LOS ANGELES, June 21 (Reuters) – Actors George Clooney, Kerry Washington and Don Cheadle are teaming up with Los Angeles education officials to open a school to teach teens in skills like cinematography, lighting, visual effects, and other Hollywood -To train jobs.
The school, slated to open in 2022, aims to diversify the entertainment industry by providing a route to high-paying jobs with few formal entry options.
“Our goal is to better reflect the diversity of our country,” Clooney said in a statement on Monday. “It means creating high school programs that teach young people about cameras, editing, visual effects and sound, and all of the career opportunities that industry has to offer.”
The Roybal School of Film and Television Production is housed in the Edward R. Roybal Learning Center in the predominantly Latino Westlake district of the city. Teachers have access to professionals in the film industry, while students receive hands-on training as well as academic programs and internships.
Clooney, Washington, Cheadle, Mindy Kaling, Eva Longoria and a trio of producers will sit on the board and will cover about 20% of the originally expected budget of about $ 7 million, said Austin Bütner, superintendent of the Unified School District of Los Angeles, across from New York Times.
Hollywood has made efforts to increase the number of people of color in front of and behind the camera since the #OscarsSoWhite scandal in 2016. These efforts were further heightened last year as the protests against Black Lives Matter fueled a wider debate about racism in American institutions.
Grant Heslov, Clooney’s production partner, said efforts to recruit more women and people of color on film sets were being hampered by the lack of qualified candidates.
“They want a more diverse crew,” Heslov told the New York Times on Monday, “but there just aren’t enough educated people.”
The Clooney-led initiative follows plans launched last week by record producer Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine were announced to be starting a specialized high school in South Los Angeles. The school will not be a music school, but rather is designed to encourage downtown kids to be innovators, start their own businesses, or get into high-tech industries.
Reporting by Jill Serjeant, editing by Nick Zieminski
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