George Clooney, Kerry Washington, Don Cheadle co-found film academy for underserved LA students

LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles Unified School District is bringing a little star power to its newest venture.

The district unveiled plans Monday for its Roybal School of Film and Television Production, intended to help nurture an array of Hollywood-centric career paths while simultaneously diversifying the broader entertainment industry, KTLA reported.

A-list actors such as George Clooney, Kerry Washington, Don Cheadle, Eva Longoria and Mindy Kaling are already attached to the magnet program, slated to welcome its first students in the fall of 2022, Variety reported.

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“Our aim is to better reflect the diversity of our country. That means starting early. It means creating high school programs that teach young people about cameras and editing and visual effects and sound and all the career opportunities that this industry has to offer,” Clooney said in a prepared statement.

Specifically, the film academy is designed to provide students with robust academics, alongside practical training and access to “renowned storytellers and other industry professionals and experts from Hollywood,” Variety reported.

“It means internships that lead to well-paying careers. It means understanding that we’re all in this together,” Clooney added.

Overseen by Principal Blanca Cruz, the school will start with ninth- and 10th-grade students before expanding to 11th and 12th grades over the next two years, Variety reported.

“This effort will help open the doors of opportunity for a diverse group of students from underserved communities,” LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner said in a prepared statement, calling the program “groundbreaking.”

“Physics is involved in the choice of a lens by a cinematographer. Math is part of the foundation for a musical score in a film. Critical thinking skills are needed to design a set. Screenwriters need a foundation in literacy, and a make-up artist needs to know the chemistry of the different materials they might use. All of this will be tied into the curriculum at the school,” Beutner added.

The pilot program will be housed at the Edward R. Roybal Learning Center campus in Los Angeles, but district officials have not ruled out the possibility that the academy could eventually be replicated on LAUSD campuses, KTLA reported.

According to its website, the center currently provides four thematic, small-learning communities focused on medicine; business and finance; computer science; and social work and child development.