require us to provide an explanation stating that we actively try to work with everyone. Yet it still does.
Which is precisely why we do what we do.
We are influenced by what we observe, but also by what we read. There is no singular reading list, set in stone, which informs the guiding principles behind MZL. Informing ourselves and developing ideas as we learn seems like the healthiest approach.
Here's a list of books that have helped us thus far, which we will continue to update:
A Vindication of the Rights of Woman: With Strictures on Political and Moral Subjects - Mary Wollstonecraft
Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting - Syd Field
The Good Immigrant - Nikesh Shukla
On Anarchism - Noam Chomsky
On Art and Life - John Ruskin
Ways of Seeing - John Berger
The Idea of Justice - Amartya Sen
Why Are We Artists? 100 World Art Manifestos - Jessica Lack
British Multiculturalism and the Politics of Representation - Lasse Thomassen
Beyond Bollywood and Broadway - Neilesh Bose
We support a pragmatic approach to environmentalism and acknowledge its application to our practices within the performing arts and entertainment industry.
Here's a list of organisations that we are learning from, which will be updated as we grow:
Green Spark Group