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Hidden Figures, 21st Century Fox

In celebration of Black History Month, 21st Century Fox and AMC Theatres are joining forces to provide free screenings of Academy Award nominated film Hidden Figures in communities across the country. The film – starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe – tells the 'untold' story of three African American female NASA mathematicians during the Space Race of the 1960's. Hidden Figures has been nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and Best Supporting Actress for Octavia Spencer’s portrayal of Dorothy Vaughan. Hidden Figures continues to inspire audiences across the country, having already crossed $144 million in box office receipts. 

The screenings are intended to build broader awareness of the true story on which the film is based, and inspire younger generations to follow their dreams. The powerful Hidden Figures story has been particularly impactful in encouraging young women, and especially women of color, to pursue studies and careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields. "I believe seeing this movie will give us girls the inspiration we need to say, I can be a mathematician, an engineer or better yet, an astronaut,” said Taylor Richardson, a 7th grade student from Florida who loves science and wants to be an astronaut herself.

Free screenings will be held on Saturday, February 18 at 10am in the following cities: Atlanta, GA; Baltimore, MD; The Bronx, NY; Charlotte, NC; Chicago, IL; Dallas, TX; Detroit, MI; Los Angeles, CA; New Orleans, LA; Philadelphia, PA; Oakland, CA; St. Louis, MO; Miami, FL; and Washington, DC. Tickets will be distributed on a first come, first served basis and can be reserved at https://www.amctheatres.com/hidden-figures-group.

“As we celebrate Black History Month and look ahead to Women’s History Month in March, this story of empowerment and perseverance is more relevant than ever. We at 21CF were inspired by the grassroots movement to bring this film to audiences that wouldn’t otherwise be able to see it – audiences that might include future innovators and barrier-breakers – and we wanted to support and extend that movement,” said Liba Rubenstein, 21st Century Fox’s Senior Vice President of Social Impact.

In addition to February 18th’s free screenings, 21st Century Fox and AMC Theatres invite school and community groups and non-profit organizations to apply for additional special screenings to be held in their towns. Groups can apply at http://21.cf/HiddenFigures for consideration. The application deadline is February 28, 2017 and winners will be notified in March 2017.

“The storytelling and message that Hidden Figures carries is endearing and inspiring, and based on the remarkable community support this movie has received, we have witnessed first-hand the powerful impact it is having on audiences,” said Elizabeth Frank, EVP and Chief Content & Programming Officer, AMC. “We’re honored to partner with Fox to help further the reach of this message to moviegoers across the country.”

21st Century Fox also recently completed “The Search for Hidden Figures” contest to uncover the next generation of female leaders in STEM fields. More than $200,000 in scholarships and awards were distributed. More information on the contest is available here.


national-geographic-teen-service-ted-stage-earth

Photo courtesty National Geographic

21st Century Fox’s National Geographic has selected three high school students as the recipients of the National Geographic Student Expeditions Inaugural Teen Service Award, a new program recognizing young people who have demonstrated a commitment to making a difference in their communities. Alexa Grabelle, Delaney Reynolds, and Kaimana Idica will each receive $500 college scholarships, and Grabelle, as the grand prize winner, will embark on a National Geographic Community Service Expedition to Fiji this summer. The awards program is one of the many ways National Geographic continues to empower the next generation of global citizens and explorers.

“Connecting with and benefiting communities around the world is a key focus of National Geographic Student Expeditions, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity to recognize students across the country who are making a difference in their own communities,” said Deb Friedman, vice president for independent and specialty travel for National Geographic. “We were blown away by the nominations we received for these awards.”

National Geographic received nearly 300 submissions for the award, for which parents, teachers, and local leaders could nominate middle or high school students investing time and effort into their communities. Following the submission period, judges at Nat Geo selected 16 finalists, each of whom were asked to write a short essay on the importance of community service and what inspires them to give back. The judges then chose the grand prize winner and two runners-up based on those essays.

Grabelle, 15, who attends high school in New Jersey, won the grand prize for founding the nonprofit Bags of Books at age 10 and continuing to work with volunteers to collect and distribute children’s books to low-income families. She has given away more than 110,000 children’s books to date, and in recognition of her work, National Geographic’s Kids Books will also donate 300 children’s books to her organization.

“Equality and justice means that all children, regardless of background, must have an equal opportunity to obtain the resources and skills they need to succeed in school and life,” Grabelle said. “Changing the world means helping children, one book at a time.”

Reynolds and Idica, high school seniors in Miami and Hawaii, respectively, both addressed climate change and environmental issues in their community service projects, for which they were recognized as runners-up. Through her work with the Sink or Swim Project, Reynolds aims to educate as many people as possible about the negative effects climate change is already having on ecosystems in Florida. Her efforts, including educational lectures, children’s books and more, have reached an estimated 35,000 people.

Similarly, Idica has partnered with several nonprofits to educate the public in Maui about the effects that plastics specifically have on the environment. He has created zero-waste local for public events, led film projects, and spoken at high schools across the state.

“Today our society has gotten lazy by living in a world of convenience,” Idica said. “I cannot just look the other way and say, ‘Someone else will do it.’ There are too many people saying that already.”

