At Ghetto Film School’s first annual Fall Benefit in Los Angeles on Thursday, Oct. 6, 21st Century Fox CEO and GFS board member James Murdoch was honored for his involvement in the nonprofit, which gives young, aspiring storytellers in historically underrepresented communities an immersive film education and hands-on industry experience. 21CF, founding sponsor of GFS’s expansion to Los Angeles in 2014, is now funding all of GFS’s core costs for the next three years and has been a longtime supporter of the program. Beyond financial backing, 21CF provides the students access to filmmakers, executives and talent from its many film and television companies.
“I’m tremendously humbled to be honored by Ghetto Film School tonight and am grateful to have been part of their expansion from New York to the heart of this industry in Los Angeles,” James said during his remarks. “But the real honor belongs to the GFS staff and its students, and all of you here who are supporting the next generation of great American storytellers.”
He went on to talk about the natural fit between 21CF and GFS because of their “shared belief in the power of stories and storytellers, and the vibrancy that diversity brings to the business of ideas.”
The Fall Benefit was GFS’s first gala in L.A. since opening its campus there in June 2014. GFS was founded in the South Bronx, New York, in 2000.
“GFS provides a unique pipeline for original and underrepresented voices,” James said. “It is creating a new pathway into Hollywood that is so badly needed. And while we have a collective responsibility to open the gates, we have an even bigger opportunity to bring some of the world’s brightest and most passionate new storytellers into the fold.”
Tony Brown, executive director of community youth organization Heart of Los Angeles, was also honored at GFS’s Fall Benefit.
The event was hosted at Academy Award-winning producer Brian Grazer’s home in Santa Monica, California. Guests included Bradley Cooper, J.J. Abrams, David O. Russell, Brett Ratner, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, Rachel Roy, Sterling K. Brown, Terry Crews and Hannah Simone.
To learn more about the partnership, watch our new video about GFS and 21CF below. It was filmed and directed by Digital Bodega, GFS’s full-service boutique production company based in the South Bronx that employs GFS program graduates and sends 100 percent of its profits back to GFS.
About Ghetto Film School: GFS serves more than 1,000 talented and motivated individuals ages 14-35 annually, free of charge. It cultivates a largely untapped group of next generation creative thinkers through two tracks: a pre-professional, narrative filmmaking educational model; and an early career talent pipeline for opportunities in the creative and media sectors. The organization’s national creative education model uses multimedia storytelling and production training to develop broad-based 21st century skills. Students are equipped for top universities and the modern workforce by studying this industrial, collaborative process through their Fellows Program, The Cinema School, Digital Bodega and The Roster.