Nonprofit That Received Backing From Stars Like Yara Shahidi And Issa Rae Gains Its First Black Woman CEO
Photo Credit: Rich Fury / Michael Loccisano

Nonprofit That Received Backing From Stars Like Yara Shahidi And Issa Rae Gains Its First Black Woman CEO

Ghetto Film School (GFS) — the award-winning nonprofit created to help future storytellers by educating, uplifting, and supporting their development — is backed by some of Hollywood’s best including Issa Rae and Yara Shahidi. Now, it plans to amplify its efforts further as Montea Robinson has become the first Black woman CEO.

“Whether you know how to write a script or point a camera, we’re going to put a camera in your hands and get you to shoot something with it,” she said in an exclusive interview with Variety. “You’re writing, shooting, directing all of the work…We see filmmaking as a craft that we want to teach our students, but also as a secondary education that helps them understand the agency they have over their own story.”

Robinson will be responsible for increasing GFS’s reach and influence while focusing on developing and creating career opportunities for participants. In addition, Robinson plans to make GFS programs more accessible to students while strengthening industry partnerships and hopes her efforts will create more resources such as sound stages.

“When you think of the future of GFS, going deeper is more important than building scale,” Robinson said, according to Variety. “We want to take a look at where we are right now and we want to strengthen that foundation.”

Before landing her new title as CEO, Robinson served as GFS’ program director and spearheaded their educational curriculum in 2016. What’s more, $500,000 was poured into the school, and partnerships with Dolby, NYU, and Make Make Entertainment grew, thanks to Robinson’s efforts.

Two years later, Robinson was named executive director of GFS and she hired more teaching staff and had greater control of fundraising efforts.

Amid the pandemic, Robinson developed GFS’s response protocol, created safety provisions, implemented staff training, and initiated partnerships with Dolby, Netflix, and Sony Music to keep programming afloat virtually.

By 2020, Robinson managed the organization’s strategic plan, spanning five years, and worked alongside GFS board members and executive leadership.