Just as it had to make adjustments this week for its own 2021 Oscar show due to events out of their control, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is also applying necessary changes, while moving forward, to one of its most important programs.
With the impressive support of 19 partner companies in its fourth year, the wide-ranging industry Academy Gold internship enhancement and mentorship program for students and young professionals from underrepresented communities will continue this summer despite the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic. AMPAS said Wednesday that the summer edition will be virtual, with an extension program into the fall for those whose summer internships could not take place because of the current circumstances.
“We are so thankful for our industry partners, who share the Academy’s commitment to creating meaningful opportunities that move the needle on inclusion in our community,” said Academy governor and Education and Outreach Committee chair Nancy Utley. “Their support is integral to the success of Academy Gold, and we commend them on finding innovative ways to continue their internship programs during this challenging and uncertain time.”
“In the face of a pandemic and our continued efforts to drive equity in our industry, the decision on whether or not to proceed with the Academy Gold program this summer was very clear,” said Academy COO Christine Simmons. “Our pipeline program is even more critical at a time when underrepresented communities are being disproportionately affected by COVID-19. The needs are heightened, and we are dedicated to delivering an educational, fun and rewarding virtual experience for these students and young professionals that will change their trajectory in our industry.”
Each of the partners will sponsor up to three of their interns for the initiative that begins today. A total of 74 students (including 19 placed within AMPAS) are participating in the eight-week program that offers networking opportunities and exposure to key members of the industry, along with panel discussions on all aspects of filmmaking and what one needs for a career in the business. I will be moderating one on costume design that features Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu and designer Mary Vogt on June 27. Others industry participants include recent Oscar show producer Stephanie Allain, Victoria Alonso, Tiffany Haddish, Reginald Hudlin, AMPAS president David Rubin, Wynn P Thomas, Matthew Cherry and many more.
Upon completion of the summer program, all Gold interns will be paired with an Academy member for an eight-month mentorship. To date those participants number nearly 300 who have benefited from the program — more than 85% have landed jobs, 27% higher than entry level, AMPAS said.
The Academy says the program also has a production track with online technical workshops and masterclasses for students interested in cinematography, costume design, production design, film editing and sound. In the fall, once production in Los Angeles has resumed and guidelines permit, these 30 students will have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience shooting scenes on a soundstage and spend time on productions shadowing various departments. Participants include students from Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Evolve Entertainment Fund, Los Angeles Trade-Technical College, Pasadena Community College, Santa Monica College, Los Angeles Film School, New York Film Academy, Exceptional Minds and the Ruderman Family Foundation.
The Academy Gold Production Track is made possible in part by the JPMorgan Chase Foundation. Additional support is provided by Disney, Warner Bros., Ruderman Family Foundation, Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture, Leon Silverman, and Charles de Limur. Partner companies for the current session are AMC Networks, Bron Studios, Circle of Confusion, CAA, Disney, Dolby Laboratories, DTS (part of Xperi Corporation), FotoKem, HBO, the Evolve Entertainment Fund, Moving Picture Institute, Panavision/Light Iron, Paradigm, Paramount Pictures, Participant Media, Sony Pictures, Telsey + Company, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group and Warner Bros.
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