Ghetto Film School’s teen filmmakers have scripts read by Hollywood stars at event co-hosted by James Murdoch and Brett Ratner

by

A cast of Hollywood actors including Max Greenfield (“New Girl”), Grace Gealey (“Empire”), Dascha Polanco (“Joy”) and others gathered at the legendary Hilhaven Lodge in Beverly Hills to perform two short-film scripts written by teenage students from Ghetto Film School. The May 25 table reading event, co-hosted by 21st Century Fox CEO and GFS board member James Murdoch, served as both a celebration of and a fundraiser for the organization, which teaches filmmaking to young people from communities traditionally underrepresented in Hollywood. 21CF is a longtime supporter of GFS, helping provide its students with an immersive education in both the craft and business of filmmaking. The company is also the founding sponsor of GFS Los Angeles, which opened its doors in June 2014.

The star-studded event featured appearances from “Pitch” executive producer Dan Fogelman, Mariah Carey, Jonathan Togo (“CSI: Miami”) and Elizabeth Whitson (“Awkward”), as well as Chairman and CEO of Twentieth Century Fox Film Jim Gianopulos, Co-Chairman of Twentieth Century Fox Film Stacey Snider, and President of Fox 2000 Pictures Elizabeth Gabler.

GFS operates at two locations, one in the South Bronx of New York City and another in the MacArthur Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. The table read event featured scripts written by students at both campuses. Actor Jamie Hector of “The Wire” and “Bosch” took the lead role in “Genesis,” a psychological horror-thriller written by Romeo Ortiz and directed by Kyra Peters, both from GFS New York. “Ghost of a Chance,” a comedy written by GFS LA student Gillian Lyons, featured Greenfield and Simon Helberg (“The Big Bang Theory”) in lead roles. “I’m here to give [the students] an opportunity to have semi-professional actors like myself butcher their words in front of really important people,” Helberg joked.

Following the read-throughs, a panel of filmmakers including directors and GFS Board Members David O. Russell and Lee Daniels, as well as director Brett Ratner and The Black List founder Franklin Leonard, offered notes and spoke with the students about screenwriting and production. “This script is very funny. You had your audience laughing out loud, which is hard to do,” Russell commented to Lyons. “Considering you’re 17 years old, I’d go so far as to say you have a gift,” Franklin added, with Ratner recommending she get started right away on a feature-length version.

The experience of hearing their scripts read aloud by professional actors and receiving feedback from some of Hollywood’s top directors proved both exciting and valuable for the students. “[It was] incredible,” Lyons said afterward. The two student teams will shoot the scripts they presented at the event in London this summer.

21CF is dedicated to giving GFS students opportunities to gain hands-on experience in film and television. Recently, GFS NY students visit the Fox Studios Lot in Los Angeles for a day of workshops and masterclass conversations with several of the company’s top executives. In addition, students at GFS LA recently partnered with Fox Networks Group Global Marketing for their spring Industry 101 course, where they developed digital promos for new series premiering this summer.

Here are some photos from the table read event:

Photo by Dan Steinberg/Invision for Ghetto Film School/AP Images
President and CEO of Twentieth Century Fox Film Jim Gianopulos, CEO of 21st Century Fox and GFS board member James Murdoch, Ghetto Film School LA Executive Director Stosh Mintek, and Brett Ratner attend the Ghetto Film School Table Read event held at Brett Ratner’s Hilhaven Lodge in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Wednesday, May 25, 2016.

Photo by Dan Steinberg/Invision for Ghetto Film School/AP Images
Founder and President of Ghetto Film School Joe Hall, CEO of 21st Century Fox and GFS board member James Murdoch, and Ghetto Film School LA Executive Director Stosh Mintek attend the Ghetto Film School Table Read event held at Brett Ratner’s Hilhaven Lodge in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Wednesday, May 25, 2016.

Photo by Dan Steinberg/Invision for Ghetto Film School/AP Images
Jamie Hector, David O. Russell, and President and CEO of Twentieth Century Fox Film Jim Gianopulos attend the Ghetto Film School Table Read event held at Brett Ratner’s Hilhaven Lodge in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Wednesday, May 25, 2016.

Photo by Dan Steinberg/Invision for Ghetto Film School/AP Images
Brett Ratner, Fox 2000 Pictures President Elizabeth Gabler, David O. Russell, and President and CEO of Twentieth Century Fox Film Jim Gianopulos attend the Ghetto Film School Table Read event held at Brett Ratner’s Hilhaven Lodge in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Wednesday, May 25, 2016.

Photo by Dan Steinberg/Invision for Ghetto Film School/AP Images
Max Greenfield and Simon Helberg attend the Ghetto Film School Table Read event held at Brett Ratner’s Hilhaven Lodge in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Wednesday, May 25, 2016.

Photo by Dan Steinberg/Invision for Ghetto Film School/AP Images
Lee Daniels and David O. Russell attend the Ghetto Film School Table Read event held at Brett Ratner’s Hilhaven Lodge in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Wednesday, May 25, 2016.

Photo by Dan Steinberg/Invision for Ghetto Film School/AP Images
Jonathan Togo, Tony Revolori, Simon Helberg and students attend the Ghetto Film School Table Read event held at Brett Ratner’s Hilhaven Lodge in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Wednesday, May 25, 2016.

Visit Vanity Fair for a recap of the event, and learn more about Ghetto Film School.