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FX’s Legion drew praise from critics and audiences alike for its ambitious storytelling and visual style, and fans can now check out an exclusive video and case study detailing how the cast and crew brought that same level of ambition to going green behind-the-scenes. All departments made a concerted effort to save energy, reduce the show’s carbon footprint, and overall make the production as environmentally sustainable as possible, even piloting new technologies that could advance sustainability for the entire industry. The initiatives came as part of 21st Century Fox’s broad commitment to minimizing its environmental impacts, growing sustainably, and inspiring others to take action.

“This is the first production I’ve worked on where the conversation [about sustainability] started during our first production meeting,” said Kim Goddard-Rains, Production Coordinator. “I hope that it inspires people when they see the results and that they’re reminded of the little things we can all do. It feels good.”

Before shooting began, 21CF once again hired Zena Harris of Green Sparks Group, who previously oversaw green initiatives on The X-Files event series in 2016, as Legion’s sustainable production consultant. Harris worked directly with each department throughout the nearly six-month shoot to review best practices from the Green Production Guide, which Fox developed in collaboration with peer Hollywood studios, as well as identify opportunities to innovate new techniques for energy saving, such as partnering with Portable Electric to pilot their new mobile power stations.

“The studio was very supportive as we trialed battery power stations to replace the smaller generators that are diesel powered,” Harris said. “It reduces greenhouse gas emissions from generators and helps eliminate noise.”

These strategies, combined with every department’s goals to save energy and reduce waste, resulted in significant cost and energy savings across the board. The crew managed to divert 55% of the waste from landfill, avoid 252 metric tons of CO2 emissions, and collectively save nearly $48,000 USD, as well as purchase 70% Forest Stewardship Council-certified lauan plywood for set construction.

These achievements build on a long history of pioneering green production practices at 21CF. The company regularly works with production crews across its film and television projects to ensure environmental responsibility is integrated into each department’s daily operations, with previous series 24: Live Another Day and The X-Files event series each breaking new ground for the industry at large on lumber sourcing and recycling.

Learn more about environmental sustainability on Legion by reading our detailed case study and watching the exclusive video below.

Legion has been renewed for a second season, and the first is available to stream on FX, FXNOW, and Hulu.


Jedidah Isler, National Geographic Explorer

On March 18, girls across the United States gathered in Microsoft Stores to hear from National Geographic Explorers about the importance of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education. The events were in partnership with Microsoft’s “Make What’s Next Campaign,” which aims to inspire the next generation of inventors, scientists, mathematicians and engineers. Given that only 6.7 percent of women graduate with STEM degrees, the campaign encourages girls to pursue these subjects from a young age, effectively doubling the potential to solve the worlds’ problems.

“STEM gives the express permission to ask questions about the world and to change the way it works to do something better, different, and new. I want to make sure that girls, in particular young women from marginalized communities, know that STEM—science and engineering, all of it—are for them. And that anyone who wants to study the universe, in any capacity, has the opportunity,” said Dr. Jedidah Isler, an astrophysicist and Nat Geo Explorer who led the New York City workshop. Other Nat Geo Explorers who participated in workshops across the U.S. included conservationist photographer Cristina Mittermeier, geologist Arianna Soldati, marine biologist Tierney Thys, and space architect Constance Adams.

Attendees also were treated to a Facebook Live hosted by Explorer and underwater photographer, Jenny Adler, straight from the Ichetucknee River in Florida where she is working on a conservation education project to inform future generations about freshwater through photography and creative writing.

“It’s been so great to see all of these girls coding, getting a sense of what they can do if they just start cracking things apart and then going in and writing their own way,” said Adams, “I hope that they all take some self-confidence from this event with them.”


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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.