Learn more about National Geographic Student Expeditions.


Xploration Station, FOX

The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has recognized four of the six series composing Xploration Station, the three-hour block of STEM programming for kids and teens airing weekend mornings on Fox TV Stations, with a total of seven nominations for the 44th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards. DIY Sci, Xploration Awesome Planet, Xploration Outer Space, and Weird But True were all nominated across a range of categories, including Outstanding Children’s or Family Viewing Series for DIY Sci. The winners will be announced at a ceremony on Sunday, April 30, at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium in California.

“The response we’ve seen from Xploration Station has been absolutely tremendous,” said Steve Rotfeld, president of Steve Rotfeld Productions, which produces all six Xploration Station series. “We are proud to be putting smart, feel-good television on air that kids and families can enjoy. On behalf of everyone here at SRP, I’d like to thank all the talented people who work on these series, and our stations and partners for making this possible.”

The full list of nominations is as follows:

  • Outstanding Children’s or Family Viewing Series: DIY Sci
  • Outstanding Travel and Adventure Program: Xploration Awesome Planet
  • Outstanding Host in a Lifestyle/Travel/Children’s or Family Viewing Program: Emily Calandrelli, Xploration Outer Space
  • Outstanding Writing in a Children’s, Pre-School Children’s or Family Viewing Program: Weird But True
  • Outstanding Single Camera Editing: Weird But True
  • Outstanding Multiple Camera Editing: DIY Sci
  • Outstanding Sound Editing – Live Action: DIY Sci

Since its premiere in 2014, Xploration Station has consistently received nominations at the Daytime Emmys. The block garnered five nominations in its first two years on the air, including Xploration Awesome Planet host Phillippe Cousteau, grandson of legendary explorer Jacques Cousteau, for Outstanding Lifestyle/Travel/Children's Series Host in 2015.

The six series making up the Xploration Station block include Cousteau’s Xploration Awesome Planet, Harvard scholar Emily Calandrelli’s Xploration Outer Space, artist and futurist Chuck Pell’s Xploration Earth 2050, Youtube star Steve Spangler’s DIY Sci, marine biologist Danni Washington’s Nature Knows Best, and Weird but True, hosted by Charlie and Kirby Engleman, produced in partnership with Nat Geo Kids.

Fox TV Stations recently extended Xploration Station’s run through 2020. The entire block airs in more than 100 million homes nationwide on Saturday mornings and is available to stream on Hulu, Amazon Prime, Yahoo View, and Roku.

Learn more about Xploration Station, including where it airs in your city. 


Ghetto Film School in London

(L-R Barbara Broccoli, Kyra Peters, Ray Gurrola, Gillian Lyons, Emma Thompson, Stacey Snider, Keith Burrus)

On Tuesday, March 21, students from 21st Century Fox partner Ghetto Film School and South London creative non-profit Bold Tendencies held a special screening in London for Ghetto Film School’s 2016 Thesis Films, Ghost of a Chance and Genesis. The short films are the product of almost a year of cross-country and international collaboration between students in Los Angeles, New York, and London. The event brought out the good and the great from London’s film industry, including Academy Award-winning actress Emma Thompson, The Darjeeling Limited actress Amara Karan, actor Babou Ceesay, model and actress Lily Cole, and filmmakers Matthew Vaughn and Ol Parker. The night was hosted by Twentieth Century Fox Film Chairman and CEO, Stacey Snider, and producer Barbara Broccoli, best known for her work on the James Bond film series.

Founded in the South Bronx 17 years ago, Ghetto Film School (GFS) has since expanded to MacArthur Park in LA with the help of 21CF, and currently engages over 1,500 people annually through its two tracks: a pre-professional narrative filmmaking education program, and an early career support network for professional already working in the creative media industries. Every year, the GFS Fellows Program takes high school students from communities traditionally underrepresented in Hollywood through 30 months of intensive instruction from leading filmmakers, mentorship from industry experts, and exposure to the business behind film and television. The fellowship culminates in the Thesis Film Project, a six-month short film production experience in which students travel abroad to create a 15-minute movie in collaboration with a cast and mentoring crew local to that city.

As part of 21CF’s commitment to developing the next generation of creative talent around the world, the company has supported GFS for many years, funding the first program outpost in LA and providing curriculum support, mentors and access to resources, executives, and talent. 21CF is also funding all of GFS’ core costs for the next three years.

In 2016, GFS partnered with Hannah Barry and her Peckham-based non-profit, Bold Tendencies, to bring the Fellows Program to London. The partnership marked the first time GFS shared its curriculum with another organization to develop young filmmakers outside of the U.S., and the first time that the Bronx and LA fellows collaborated on their thesis projects abroad. The two organizations connected seamlessly and inspired Bold Tendencies to create Bold Filmmaking, a course offered to 14 to 18 year-olds from local state secondary schools in London. Seven students were selected for the inaugural 2016 Bold Filmmaking class, out of which one student secured an acting agent, two were selected to join the British Film Institute Future Film Academy, and the group’s short film Single Russian Ladies in your Area was screened at the 2017 London Short Film Festival.

