President Obama announced today that the American Film Institute and SAG-AFTRA will launch mentorship programs aimed at the next generation of entertainment professionals. Speaking at the second annual White House Student Film Festival today, he said the groups will work alongside the federal agency that leads his United We Serve program with a goal of 1 million mentor hours in the next three years. A number of big names from the biz attended today’s event at the White House — which featured the announcement of A Call to Arts: The One Million Mentor Hours Pledge — including Steve McQueen, Hilary Swank, Will Packer and J.J. Abrams.
“Today, as part of our United We Serve effort, I’m proud to announce that AFI and the Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists are pairing up to give each of the young filmmakers here a mentor who can bring out the best of them in the months ahead,” Obama said. “That’s pretty cool. And the organizations are also reaching beyond these young people; they’re going to pledge a million hours of educational and mentoring programs for young people across the country over the next three years, which is a remarkable commitment, so we want to thank AFI and SAG-AFTRA for that wonderful contribution.”
“The American Film Institute was founded in the White House Rose Garden with a mission to educate the next generation of storytellers,” AFI President & CEO Bob Gazzale said. “Our pledge today is in furtherance of the apprenticeship tradition that has provided the foundation for the art form since its inception.” Added SAG-AFTRA President Ken Howard: “Sharing the tools of the trade helps ensure dynamic new storytellers practicing the craf, and a vibrant future for the entertainment industry. That’s something that benefits movies, television shows — in fact, the entire creative community and the nation.”