Mission: To educate, develop, and celebrate the next generation of great American storytellers.
About the Organization: South Bronx native and former social worker Joe Hall founded Ghetto Film School in 2000 while studying film at the University of Southern California. Using a business-oriented model, the organization supports six hundred and fifty teens and young adults from New York City and Los Angeles with hands-on production experience and cinema studies courses that encompass documentaries, film promotion, and the development of branded content.
Current Programs: Ghetto Film School’s Digital Bodega is a full-service alumni-run production company that provides creative solutions for brands such as Nike, General Mills, Atlantic Records, and Sony Pictures. GFS LA is a fellowship program that provides Angeleno storytellers between the ages of 14 and 18 with a free thirty-month pre-professional immersion in cinematic storytelling and production training. In 2009, GFS worked with the New York City Department of Education to open The Cinema School, the nation’s first film high school.
Website: GFS’s interactive home page links to a rotating selection of essays, events, video shorts about GFS alumni, articles from publications such as the New York Times and Hollywood Reporter, and more. Visitors to the home page also can watch the most recent class thesis film; check out installments of The Backstory, GFC’s speaker series; sign up for the GFS mailing list; and/or make a donation. GFS also has an active YouTube channel.
Funding: Almost a quarter of the organization’s support comes from revenue generated by Digital Bodega projects. The rest comes from government, corporate, and foundation sources, as well as individual donors.