Film Academy Kicks Off 2020 Internship Program for Underrepresented Communities

Marc Malkin

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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences launched its fourth Academy Gold internship program.

The program, which is being held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic, offers mentorship for 74 students and young professionals from underrepresented communities.

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“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 of Searchlight Pictures, said in a statement. “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.”

Participating partners include AMC Networks, Bron Studios, Circle of Confusion, Creative Artists Agency (CAA), The Walt Disney Company, Dolby Laboratories, DTS (part of Xperi Corporation), FotoKem, HBO, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Evolve Entertainment Fund, Moving Picture Institute, Panavision/Light Iron, Paradigm Talent Agency, Paramount Pictures, Participant Media, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Telsey + Company, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group and Warner Bros.

Each partner will sponsor up to three interns. The program began on Wednesday with a two-day orientation that includes Academy governors, members and other industry speakers, studio and agency panels and virtual tours of the Academy’s Film Archive, Margaret Herrick Library and Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.

“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,” Academy COO Christine Simmons said. “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.”

At the end of the eight-week program, interns will be paired with an Academy member for an eight-month mentorship.

There are close to 300 Academy Gold program alumni, more than 85% of whom have moved into positions within the industry, with 27% in positions higher than entry level. It represents 74% people of color, 64% women, 30% LGBTQ+ and 6% with a disability, according to the Academy.

Panels will include Stephanie Allain (producer); Victoria Alonso (executive VP of production for Marvel Studios); Annie Chang (VP of creative technologies for Universal Pictures); Matthew Cherry (writer-director); Jon M. Chu (director); Julie Ann Crommett (VP of multicultural audience engagement for The Walt Disney Studios); Michael Goi (cinematographer); Tiffany Haddish (actor); Reginald Hudlin (producer-director); Franklin Leonard (founder and CEO of The Black List); Patrushkha Mierzwa (sound technician); Rachel Morrison (cinematographer); Daryn Okada (cinematographer); Academy president David Rubin (casting director); Kimberly Snyder(CEO of Panavision); Wynn P. Thomas (production designer); Karen Rupert Toliver (executive VP of creative for Sony Pictures Animation); Mark Ulano (sound mixer) and Mary Vogt (costume designer).

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