Olivia Wilde, helmers David O. Russell and Lee Daniels converged at The Standard Biergarten June 18 to support the Ghetto Film School’s 10th annual spring benefit, during which several aspiring young filmmakers are presented with scholarships to further their dreams.
Russell, Daniels and Wilde took time before the dinner to speak with several former graduates of The Cinema School, which Ghetto Film School helped open in the Bronx in 2009. Board members Daniels and Russell, longtime proponents of The Ghetto Film School, visited the school and its L.A. location, respectively, leading up to the event.
“I think this is great to support youth in a beer garden. I support that,” Wilde said, kicking off the scholarship presentation. “How cool is it that Criterion gave everybody a film at their seats? I think that’s so cool. I appreciate that. Not that kids know what a DVD is anymore, like, what is this ancient thing? But I think it’s so cool.”
After the scholarship presentation, founder Joe Hall introduced former commissioner of NYC Mayor’s Office of Media & Entertainment Katherine Oliver, this year’s 2014 GFS Champion Award recipient. Hall thanked The Standard for closing down the Biergarten for their event, especially when the venue has been filled for World Cup games.
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“If any of you have ever been here in June on a Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, you know this place is printing money,” Hall said. “I haven’t seen anyone this evening with a Cameroonian or Croatian flag on their face, but if you’re here for the game you’re in the wrong place.”
Chairman of the Board Evan Shapiro closed out the event with some colorful remarks.
“I am the last thing between you and partying down,” he said referring to the afterparty. “I know that only 20 of you paid to be here, which means the rest of you are drinking my alcohol for free.”
On a serious note, Shapiro talked about the thought behind the naming of Ghetto Film School.
“Why the name Ghetto? There’s a ghetto. It’s in Hollywood. And it’s filled with people that look a lot like me. We are here to diversify our industry to save our industry,” he said.
(Pictured: Joe Hall, David O. Russell, Olivia Wilde and Lee Daniels attend the Ghetto Film School 10th annual spring benefit at The Standard Biergarten.)