The GFS Thesis Project began as a three-month writing contest in which all fellows completed and submitted a script, collectively picked the top script as a team, and then pitched themselves for the Director position as well as various other crew positions—camera operator, script supervisor, editor, sound designer, etc. Local London-based teens from Bold Tendencies’ new Bold Filmmaking program helped prepare for the visit and created original behind-the scenes content during the GFS Thesis Film productions. Bold Tendencies also helped with logistics, budget management, and supplies, and worked with Sky to provide first class equipment and a “mentorship crew” of industry professionals who gave guidance and technical advice to the students during production.

After scripts for the two films were chosen by the students in May 2016, a cast of Hollywood greats including Stacey Snider, Max Greenfield, Mariah Carey, Lee Daniels, and Simon Helberg gathered in LA for a table reading with the students. The event was co-hosted by 21CF CEO and GFS board member James Murdoch, and served as a celebration of the organization, as well as a chance for students to receive feedback from top Hollywood talent and directors.

"This script is very funny. You had your audience laughing out loud, which is hard to do," said filmmaker and GFS board member David O. Russell to high school student Gillian Lyons, who wrote one of the scripts.

The students presented their final films on March 21 at the BAFTA in London, with welcoming remarks from Stacey Snider and Joe Hall, Founder and President of Ghetto Film School. “The result [of GFS] is a group of young people that are not only empowered to think analytically and creatively, but also one that has acquired the skills necessary to succeed in any situation – they’ve practiced teamwork; they’ve learned to take contructive criticism from their peers; they’ve learned to take risks and push boundaries; they’ve even gone through writer’s block!” said Snider before the two films began.

Ghost of a Chance, written by Lyons and directed by Niko Baur, follows a failing playwright who finds and steals the last written work of William Shakespeare, whose ghost comes back to haunt him on opening night. Genesis, written by Romeo Ortiz and directed by Kyra Peters, unravels the story of what inspired a young Jack the Ripper, the disturbed man who became one of London’s most notorious serial killers in the late 1800’s.

Following the screenings, Hannah Barry of Bold Tendencies moderated a Q&A panel discussion with the GFS students involved in each film. “Ghetto Film School showed me exactly the path that I wanted to take. Prior to coming to GFS, I wanted to be an author but…they showed me there are so many more things you can do as a writer—you don’t have to just write a book, you can create a whole narrative piece that you can actually see before your eyes, and that was just amazing to me. It’s a lot of fun to make this movie magic,” remarked Keith Burrus, a GFS student who operated the cameras on Genesis.

“What makes it even more impactful is the fact that Ghetto Film School’s programs are embedded in specific local communities, so they earn the trust of both students and their parents and are truly part of the landscape of those local creative communities. It also ensures that the stories the students tell are diverse and authentic – two things the creative world needs to embrace now more than ever,” said Snider.

Watch Ghost of a Chance and Genesis today, and learn more about Ghetto Film School's visit to London below.


Short Awards: Hidden Figures, 21st Century Fox Social Impact

21st Century Fox’s social media campaigns supporting young women in STEM and girls’ access to education were named as finalists for the 9th annual Shorty Awards, which are sponsored by AdWeek and celebrate the best in digital and content marketing on social media.

21CF and PepsiCo’s “Search for Hidden Figures” was named a finalist in the categories of “Best Content and Promotion” and “Best Multicultural Community Engagement”. Inspired by the film Hidden Figures, 21CF and PepsiCo partnered with Pharrell Williams’ organization, i am OTHER, and the New York Academy of Sciences to find the next generation of women who will lead the way in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM). The campaign invited women and girls to share their stories of work and potential in STEM fields for the opportunity to win scholarships and other awards totaling over $200,000. The integrated, multi-platform campaign highlighted the importance of diversity in the workplace and the critical need to empower women who want to pursue careers in STEM.

21CF and National Geographic’s Stand with Malala campaign was also named a Shorty Award finalist in the “Best Influencer and Celebrity Facebook Campaign” category for its visual depiction of the world’s loss that occurs when girls are excluded from the classroom. As part of 21CF’s yearlong efforts to support girls’ education, the campaign was created in support of the broadcast premiere of the documentary film He Named Me Malala, which shares the story of Pakistani activist and Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai and her global fight to ensure girls’ access to education. The campaign asked viewers to tweet using the hashtag #withMalala or change their Facebook profile to a special campaign video. The video transformed profile pictures into yearbook photos and then dissolved female users' profile pictures from the page, representing the 60 million girls who are out of school worldwide. For every post or share, 21CF gave $1 to the Malala Fund, in total donating $50,000.

Recognizing that social media has the influence to create global movements and new stars, the Shorty Awards spot industry-wide trends and honor both individual influencers and brands for their work and messaging on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Tumblr, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine and more. By constantly evolving along with the medium it celebrates, the Shorty Awards engage an online audience of millions and culminate in a blockbuster ceremony in New York City—winners are chosen through a combination of votes from the public and scores given by the Real Time Academy.

Learn more about the 2017 Shorty Awards and the full list of finalists here. Winners will be announced in New York City on April 23.