By Kristopher Tapley,
Variety, April 5, 2017 —
After a much-publicized effort to invite more international artists and artists of color into the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences last year, the organization has announced a new initiative aimed at fostering students and professionals from underrepresented communities.
The Academy Gold program will launch in June, affording top film entertainment, technology, production services, and digital media companies an opportunity to recruit and educate “a nationwide pool of diverse talent,” the Academy revealed on Wednesday. The organization will also build an alumni database to track the professional development of participants in the industry-wide summer internship and mentoring initiative, and provide a resource for connectivity among alumni upon completion of the program.
Companies already committed to the program include Deluxe, the Walt Disney Company, Dolby Laboratories, FotoKem, FremantleMedia, HBO, IMAX, Lionsgate/Starz, Panavision, Paramount Pictures, Participant Media, Sony Pictures, Technicolor, Twentieth Century Fox Film, Universal Pictures, and Warner Bros. Each partner will sponsor up to three interns.
In this first year, more than 50 interns (including 15 who will be placed within the Academy itself) will participate. The internships are available to undergraduate and graduate college students.
“I am proud that the Academy is taking proactive steps in building partnerships within the entertainment industry to move the needle on talent development and inclusion,” said Nancy Utley, Academy governor and president of Fox Searchlight Pictures who serves as chair of the Academy’s Education Committee. “The Academy Gold program is a testament to the shared commitment of the Academy and industry leaders to address one of biggest challenges facing our community today and effectuate meaningful change.”
Added Edgar Aguirre, AMPAS director of talent development and inclusion: “The Academy is in a unique position to tap into and encourage its nearly 7,000 members to become involved mentors. The Academy Gold program will empower and create new opportunities for emerging and diverse talent, while engaging our membership and underscoring the impact these leaders can have on shaping the future of our industry.”