A group of high-profile celebrities, including actors Eva Longoria, George Clooney, Kerry Washington, Don Cheadle, and Mindy Kaling, are teaming together to solve one of the root causes of the lack of diversity in Hollywood film crews: lack of access to education.
According to Reuters, this group is working with educational officials in Los Angeles to open a school that will train teenagers for a range of film production jobs like cinematography, editing, and visual effects. The Roybal School of Film and Television Production, which is set to open next year, will operate from the Edward R. Roybal Learning Center located in L.A.’s predominantly Latinx Westlake district.
“Our aim is to better reflect the diversity of our country,” Clooney says in a statement. “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.”
Longoria and the other celebrities plan to sit on the school’s board and underwrite approximately 20 percent of the starting $7-million budget, according to Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Beutner. Beutner states that funds like this provide a “margin of excellence beyond what public funding can do.”
Oscar-winning producer Grant Heslov (Argo) added: “You want a more diverse crew, but there’s just not enough trained people out there.”
With the Edward R. Roybal Learning Center, teens who aspire to work in Hollywood will now have a new opportunity to pursue their dreams.
“Everyone is recognizing that the industry needs to do better,” Clooney adds. “There’s a moment in time where it gets easier to do things.”