George Clooney, Grant Heslov, Don Cheadle, Kerry Washington, Mindy Kaling, Nicole Avant, Eva Longoria, Working Title Films founders Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner and Creative Artists Agency (CAA) co-chairman Bryan Lourd are funding a specialized Los Angeles high school with the goal of creating a “pipeline of diverse, career-ready young people” for Hollywood jobs, particularly below-the-line roles, the stars and producers announced Monday.
Created in partnership with Los Angeles Unified School District, the Roybal School of Film and Television Production, which is set to launch in Fall 2022, will be a specialized academy housed within the Edward R. Roybal Learning Center. The magnet school “will provide Los Angeles Unified teachers with access to renowned storytellers, along with industry professionals and experts, and support students with a robust academic education and practical training, establishing a clear pathway to good-paying jobs.”
Per the press release announcing the new school, “The inaugural program, to be overseen by Principal Blanca Cruz, will feature specifically designed curriculum developed to meet the standards prescribed by the state of California and the University of California system. In addition, students will receive real-world experience through a dedicated internship initiative. The Roybal School of Film and Television Production will start with ninth- and 10th-grade students and include Grades 11 and 12 over the next two years, with potential opportunity to expand the pilot program to more schools throughout the Los Angeles area.”
The founding members will serve on the Roybal School of Film and Television Production Advisory Board, “lending their expertise and support to build a more inclusive pipeline of career-ready talent for the film and television industry.”
“This effort will help open the doors of opportunity for a diverse group of students from underserved communities,” LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner said. “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. Physics is involved in the choice of a lens by a cinematographer, math is part of the foundation for a musical score in a film, critical thinking skills are needed to design a set, screenwriters needs a foundation in literacy, and a make-up artist needs to know the chemistry of the different materials they might use – all of this will be tied into the curriculum at the school. We are excited to have the support of these extraordinary industry leaders to create opportunity for children in the Los Angeles area.”
Clooney added: “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.”
“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.”