Los Angeles is set to get a new specialized academy focused on film and television production, and a host of Hollywood A-listers are backing the school as founding members.
George Clooney, Kerry Washington, Don Cheadle, Eva Longoria, Mindy Kaling, Grant Heslov and Nicole Avant, along with Working Title’s Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner and CAA’s Bryan Lourd have joined forces with the Los Angeles Unified School District to found The Roybal School of Film and Television Production.
The specialized academy, housed within the Edward R. Roybal Learning Center in the Westlake area of Los Angeles, is set to launch in Fall 2022 as a magnet school and is part of an effort to drive transformational change across the entertainment industry for students from underserved communities.
The founding members will serve on the Roybal School of Film and Television Production Advisory Board, lending their expertise and support to build a more inclusive pipeline of career-ready talent for the film and television industry.
Backers of the project say the school will provide LAUSD teachers with access to renowned storytellers, along with industry professionals and experts, and support students with robust academic education and practical training, establishing a clear pathway to good-paying jobs. The school’s inaugural program, to be overseen by Principal Blanca Cruz, will feature a specifically designed curriculum developed to meet the standards prescribed by the state of California and the University of California system. Additionally, students will receive real-world experience through a dedicated internship program.
The Roybal School will start with ninth- and 10th-grade students and include Grades 11 and 12 over the next two years, with the potential opportunity to expand the pilot program to more schools throughout the Los Angeles area.
“This effort will help open the doors of opportunity for a diverse group of students from underserved communities,” LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner said in a statement. “This groundbreaking program will help prepare students for good-paying jobs in the film and television industry by integrating practical industry experience and internships for students into the curriculum.”
“Our aim is to better reflect the diversity of our country. That means starting early. It means creating high school programs that teach young people about cameras, and editing and visual effects and sound and all the career opportunities that this industry has to offer. It means internships that lead to well-paying careers. It means understanding that we’re all in this together,” Clooney said in a statement.
Avant added: “Everyone involved with this effort understands the need to create points of access: access to resources, information, skills, and mentorship. It is our hope that every guild and company across the entertainment industry landscape joins our efforts to build a bridge to opportunity.”
“The combination of education and hands-on training opens up life-changing opportunities,” CAA’s Lourd said. “We invite every interested and committed person and company in our industry to join this effort. We have the collective power to accelerate the academic and professional trajectories of so many students and bring about positive change.”