- The Academy Gold program will go virtual for its fourth year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced it will continue its fourth year of Academy Gold virtually and will partner with 19 companies. The program is an industry internship enhancement and mentorship program for students and young professionals from underrepresented communities.
The participating partners include AMC Networks, Bron Studios, Circle of Confusion, Creative Artists Agency (CAA), The Walt Disney Company, Dolby Laboratories, DTS (part of Xperi Corporation), FotoKem, HBO, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Evolve Entertainment Fund, Moving Picture Institute, Panavision/Light Iron, Paradigm Talent Agency, Paramount Pictures, Participant Media, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Telsey + Company, Universal Filmed Entertainment Group and Warner Bros.
The program will go on this some virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic with an extension program in the fall for those students whose summer internships were put on hold due to the health crisis.
“We are so thankful for our industry partners, who share the Academy’s commitment to creating meaningful opportunities that move the needle on inclusion in our community,” said Academy governor and Education and Outreach Committee chair Nancy Utley. “Their support is integral to the success of Academy Gold, and we commend them on finding innovative ways to continue their internship programs during this challenging and uncertain time.”
“In the face of a pandemic and our continued efforts to drive equity in our industry, the decision on whether or not to proceed with the Academy Gold program this summer was very clear,” said Academy COO Christine Simmons. “Our pipeline program is even more critical at a time when underrepresented communities are being disproportionately affected by COVID-19. The needs are heightened, and we are dedicated to delivering an educational, fun and rewarding virtual experience for these students and young professionals that will change their trajectory in our industry.”
Each partner will will sponsor up to three of their interns for the program with a two-day orientation that includes Academy governors, members and other industry speakers, studio and agency panels, and virtual tours of the Academy’s Film Archive, Margaret Herrick Library and Academy Museum of Motion Pictures. The program will kick off today.
This summer’s program has 74 students (including 19 interns placed within the Academy) from across the United States. The eight-week program, which concludes with a graduation ceremony on August 8, offers participants networking opportunities with Academy members and industry professionals, a variety of panel discussions on every aspect of filmmaking, and career preparation sessions.
It will also include a production track with online technical workshops and masterclasses for students interested in cinematography, costume design, production design, film editing and sound. If production resumes in Los Angeles in the fall, and guidelines permit, these 30 students will have the opportunity to gain hands-on experience shooting scenes on a soundstage and spend time on active productions shadowing various departments.
Participants include students from Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Evolve Entertainment Fund, Los Angeles Trade-Technical College, Pasadena Community College, Santa Monica College, Los Angeles Film School, New York Film Academy, Exceptional Minds and the Ruderman Family Foundation.
Academy members and industry professionals will participate in panels discussing their crafts, including Stephanie Allain (producer); Victoria Alonso (EVP, Production, Marvel Studios); Annie Chang (VP, Creative Technologies, Universal Pictures); Matthew Cherry (writer-director); Jon M. Chu (director); Julie Ann Crommett (VP, Multicultural Audience Engagement, The Walt Disney Studios); Michael Goi (cinematographer); Tiffany Haddish (actor); Reginald Hudlin (producer-director); Franklin Leonard (founder and CEO, The Black List); Patrushkha Mierzwa (sound technician); Rachel Morrison (cinematographer); Daryn Okada (cinematographer); Academy President David Rubin (casting director); Kimberly Snyder (CEO, Panavision); Wynn P. Thomas (production designer); Karen Rupert Toliver (EVP, Creative, Sony Pictures Animation); Mark Ulano (sound mixer); and Mary Vogt (costume designer), among others.
Once the program is complete, Gold interns will be paired with an Academy member for an eight-month mentorship.
The Academy Gold Production Track is made possible in part by the JPMorgan Chase Foundation. Additional support for Academy Gold is provided by The Walt Disney Company, Warner Bros., Ruderman Family Foundation, Los Angeles County Department of Arts and Culture, Leon Silverman, and Charles de Limur.
For more information about the Academy Gold program, visit oscars.org/AcademyGoldProgram.