Academy launches fifth year of Gold Rising program for students and young professionals from underrepresented communities

June 18, 2021

100 interns from the US and abroad to participate in second virtual program.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced commitments from 25 partner companies in the fifth year of its Academy Gold Rising program. Gold Rising, formerly called Academy Gold, is an entertainment industry internship enhancement and mentorship program for students and young professionals from underrepresented communities.  The summer program will be virtual for the second time, enabling interns to participate from anywhere in the world.

“Over the past five years, the Gold Rising program has steadily evolved and grown, ushering hundreds of alumni into the start of their careers.  We are eternally grateful to our incredible partners who help open doors to a more inclusive field and bring dreams closer to reality for this talented group of young people,” said Academy governor and Education and Outreach Committee chair Wynn P. Thomas. “Along with my fellow members of the Academy, I look forward to meeting and mentoring this new class as they begin their journeys.”

“During a time with so many unprecedented challenges for artists, filmmakers and young professionals looking to explore their futures, the Gold Rising program will continue to offer participants meaningful, relevant and hands-on experiences to help them find their way in our industry,” said Academy COO Christine Simmons.  “As we continue to push towards equity and inclusion across all aspects of the Academy and greater film community, we’re excited to support new and past Gold Rising interns throughout their careers and can’t wait to see how they make their mark on the future of filmmaking.”

This summer, 100 students (including six interns placed within the Academy and the Academy Museum) from across the United States and abroad will participate in Gold Rising.  The eight-week program, which concludes with a graduation ceremony on August 7, offers participants networking opportunities with Academy members and industry professionals, a variety of panel discussions on every aspect of filmmaking, and career preparation sessions.

Each of the partners will sponsor up to three of their interns for the program, which kicks off today, June 16, with a two-day orientation that includes Academy governors, members and other industry speakers, studio and agency panels, virtual tours of the Academy’s Film Archive, Margaret Herrick Library and Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, and a look into the Oscars® and Scientific and Technical Awards.

The program also has a production track with online technical workshops and masterclasses for students interested in cinematography, costume design, film editing, production design and sound.  The 35 participants in this track are from California State University Northridge, Exceptional Minds Academy, Los Angeles Film School, Los Angeles Trade-Technical College, New York Film Academy and select local community colleges from the Academy’s Community College Film and Media Arts Consortium.

Gold Rising interns will hear from more than 120 panelists and speakers over the course of the program. Highlights include:

Social Justice in Film
Panelists: Arthur Dong (writer-director), Laura Kim (EVP Marketing, Participant), Dawn Porter (director-producer), Marjan Safinia (director-producer)
Moderator: Rosalina Jowers (Senior Manager, Social Impact Communications, Participant)

Authentic Storytelling in the LGBTQIA+ Space
With GLAAD’s Associate Director of Transgender Representation and documentary film producer Alex Schmider

Getting to the Soul of “Soul”
Panelists: Matt Aspbury (cinematographer), Pixar Animation Chief Creative Officer Pete Docter (director-writer), Ian Megibben (cinematographer), Kevin Nolting (editor), Kemp Powers (writer-director), MontaQue Ruffin (animator)
Moderator: Audrey Cleo Yap (multimedia journalist)

Let’s Talk About It: Hollywood and Mental Health
Presented by Shaina Gonzales (licensed clinical social worker and founder of Therapeutic Bridges)
Moderator: Dana Richie (filmmaker, producer, and founder of Backlot Productions)

Upon completion of the program, all Gold Rising interns will be paired with an Academy member for an eight-month mentorship.  This past year, members from every branch volunteered their time and support to the program, including such mentors as Khadija Alami, Ruth Carter, Nicolás Celis, Jon M. Chu, R.J. Cutler, Hugh Jackman, Yong Duk Jhun, Meg LeFauve, Tom McCarthy and Virgil Williams.

Gold Rising affords top film entertainment, technology, production services and digital media companies an opportunity to recruit and educate a nationwide pool of diverse talent.  To date, there are 365 past Gold Rising program participants.  The 2021 class is from 45 universities and is composed of 78% underrepresented racial/ethnic communities, 61% women, 43% LGBTQ+ and 17% with disability.

Academy Gold Rising is supported by a grant from The James Irvine Foundation.  Additional support is provided by The Walt Disney Company, Gucci Changemakers, and the Ruderman Family Foundation.

The Academy Gold Rising Production Track is made possible in part by the JPMorgan Chase Foundation and the Dwight Stuart Youth Fund. Other funding is provided by the Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture, Critics Choice Association in honour of Chadwick Boseman, and Leon Silverman.

Alongside the Academy, participating partners include AMC Networks, Annapurna Pictures, The Black List, BRON Studios, Circle of Confusion, Creative Artists Agency (CAA), DTS (part of Xperi Corporation), The Walt Disney Company, Dolby Laboratories, Evolve Entertainment Fund (Mayor’s Office), Formosa Group LLC, FotoKem, Fremantle, Illumination Entertainment, Monkeypaw Productions, Moving Picture Institute, NBCUniversal Filmed Entertainment Group, Paradigm Talent Agency, Paramount Pictures, Participant, Shout! Factory, Streamland Media, United Talent Agency (UTA) and WarnerMedia.

For more information about the Gold Rising program, visit here.

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