Film Academy Names 25 Industry Partners for 5th Year of Gold Rising Internship Program

This year’s program will be virtual for the second time, allowing applicants from anywhere in the world

92nd Annual Academy Awards - Backstage
AMPAS/Getty Images

The Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences has announced the 25 entertainment companies that will be participating in its Gold Rising internship program for aspiring industry professionals.

The program is now in its fifth year, and for the second year running, the Gold Rising program will be virtual, allowing applicants from anywhere in the world. The summer internship program places students from underrepresented communities in industry internship positions and with mentorship.

The 25 companies participating alongside the Academy include AMC Networks, Annapurna Pictures, The Black List, BRON Studios, Circle of Confusion, Creative Artists Agency (CAA), DTS (part of Xperi Corporation), The Walt Disney Company, Dolby Laboratories, Evolve Entertainment Fund (Mayor’s Office), Formosa Group LLC, FotoKem, Fremantle, Illumination Entertainment, Monkeypaw Productions, Moving Picture Institute, NBCUniversal Filmed Entertainment Group, Paradigm Talent Agency, Paramount Pictures, Participant, Shout! Factory, Streamland Media, United Talent Agency (UTA) and WarnerMedia.

One hundred students from across the U.S. and other countries will participate in the eight-week program, with six of those students being embedded within the Academy and the Academy Museum. The 2021 class of students comes from 45 universities and encompasses 78% underrepresented racial/ethnic communities, 61% women, 43% LGBTQ+ and 17% with disability.

The program concludes with a graduation ceremony on Aug. 7 that will provide networking opportunities with Academy members and industry professionals, including panel discussions and career prep sessions about every aspect of filmmaking. Participants will also be paired with mentors for a period of eight months coming from every branch of AMPAS. Past mentors have included Hugh Jackman, Jon M. Chu, R.J. Cutler and Ruth Carter.

Each of the 25 partners will sponsor up to three interns. The program kicks off Wednesday with a two-day orientation that includes industry speakers, panels and virtual tours of some of the Academy’s libraries and archives.

The program also has a production track with online technical workshops and masterclasses for students interested in cinematography, costume design, film editing, production design and sound. The 35 participants in this track are from California State University Northridge, Exceptional Minds Academy, Los Angeles Film School, Los Angeles Trade-Technical College, New York Film Academy and select local community colleges from the Academy’s Community College Film and Media Arts Consortium.

“Over the past five years, the Gold Rising program has steadily evolved and grown, ushering hundreds of alumni into the start of their careers. We are eternally grateful to our incredible partners who help open doors to a more inclusive field and bring dreams closer to reality for this talented group of young people,” Academy governor and education and outreach committee chair Wynn P. Thomas said in a statement. “Along with my fellow members of the Academy, I look forward to meeting and mentoring this new class as they begin their journeys.”

“During a time with so many unprecedented challenges for artists, filmmakers and young professionals looking to explore their futures, the Gold Rising program will continue to offer participants meaningful, relevant and hands-on experiences to help them find their way in our industry,” Academy COO Christine Simmons added. “As we continue to push towards equity and inclusion across all aspects of the Academy and greater film community, we’re excited to support new and past Gold Rising interns throughout their careers and can’t wait to see how they make their mark on the future of filmmaking.”

Gold Rising is led by program directors Bettina Fisher and Niti Shah and is a part of Academy Gold, a global talent development and inclusion initiative that provides creative individuals of diverse backgrounds with access and resources toward achieving their career pathways in filmmaking. 

Academy Gold Rising is supported by a grant from The James Irvine Foundation. Additional support is provided by The Walt Disney Company, Gucci Changemakers and the Ruderman Family Foundation. The Academy Gold Rising Production Track is made possible in part by the JPMorgan Chase Foundation and the Dwight Stuart Youth Fund. Other funding is provided by the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture, Critics Choice Association in honor of Chadwick Boseman and Leon Silverman.

Below, you can find a list of some of the highlights of the upcoming panels and speakers available to interns through this year’s Gold Rising program.

Social Justice in Film
Panelists: Arthur Dong (writer-director), Laura Kim (EVP Marketing, Participant), Dawn Porter (director-producer), Marjan Safinia (director-producer)
Moderator: Rosalina Jowers (Senior Manager, Social Impact Communications, Participant)

Authentic Storytelling in the LGBTQIA+ Space
With GLAAD’s Associate Director of Transgender Representation and documentary film producer Alex Schmider

Getting to the Soul of “Soul”
Panelists: Matt Aspbury (cinematographer), Pixar Animation Chief Creative Officer Pete Docter (director-writer), Ian Megibben (cinematographer), Kevin Nolting (editor), Kemp Powers (writer-director), MontaQue Ruffin (animator)
Moderator: Audrey Cleo Yap (multimedia journalist)

Let’s Talk About It: Hollywood and Mental Health
Presented by Shaina Gonzales (licensed clinical social worker and founder of Therapeutic Bridges) 
Moderator: Dana Richie (filmmaker, producer, and founder of Backlot Productions)


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