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Lifetime has partnered with Fresh Films on a strategic alliance that will provide young women a paid apprentice on the set of Lifetime movies filming this summer.
Fresh Films, which is headquartered on the campus of Augustana College in Illinois, is a national nonprofit that aims to provide diverse, college-age youth across the country with the skills they need to go to pursue careers as media-makers, creators and leaders.
The alliance will give youth who trained in Fresh Films’ yearly training program the chance to work on the set of Lifetime movies. It’s part of the network’s Broader Focus initiative, which aims to support and hire female directors, writers and producers with a goal of having more women, especially women of color, in critical production roles.
Fresh Films creates films, TV shows and documentaries while training youth in all aspects of the entertainment industry as they collaborate on-set, rotating through a range of film positions — from camera and sound, to editing and effects — to learn technical and workplace skills for college and future careers.
“As a film production company and training ground for youth working in the entertainment industry, Fresh Films recruits a diverse, underserved population that includes all ethnicities, genders and backgrounds,” said Kelli Feigley, founder and managing director at Fresh Films. “Research shows us that many youth of color and young women do not think they are capable of working in media or entertainment, so we are very excited to partner with Lifetime, as this will immensely help these diverse creators learn the skills necessary for jobs in the TV industry and beyond.”
Fresh Films productions have appeared in theaters and on PBS, IFC, iTunes, Amazon, Redbox, Roku and Paramount+ and include the AT&T Hello Sunshine Filmmaker Lab with Reese Witherspoon that brought 21 female filmmakers to Los Angeles to create a documentary about women in film as well as The Stream, starring Rainn Wilson and Mario Lopez. Alumni work across the industry in a variety of positions at companies including BET, Marvel Studios and Warner Bros.
In partnering with Fresh Films, Lifetime joins 13 industry partners who provide career pathways via summer intensive “skill-ups,” paid internships and permanent employment for alumni of the Fresh Films’ program. One of the films that is included in the alliance is The Gabby Petito Story, which marks Thora Birch’s directorial debut.
“As we look to see how we can help grow the pipeline for the next generation of female creatives, developing this program with Fresh Films is the perfect next step for Lifetime in continuing to champion women, especially young women who are beginning their journeys,” said Kannie Yu LaPack, senior vp publicity, public affairs and social media at Lifetime and LMN. “This partnership provides them the opportunity for real-world exposure and hands-on learning that will help them break in, before they break out.”
Applications are currently being accepted by Fresh Films, with Lifetime determining the final recipients of each apprenticeship.
In addition to supporting the program’s tech skills learning, Lifetime speakers, including directors Rhonda Baraka and SIobahn Devine, have been part of the Fresh Films Industry Insights Speaker Series presented by United Talent Agency.
Fresh Films has 24 locations across the U.S where more than 300 diverse youth — 57 percent of whom are young women, and 66 percent of whom are young people of color — are learning fundamental creative, production and technical skills needed to work on film and TV sets. The trainees rotate through all key filmmaking positions to ready them for opportunities on larger sets like those of Lifetime Movies.
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