The Academy launches new program to help break into the industry

Twenty Ten Talent - The Academy

Looking to break into the entertainment industry? This summer, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will host Academy Gold, its new summer internship and mentoring program.

Academy Gold is designed to expand opportunities for students and young professionals from underrepresented communities. Working with top film entertainment, technology, production services and digital media companies, the Academy aims to accelerate opportunities to recruit diverse talent and enhance professional development.

Nineteen industry partners, including The Walt Disney Company, FremantleMedia, HBO, IMAX, Lionsgate/Starz, Paramount Pictures, Participant Media, Sony Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox Film, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros., will provide internships as part of the Academy Gold program.

The eight-week program offers participants networking opportunities with Academy members and industry professionals, screenings and educational workshops to help acquire the knowledge, skills and connections needed to successfully navigate a career in the industry. The deadline to apply is May 12, 2017.

We spoke to Edgar Aguirre, Director of Talent Development and Inclusion at The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, to find out more about the Academy Gold program.

How was Academy Gold conceived?
The Academy Gold Talent Development and Inclusion initiative is a pilot program, and summer 2017 is our first year. Academy Gold was conceived as a proactive approach by the Academy to enrich diversity and inclusion in the creative industry. We are advancing this effort by working in collaboration with 19 industry partners, including all the major studios, and a number of post-production, technology, agency and animation companies.

We are asking all our 19 partners to select up to three of their summer interns, with a focus on identifying quality candidates from under-represented communities. Our goal is to have at least half of all participants be female. More than 60 interns will participate in the 8-week enrichment program that will take place over the summer at the Academy. Gold participants will attend exclusive VIP panels and hear from industry leaders on areas important to their professional development and success.

The mission of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is to celebrate excellence in the film world, and with Academy Gold, we are planning to develop—in collaboration and in partnership with the whole industry—best practices on talent development and inclusion, and celebrate excellence in this field as well.

The curriculum is incredibly detailed, what are the key highlights that make this program unique?
Aside from the exclusive VIP panels of industry leaders and experts that will provide valuable insights, participants will also have the opportunity to network with Academy members. These are individuals that have excelled in their respective fields and who could potentially serve as valuable resources in getting careers off the ground. As part of the Gold program, the Academy will also develop a mentorship component to match up Gold graduates with Academy members, and track these interactions as part of a comprehensive database. We want to measure the results of these interactions so that we can continue to improve and refine the program offerings.

The Academy will also enlist the help of an outside consultant to run an independent assessment of the Academy Gold program. We will strive for objectivity, and will be data-driven in our approach to optimize the program’s long-term sustainability and success.

What other initiatives are you working on, in addition to Academy Gold?
Academy Gold is my main portfolio. In addition to Gold, the Academy also has tremendous programs that are focused on talent development, such as the Student Academy Awards and the Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting. As the Academy Gold program continues to grow and thrive, I will continue to collaborate with my colleagues throughout the organization to explore ways to enhance our inclusion efforts to ensure optimal participation from all communities, including exploring fund development and community outreach efforts.

What advice would you give to anyone reading who may be interested in Academy Gold?
Apply. And if you do not get in this year, please visit us again next year, as we are hoping to expand the program offerings and the number of industry partners in the foreseeable future.

Interview by Octavia Goredema @OctaviaGoredema

Photography ©A.M.P.A.S.

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