Today’s film and media sector in Canada is drastically different than even a few decades ago, and the need for diverse talent at every level and facet of the industry is greater than ever before. What remains unchanged, says Guillermo Acosta, Senior Dean, Faculty of Media & Creative Arts at Humber College, is that “Education is the first point of entry to the industry... and donor support is critical to removing financial barriers preventing access to education.”
Through a generous gift from NBCUniversal to Humber, 20 of the industry’s up-and-coming professionals and creators will receive scholarships in 2022. The global leader in media and entertainment development, production, and marketing has established the NBCUniversal NextGen Diversity Scholarships to help equip and train students who self-identify as Indigenous peoples, women, or racialized persons, and who are studying in Film- and Media- related programs at Humber.
Students in Film and Media Production, Film and TV Production, Post-Production, Film and Multiplatform storytelling, and TV Writing and Producing, will be able to apply for one of the NBCUniversal NextGen Diversity Scholarships starting in January 2022.
Senior Dean Acosta outlines how Humber is uniquely poised to make a greater difference in the film and media sector as a result of this substantial donor gift. “It enables our Faculty to attract a more diverse student population that otherwise would remain disengaged and ignored.”
Donna O'Brien-Sokić, Professor, Film and Television Diploma (FMTV) Program, has witnessed a drastically increased need for financial support among her students, especially during the pandemic. “Scholarships are an essential component in helping students focus on their education and helping them reduce their student loan debt upon graduation.”
The benefits also extend beyond the initial financial aspects, particularly for students who may have been overlooked in an industry that traditionally undervalued diversity.
“The opportunity to state that you have been awarded a scholarship on your resume and web portfolio speaks volumes about your skills, and you as an emerging talent, to any organization looking to hire,” says O'Brien-Sokić.
In response to NBCUniversal’s generosity, 3rd year students in O'Brien-Sokić’s Film Mastery class in the FMTV program created a video that expresses their gratitude and appreciation. To see the video, click here.
“The students truly embraced this concept and were so eager to come out and help produce something to share their gratitude,” says O'Brien-Sokić. “Their willingness to jump on board was their way of saying ‘thank you’ for stepping up and supporting us.
“Producing this spot was a great way for the students to be able to introduce themselves to the industry at large and say, ‘Look out, here we come!’ It provided them a great opportunity to produce media in a genre they are not fully familiar with, taking what they know about media production and applying it in a new story format.”
By establishing these scholarships, NBCUniversal is demonstrating their commitment to education and diversity in their field, a commitment that echoes the role Humber has set out to play in the sector.
“Humber will strongly support the growth and evolution of the film and media industry in Toronto and in Canada by training highly skilled professionals who are ready to start contributing from day one,” says Acosta. “In order to achieve this, we will continue working closely with our industry partners to stay up-to-date with their evolving needs. We continue embedding more multidisciplinary projects and exploration of emerging technologies into our curriculum to graduate future generations of innovators and game-changers.”
Indeed, changing the game is central to moving forward with greater diversity and homegrown talent, a challenge that is best met through partnerships with donors.
“Providing scholarships to students who self-identify as Indigenous peoples or members of equity-deserving groups is a great starting point, but also working with us to develop and deliver programming that will help change attitudes within the industry is very important. There’s much unlearning and relearning to do and working together we can build a more inclusive and affirming space for all, contributing to a better future for the industry.”
Along with Professor O’Brien-Sokić’s Film Mastery class, Senior Dean Guillermo Acosta and the entire Faculty add their gratitude for NBCUniversal's commitment to our students and developing the next generation of the industry.
NBCUniversal is one of the world’s leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news and information to a global audience. NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment television networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, world-renowned theme parks, and a suite of leading Internet-based businesses. NBCUniversal is a division of Comcast Corporation.