Film2Future Champions Opportunity and Diversity in the Entertainment Industry.
For Rachel Miller, it was a gnawing feeling that something should and could be done to both benefit youngsters from underserved neighborhoods and augment the diversity pipeline in Hollywood. Miller, a film executive, had taught low-income students at a public school in Manhattan to pay for her NYU Tisch School of the Arts tuition, and there witnessed firsthand the socioeconomic gap that hindered the students from succeeding.
When she later began working in the film industry, ultimately as a founding partner of the production and management firm Haven Entertainment, she got another bird’s-eye view — this time around of the lack of diverse entry-level talent on all sides of the industry due to systemic barriers.
These insights and the aspiration to help address both issues led her to found Film2Future in 2016. The non-profit is designed for underserved teenagers, 14 to 18, and strives to increase their access to paid internships and entertainment careers, as well as college, through filmmaking and content creation education.
“I saw that if you don’t have … tutors and computers and books and summer activities and flashcards and healthy food, and all the things you need to compete, you start falling behind faster and faster. … And so that experience really stuck with me,” she says of her years teaching.
Then, while immersed in Hollywood, “I kept being in meetings where people would say, ‘We’re desperate to find qualified diverse candidates but we can’t find anyone,’” she adds. “I realized that if we’re really going to make changes, we have to look at programs and build real pipelines in the industry, but we have to look at it in a 360 way.”
Film2Future does just that by offering what Miller calls “zero-barrier entry” into its programs. Participants receive free tuition, are granted use of computers, cameras, sound equipment and Final Draft, Ableton and Adobe software, and provided with school supplies, food and transportation. Classes in life skills such as financial literacy and self-advocacy, as well as career skills like how to work in teams, write a resume, build a portfolio, create a LinkedIn profile and interview for jobs, are also taught.
The four-year March-through-November curriculum, typically hosted at studios and ad agencies, introduces students to film production through education in narrative filmmaking, animation, emerging technologies such as virtual reality and advertising. They learn the full arc of the moviemaking process from pre-to post-production and beyond, including crafting screenplays and storyboards, scheduling and directing shoots, editing for visuals and sound, marketing and distribution and more. Projects range from short films to animatics to PSAs.
Read the rest of Opening Doors: Film2Future Champions Opportunity and Diversity in the Entertainment Industry via the Diversity in Action digital publication.