Yara Shahidi And Issa Rae Backed Nonprofit ‘Ghetto Film School’ Names First Black Woman CEO

If both Issa Rae and Yara Shahidi support something, you know it’s worth paying attention to.

Award-winning nonprofit Ghetto Film School (GFS), an organization that provides cost-free high level film training for thousands of storytellers has garnered praise from Olivia Wilde, Sebastian Stan, Spike Lee, Yara Shahidi, Chloe Zhao, John Legend, Chloe x Halle, among others.

The organization just upped the ante with its newly appointed CEO, Montea Robinson, the first Black woman to fill the role, according to a statement from their team.

A GFS alumna, she will be at the helm of leading the non-profit organization in its expansion plans and enhancing career opportunities for its students.

“Whether you know how to write a script or point a camera, we’re going to put a camera in your hands and get you to shoot something with it,” she said in an exclusive interview with Variety. “You’re writing, shooting, directing all of the work…We see filmmaking as a craft that we want to teach our students, but also as a secondary education that helps them understand the agency they have over their own story.”

Launched in 2000, the Ghetto Film School supports 8,000 students from 14 to 34, with locations in New York City, Los Angeles and London. It offers two robust programs that include a fellowship which is an introductory education program for high school students, and Roster gives early-career support to young professionals.

“When you think of the future of GFS, going deeper is more important than building scale,” Robinson said to Variety. “We want to take a look at where we are right now and we want to strengthen that foundation.”

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