New partnership will train high school students to work in the film industry

Local News

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — CNY Film Professionals announced on Monday night at the CNY Film Conference that the group has a new partnership with the Syracuse City School District.

Students will be able to take classes to learn about the film industry through the Career Technological Education Program.

“We really want to make this very inclusive for the students of the Syracuse City School District because the film industry can seem very difficult to get into. It can be this monolithic that you can’t find a door into. So, what we want to do is provide that door. We want to have an open door where people can come through and they can find their way to the film set,” said Elias Gwinn, president of CNY Film Professionals.

It’s part of Mayor Ben Walsh’s Syracuse Surge, a strategy for inclusive growth in the new economy. The idea is to create a more inclusive film set and hopefully, boost our film industry and economy.

“When you look at what’s working really well for them, a lot of it is through their career and technical programs,” said Walsh. “It’s really a perfect match, it builds off of what we’re doing with Surge, it builds off of the STEAM school where we’re incorporating arts into the traditional STEM curriculum.”

Students like Malika Ghazai and Hunter Barney at the Institute Of Technology At Syracuse Central are excited to take the course soon.

“Having that prior experience is going to help me get into better, successful positions,” said Ghazai, a senior at ITC.

“It’s set up to give the foundations for professionalism on a film set,” said Gwinn. “Even if you wanna work in carpentry on a film set to build the backgrounds, they need to know the things that will be taught in this class.”

The man who helped develop the curriculum, Jeff Newell a teacher at ITC, said the 10-week course is focused on communication and safety, to train students to be production assistants in specific departments like grip, carpentry, props, and makeup, etc.

“Other people who don’t have programs like this only know what they want to do, while I know what I want to do and how to do it,” said Barney, a senior at ITC.

Newell hopes the course will start in the Spring. “A 400 level CTE program is the prerequisite,” said Newell.

If a teacher is willing to teach this syllabus at a CTE program, Newell hopes they will pick it up.

“If we continue to build that pipeline, provide our young people with the skills they need to be successful in the film industry, then we expect more film opportunities to come our way, which ultimately is good for the economy,” said Walsh.

The new partnership was done in coordination with CenterState CEO and its advancing cities program sponsored by JP Morgan Chase.


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