Film academy internship program attempts to move the needle on inclusion

Posted by on August 26, 2018

Photo Courtesy of Maria Alejandra Cardona / Los Angeles Times

Growing up in Chicago, Taty Garcia was a self-described “Disney nerd.” She didn’t just love watching Disney movies — she wanted to understand how they were made. As a young Puerto Rican woman, the closest Garcia came to seeing someone who looked like her on the screen was “Ugly Betty” star America Ferrera. Still, she dreamed of one day landing a job in Hollywood.

Even after studying film editing and post-production at Columbia College Chicago, though, Garcia wasn’t sure the industry would have a place for her. “It could be a little discouraging coming to L.A. and trying to get a break, especially because I’m an inner-city Hispanic and a first-generation college grad,” Garcia, 23, says. “I felt like there was just a stigma on me, and there’s not a lot of female editors.”

For Yousef Assabahi, who was raised in Yemen, Hollywood seemed even more remote. His country’s film industry was virtually nonexistent, and the often stereotypical images of Middle Easterners he saw in American movies and TV shows were nothing like the people he knew.