Ghetto Film School LA Kicks Off Program for Female Students to Expand Access to the Entertainment Industry

Mar 17, 2016 10:00 AM ET

As part of its commitment to offer new avenues into the entertainment industry, Ghetto Film School Los Angeles launched a new program exclusively for its female students this spring. Entitled "Iris-In: A GFS Program for Young Women," the semester-long class features top female producers and filmmakers currently working in Hollywood. 21st Century Fox co-founded GFS LA in June 2014, and since then, its executives and talent have taken a hands-on role in enhancing the students' education.

Independent film producer Erika Olde is spearheading the program, which launched at Ghetto Film School's New York campus in fall 2015. Olde told The Hollywood Reporter that the idea was born out of a realization that many young women hoping to enter the film industry often have limited opportunities.

"I felt like there was so much talent that really probably deserved to have a chance to be involved that didn't have the access," said Olde. "I really just felt like they could and should have a place to gain that access and to speak with people who have been in the business for a while and actually learn about the business itself as opposed to just the ins and outs of specifically making a movie."

The New York program hosted a number of notable female filmmakers, including Christine Vachon, who produced "Carol" and "Boys Don't Cry," as well as Rebecca Miller, who most recently wrote and directed "Maggie's Plan." The Los Angeles course will feature writer Lauren Blum and "Cake" producer Kristin Hahn as guest speakers. Olde hopes that being exposed to more women working in the industry will inspire the female students at GFS to keep working hard.

"If you're that passionate to get on a bus and be going back and forth for several hours, you must really be interested," she said. "I just feel like, why wouldn't you want them to have the same access as everyone else? They work so hard for it."

Based in MacArthur Park, GFS LA teaches filmmaking to young people from traditionally underserved communities through its 30-month immersion program in cinematic storytelling and production. The program is completely free of charge.

As a long-time supporter of GFS and co-founder of the LA campus, 21CF has dedicated significant resources to enriching the students' film education. GFS students get unprecedented access to 21CF executives and creatives, visit live sets on the Fox Studios lot, attend insider screenings of Fox film and TV premieres, and partner with company divisions to enhance their curriculum. Currently, GFS LA students are working with Fox to develop marketing promos for the upcoming Robert Kirkman series "Outcast."

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