Ghetto Film School L.A. is adding a new program to its curriculum. A new class, “Iris-In: A Ghetto Film School Program for Young Women,” will be offered to female students.
The nonprofit will welcome female industry vets to the class, including writer and journalist Lauren Blum and producer Kristin Hahn (“Cake”).
The program, which launched at Ghetto Film School New York last fall, was pitched by producer Erika Olde (“November Criminals”). Olde had the advantage of preexisting connections in the industry when she began her career, but realized that most young women wouldn’t have the same kinds of opportunities she did.
“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.”
Olde has been instrumental in organizing visits from speakers for both Los Angeles and New York. Producer Christine Vachon (“Carol”) and writer-director Rebecca Miller (“Maggie’s Plan”) are among the distinguished guests that have spoken with students in New York.
“It was great that it was coming from outside of the organization from someone who had this idea and wanted to help leverage their own interest, but also their contacts and network,” explained Ghetto Film School founder Joe Hall. “I thought it was quite generous of her to bring that forward.”
Olde spearheaded the programs in both New York and Los Angeles. In Los Angeles, the program is open only to current students. In New York, both students and alumnae can enroll in “Iris-In.”
Olde recalled overhearing an encouraging conversation between “Iris-In” peers. The student “was saying to another classmate that she was so glad that there were no boys in the class because they really kind of felt further kinship to each other,” a feeling that Olde sensed was amplified by the fact that “they really felt just kind of like it was cool for them to be focused on.”
The Ghetto Film School has been operating for over a decade. Hall first introduced the School in the summer of 2000 in response to the lack of diversity in his grad classes at the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California.
What began as a summer arts program gradually became the first — and only — film high school in the U.S., The Cinema School, located in the Bronx. Ghetto Film School expanded by launching in Los Angeles in 2014. The California-based iteration of the school is a 30-month program for teens.
[via The Hollywood Reporter]