(top, left to right) Ruben Garcia, Executive and Co-Head of Cultural Business Strategy Group, CAA, moderated "The Power of TV: #RepresentationMatters" with panelists Steven Canals, co-creator, executive producer and director of FX's Pose, Ryan O'Connell, actor, writer, producer, creator and star of Netflix's Special, (bottom, left to right) Ashley Park, Tony Award-nominated actor from Netflix's Emily In Paris, Gabe Gomez (lower right) was the ASL interpreter.
In an effort to offset "Pandemic Learning Losses," the Television Academy Foundation presented its inaugural College Television Summit May 3-5 to provide professional development and career support to college media arts students nationwide.
The free, three-day virtual summit featured 10 online forums with top Hollywood producers, executives, talent, and career advisors, giving students enrolled in media programs at two- and four-year colleges an insider's guide to television careers.
An introductory conversation with Cris Abrego, chair of the Television Academy Foundation, and Ivana Kirkbride, Global Director of Content Strategy and Programming, Facebook Inc., kicked off the event, which included themed panel discussions with industry content creators: "Script to Screen: Comedy" featured the Ted Lasso creative team of executive producer, showrunner and writer Bill Lawrence; supervising producer and writer Jamie Lee; casting director Theo Park; and actor Nick Mohammed, moderated by Kevin Frazier, co-host of Entertainment Tonight; a "Script to Screen: Drama" panel focused on The Boys' showrunner, executive producer and writer Eric Kripke and executive producer and writer Rebecca Sonnenshine, moderated by The Wrap journalist Jennifer Maas; "30 Minutes With Emmy Award-Winning Executive Producer of Chernobyl Craig Mazin" was moderated by Albert Lawrence, correspondent for The Henry Ford's Innovation Nation, two of the Foundation's notable alumni.
In addition, Ava DuVernay's ARRAY Filmworks executives Sarah Bremner, president, and Paul Garnes, head of physical production, discussed "The Business of Television" with moderator Gil Robertson, president, African American Film Critics Association. Jill Dickerson, head of unscripted originals at Snap Inc., together with Stephanie Drachkovitch, co-founder and co-CEO of 44 Blue Productions, and Love & Marriage: Huntsville executive producer Carlos King, gave students advice on "Building a Career in Nonfiction Television."
Panel discussions were rounded out with "Amplifying Diverse Voices: #TaketheLead" with Daria Overby, director of creative diversity at STARZ Entertainment, and Jamila Daniel, who holds the dual titles of chief diversity officer, Lionsgate, and senior vice president of human resources, STARZ. Practical job-interviewing skills and resume-writing instruction were given by "Hollywood Jobs Whisperer" Madelyn Hammond.
The summit closed with "The Power of TV: #RepresentationMatters," a provocative discussion on proven inclusion practices and strategies with co-creator, executive producer and director of FX's Pose Steven Canals; actor, writer, producer, creator and star of Netflix's Special Ryan O'Connell; and Tony Award-nominated actor Ashley Park (Emily in Paris), moderated by Ruben Garcia, Executive and Co-Head of Cultural Business Strategy Group, CAA.
The first 90 registrants for the summit participated in a bonus exclusive: virtual networking meetings sponsored by CAA with prominent television professionals, many of whom are Foundation alumni.
"The Foundation remains committed to providing free educational online programs for students from all backgrounds to support and encourage their career aspirations in media during these unprecedented times," said Abrego. "Our sincerest appreciation to all the stars and speakers who participated in the program and to our sponsors and partners for their support in making this inaugural event a tremendous success."
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Foundation opted to postpone the 41st College Television Awards ceremony until 2022. A premiere Foundation program since 1979, the College Television Awards previously limited professional development activities surrounding the event to award nominees but expanded its scope to benefit media arts students nationally with the College Television Summit.
Sponsors for the 2021 College Television Summit included CAA, Johnny Carson Foundation, The Loreen Arbus Foundation, PEOPLE® and STARZ.
About the Television Academy Foundation
Established in 1959 as the charitable arm of the Television Academy, the Television Academy Foundation is dedicated to preserving the legacy of television while educating and inspiring those who will shape its future. Through renowned educational and outreach programs, such as The Interviews: An Oral History of Television Project, College Television Awards, Student Internship Program and Faculty Seminar: The Conference, the Foundation seeks to widen the circle of voices our industry represents and to create more opportunity for television to reflect all of society. For more information on the Foundation, please visit TelevisionAcademy.com/Foundation.
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