×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

AMPAS Careers in Film Summit Makes Global Initiative in Second Year

Saturday marked the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ second annual Careers in Film Summit and the day-long event consisted of six panels where directors, actors, cinematographers, costume designers, set designers, editors, and more entertainment professionals discussed what it takes to make a career in the film industry. The six panels focused on a range of topics including getting your foot in the door, production, post-production, animation, and the business behind the film industry.

The Academy’s goal for the 2016 summit is to educate high school and college students about “how to direct your dream, how to figure out what you might be good at, your strengths, and how you can fit them into a career in the film industry,” according to Randy Haberkamp, the Academy’s managing director of preservation and foundation programs.

The first panel, “Above the Line,” centered on entrepreneurship and featured director Catherine Hardwicke, production executive James Lopez, writer-producer-director Ted Melfi, and actor Tyrese Gibson as keynote speakers. It was moderated by music producer Mike Muse of The White House’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative. The discussion touched on the panelists’ beginnings in Hollywood and trials and tribulations encountered along the way to stardom, as well as the driving forces behind their decision to keep plugging away at their dreams.

“The key to this business is the story. Everyone out here has a story and your story is just as interesting as the next person. Your story is what lives inside of you, it’s what needs to be heard and that’s what this business is all about,” said Melfi.

A key theme of the panel was developing the ability to pivot in one’s career. Melfi recently worked on the film “Hidden Figures,” coming to theaters Jan. 13, which centers on three African American women who worked for NASA in the ‘60s during a time of severe segregation and discrimination. He explained to the audience that when the script for the movie was initially brought to his attention, he was already set to direct the next Spider-Man film. However, instead of doing something that has already been done time and time again, he pivoted his career and chose to drop one film for the other.

“We have a responsibility to do something different with our entertainment, something that has an impact on society and on women and men. These movies are what make this country great again,” Melfi added.

Another central theme of the panel was escapism. Gibson encouraged the students with his non-stop motivation belief: “As crazy as it may sound, food is the reason I’m on the stage right now and food is the reason why I will stay on this stage. Everyday you wake up hungry and everyday I’m reminded why I work so hard.”

He went on, “Growing up I was always trying to escape my reality and I’m a firm believer in escapism, representing what seems to be impossible.”

Despite each panel’s unique message, Haberkamp said that he hopes for everyone to walk away from the summit with some clarity. “I really want students to come away, even if they say ‘This doesn’t sound like anything I’m interested in.’ That’s fine. I think it’s not a matter of our jobs having to be glamorous or exciting, or anything like that, but if you’re doing the right job it’s because you get some kind of enjoyment out of it.”

2016 is a year of firsts for the Academy’s Career in Film Summit. This year marks its first time live-streaming the summit for millions around the world. During its inaugural year the Academy chose against live-streaming the summit as it was so new, and they were unsure of how it would pan out. It is also the first year the summit will go international with its London office holding a panel of the same nature.

The Academy will be presenting its Careers in Film Summit–London on Friday, Nov. 11 at the Regent Street Cinema in London. Presented in partnership with the UK-based film education charity Into Film, the half-day event will feature three hour-long panels (panelists to be announced at a later date) and is in part of the Into Film Festival, the biggest youth-focused film festival in the world.

The Los Angeles summit concluded with six panels, which centered on a number of industry topics, including production, agency representation, music, and animation.

Popular on Variety

More Scene

  • Taron Egerton Elton John Rocketman Live

    Elton John and Taron Egerton Duet at 'Rocketman' Awards Season Event at the Greek Theatre

    “Rocketman” has officially launched into awards season. Paramount hosted a screening of the film with a live-performance of the score by the Hollywood Symphony Orchestra and a headlining performance by Elton John and the film’s star Taron Egerton. John and Egerton — who is in contention for best actor for his portrayal of the singer [...]

  • Hailee Steinfeld Dickinson Premiere

    Hailee Steinfeld, Jane Krakowski on What Modern Women Can Learn From Emily Dickinson

    Emily Dickinson lived in the 1800s, but if you ask the team behind Apple TV Plus’ upcoming series, “Dickinson,” her story is more current than ever. Hailee Steinfeld stars in the the modern-day retelling of the poet’s young life. The actress — who makes her first full-time foray into television with the role and also [...]

  • Don Cheadle

    ACLU Bill of Rights Gala to Honor Don Cheadle, Feature Appearances by Selena Gomez, Regina Hall

    The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California will honor “Avengers: Endgame” and “Black Monday” star Don Cheadle at the organization’s annual Bill of Rights dinner on Nov. 17 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Cheadle will be recognized for his activist work as an advocate for racial and gender equality, immigration reform, reproductive and LGBTQ [...]

  • Helen Mirren attends the LA Premiere

    Why Helen Mirren Considers Catherine the Great to Be 'Superhuman'

    It’s no secret that Dame Helen Mirren has a knack for nailing regal roles. Following her Oscar-winning on-screen reign as Queen Elizabeth II back in 2006, the thespian brings yet another powerful ruler to life in HBO’s limited mini-series “Catherine the Great.” Just as she does on the small screen as Russian Empress Catherine II, [...]

  • Taika Waititi Jojo Rabbit Premiere

    Why Director Taika Waititi Decided to Play Adolf Hitler in 'Jojo Rabbit'

    “Fox Searchlight blackmailed me into doing it,” Taika Waititi told Variety of playing Adolf Hilter in “Jojo Rabbit” at the film’s premiere at American Legion Post 43 on Tuesday night in Hollywood. Staying mum when asked which other actors had been on his wish list to play the role, Waititi explained why he eventually decided [...]

  • Jessica Biel Limetown Premiere

    Why 'Limetown' Star & Producer Jessica Biel Thought the Show Was Based on a True Story

    In a world of increasingly outlandish headlines, the story behind “Limetown” — in which an entire community in rural Tennessee disappears overnight — seems plausible. Even Jessica Biel, who executive produces and stars in the Facebook Watch television adaptation of the hit 2015 podcast, was initially convinced that it was real. “I just thought I [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content