LA2050 Grants Challenge applications are open now through June 28th, 2024.
2023 Grants Challenge

CineSessions High School Media Mentorship Program

NFMLA's CineSessions High School Student Media Mentorship Program invites LA County High School students to participate in an array of opportunities that are offered on a monthly basis throughout the year. These interactive programs explore various areas of entertainment, including but not limited to production opportunities and general careers in media. The program is focused on diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility and offers students access to career pathways and education while serving as a workforce development tool for residents.


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

Access to Creative Industry Employment (sponsored by the Snap Foundation)

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

County of Los Angeles

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

We are seeking to provide opportunities for underrepresented and income impacted High School youth in Los Angeles to learn and explore career pathways in media. We understand that access to creative industry employment for many students and families in Los Angeles is far out of reach. We also understand that BIPOC and income impacted youth have even more of a challenge in exploring careers in media, arts, culture and creative industries. Furthermore, location in LA county is another factor that impacts access for those who want to explore creative field careers and/or after school extracurricular activities.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

NFMLA's CineSessions High School Student Media Mentorship Program directly addresses access by offering 220 career based after-school training opportunities for LA youth annually in an array various areas of entertainment, including but not limited to production opportunities and general careers in media. CineSessions programming has created meaningful partnerships with organizations such as NBCU Academy, where students who participate in this program gain real world professional experience, build their resume and expand their connections in the media industry. Thanks for our partnership with NBC, we are able to host 12 students each month for after-school mentorship opportunities on the NBCUniversal lot in North Hollywood (Universal City). Our initiative works as a career readiness pipeline and combats the lack of diversity in media by giving underrepresented Greater Los Angeles area High School students the opportunity to learn about media through one-on-one mentorships with working professionals. To date, we have worked with over 39 Greater LA County area High Schools to recruit students. These schools have stretched as far north as Palmdale, as far south as Irvine, as far east as Duarte and as far west as Calabasas, though 95+% of our schools and students are LA County based.

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

The inaugural NFMLA CineSessions program launched in 2018 and funded 39 one-on-one mentorships for High School Students in LA County over a one-year period. After a successful inaugural year, our 2019 funding was increased, which allowed NFMLA to accommodate 52 one-on-one mentorships over a one-year period. We again increased capacity for the program in 2021 to serve 78 students annually and 2023 are proud to be offering over 220 slots. A major effort and achievement of this program has been in serving female and minority students. The program has achieved complete gender parity with 95+% of students being minorities that reflect the population of LA County. If we can continue building this program, we can expect to see greater representation in the media industry, growth of creative industries career pathway opportunities for underrepresented and income impacted students and more mentorship and education hours allocated for high school students in the area of workforce development.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

We provide students with surveys post-program and adjust future editions based on their feedback. We continue offering students one-year of educational and workforce training programming post their initial experience with us. We support their efforts to apply for college and bring them together at the end of each year with other training programs in LA County at a ceremony that acknowledges their commitment to furthering their education and opportunities:

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 220

Indirect Impact: 220

Describe the role of collaborating organizations on this project.