George Clooney, Kerry Washington, Don Cheadle, Mindy Kaling and other stars are coming together to help launch a public film school in Los Angeles in an effort to increase diversity in Hollywood, a coalition of industry leaders announced Monday.
The stars are partnering with the Los Angeles Unified School District to launch a magnet program that will provide teachers with access to “renowned storytellers,” other industry experts and practical training, while establishing a pathway to jobs in the television and film industry, the group said in a statement.
The magnet school’s curriculum will meet the standards of the state of California and the University of California and will accept ninth and 10th-grade students before accepting 11th and 12th-grade students over the following two years.
“Our aim is to better reflect the diversity of our country. That means starting early. It means creating high school programs that teach young people about cameras, and editing and visual effects and sound and all the career opportunities that this industry has to offer. It means internships that lead to well-paying careers. It means understanding that we’re all in this together,” Clooney said in a statement.
Superintendent Austin Beutner said the new school will help open doors to students in underserved communities. “This groundbreaking program will help prepare students for good-paying jobs in the film and television industry by integrating practical industry experience and internships for students into the curriculum,” Beutner said.
Other members of the advisory board include Grant Heslov, Nicole Avant, Eva Longoria, Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner and Bryan Lourd. “The combination of education and hands-on training opens up life-changing opportunities,” Lourd said. “We invite every interested and committed person and company in our industry to join this effort. We have the collective power to accelerate the academic and professional trajectories of so many students and bring about positive change.”
The new school, the Roybal School of Film and Television Production, will be housed in the Edward R. Roybal Learning Center and is expected to launch in the fall of 2022.
“Everyone involved with this effort understands the need to create points of access: access to resources, information, skills, and mentorship,” Avant said. “It is our hope that every guild and company across the entertainment industry landscape joins our efforts to build a bridge to opportunity.”