Internship Program alumnus, College Television Award winner and Emmy-winning animator, writer, director Jorge Gutierrez recently signed an overall deal with Netflix to write, direct, and produce new animated films, series and interactive projects for preschool, children, family and adult audiences via his Mexopolis production company. Jorge’s upcoming animated limited series, Maya and the Three, will premiere on the streaming giant in 2021. In an interview earlier this year, Jorge shared the impact of the Foundation on his career trajectory.
The Television Academy Foundation believed in me when I was just starting on my journey and gave me the confidence to dream big! I am eternally thankful.
40TH COLLEGE TELEVISION AWARDS
The College Television Awards were among the first awards shows to embrace a virtual format in response to COVID-19. The re-imagined program honored excellence in student-produced television, and included a significant virtual College Television Summit. All student nominees received three days of professional development, including networking, essential skill-building workshops, industry panels and “virtual visits” with television pros from their specific fields of interest.
Panels included "The Building Blocks of Reality Television" with Endemol Shine's nonfiction series executives Michael Heyerman and DJ Nurre, Extreme Makeover Home Edition showrunner Brady Connell and LEGO Masters showrunner Anthony Dominici; "From Script to Screen" with STARZ's Vida series creator, executive producer and showrunner Tanya Saracho; "A Conversation with FilmLA" with President Paul Audley; "The Making of HBO's Insecure" with executive producers Amy Aniobi and Jim Kleverweis, and HBO's Vice President of Production Natasha Foster-Owens; plus a session focused on navigating an uncertain job market facilitated by Creative Arts Agency executive Ruben Garcia. KIA Motors America, a first time sponsor of the Television Academy Foundation, underwrote student cash prizes, and the Loreen Arbus Foundation provided the Focus on Disability Scholarship for the tenth year. Additional partners included PEOPLE, Warner Media, CAA, FilmLA, Johnny Carson Foundation, Technicolor, and United Airlines.
INTERNS AND FELLOWS 2020
As we pivoted to capitalize on digital platforms, the first-ever, virtual internship program continued to launch the careers of talented students by connecting them with television leaders and innovators. The Foundation took the challenge of distance learning as an opportunity to expand its programs by creating a fellowship curriculum - which will continue into 2021 and beyond. As students are frequently reminded, the industry shifts and grows to meet an ever-changing landscape and so does the Foundation.
Interns and our inaugural class of fellows joined weekly professional development webinars with some of the industry’s top talent. Internship Program alumna Gina Prince-Bythewood spoke with students about her career journey, from writing on A DIfferent World, to writing and directing her first feature film, Love and Basketball, to returning to TV with Shots Fired and Netflix’s The Old Guard starring Charlize Theron. A keynote conversation featured Amazon Studios executives Albert Cheng (Chief Operating Officer and Co-Head of Television) and Vernon Sanders (Co-Head of Television) and their insights into resuming production during the coronavirus pandemic, navigating the new normal, and advice for job-seekers.
The summer of 2020 also saw the liftoff of our first Star Trek Command Training Program class in partnership with CBS Studios. This partnership will continue in 2021 for spring and summer programs.
Finally, six of our interns and fellows were hired full-time at their host companies -- proving that the global pandemic did not impede the Foundation’s commitment to access, training, and work opportunities for the next generation of TV creators.
FACULTY SEMINAR: THE CONFERENCE
Faculty Seminar: The Conference presented by KIA Motors America brought together more professors than ever before in its first-ever online format. The annual conference for media arts educators brought the television industry into their homes for six webinars over three days covering the state of the art of TV.
Kicking off with a keynote conversation with Tina Perry, president of OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, Faculty Seminar: The Conference also featured in-depth conversations with actors, showrunners, casting directors, costume designers, producers, executive directors, and more. Apple TV+ partnered with the Foundation to shed light on how an idea journeys from script to screen including casting and story development with their show Little America. Cast and crew from TV shows such as Schitt’s Creek, This Is Us and Full Frontal with Samantha Bee discussed many topics including what it’s like working during the COVID-19 pandemic, all of which will make their way into college curricula as college educators bring this invaluable information back to the classroom. Britbox facilitated a conversation on creativity in a time of crisis, where panelists discussed the grit required to continue to produce great TV during the pandemic.
There’s so much more access than I thought there was. It’s incredible! – Adriana Brogger (Associate Professor at San Joaquin Delta College, Stockton, CA)
As somebody who is heavily involved in administrative work and curriculum design, this is definitely something I can bring back to the classroom. - Wenhwa Ts’ao (Professor at Columbia College, Chicago, IL)
POWER OF TV 2020
The Power of TV -- the Foundation’s public program showcasing the potential influence that television has to drive positive social change -- entered its third year with a conversation on the history of racism and gender codes in Hollywood, followed by a fall panel focused on the representation of homelessness on TV.
KIA Motors America contributed $2 million this year to organizations helping homeless youth and the Foundation was grateful for their support when The Power of TV tackled this timely conversation on the impact of housing insecurity and homelessness on families and how this issue is portrayed on television. There are potentially significant implications and influences on our society based on what - and who - we see represented on television. Characters, stories, and storytellers have a dramatic impact on the world and can advance awareness and discussion on important issues to a national conversation.
Since its inception, The Power of TV has curated conversations with storytellers, experts, and advocates challenging the status quo and exploring the pathway to future inclusion of underrepresented voices on screen and behind the scenes. The Foundation will continue to use this platform to engage the industry in meaningful conversations that lead to positive changes in representing all communities with authentic stories.
The Interviews - the Foundation’s archive featuring oral history interviews with television legends - continues to further its goal of long-term preservation. In 2020 The Interviews team began safeguarding access to its robust collection - now over 900 interviews strong - for generations to come.
With the support of key donors and the Foundation team’s careful stewardship, an important phase of digitization and preservation will begin in earnest in 2021. The Interviews team, working in collaboration with a digital preservation partner, will oversee the digitization and preservation of its tape-based media over the next three years.
Meanwhile, The Interviews continues to collect, transcribe, catalog and make its interviews publicly accessible. You can watch the most recent additions to The Interviews now, along with hundreds of archived materials that make up the oral history of television.