The ABFF Greenlighters Academy is a new educational initiative recently launched in Spring by the American Black Film Festival to give African American students a platform in which they can enter the entertainment industry as powerful influencers in television, film and media. Every year, the Academy selects students to attend a two day intensive bootcamp in Los Angeles  that focuses on giving them direct insight on the industry by connecting students with leading executives who share valuable guidance based on their own success stories.

Well-known actor and producer, Terence Jenkins, serves as the ambassador to the Greenlighters Academy as he is committed to helping African American college students understand the corporate side of the industry. Terrence is an industry veteran. He has been offered opportunities to develop and produce original content for MTV and VH1, as well as having major roles in films including Think Like A Man, Baggage Claim and others. In the early days of his career, he struggled with finding information on how to break into Hollywood, and believes that this program is the answer.

Terrence’s belief isn’t too far from the mark, as current fellow Maya Smith is benefiting from the program. “My experience as an ABFF Greenlighter Academy Fellow was more than amazing. Visiting the Hollywood offices of HBO, Viacom and Fox Studios gave me a peek inside my future if I continue to work, stay motivated and focused. Speaking with high powered executives and industry insiders gave me a taste of what it’s like to experience first hand what being apart of the process feels likes,” said Smith.  Another fellow, Te’Shone Davidson learned about the industry as well, stating, “While participating in the academy, I learned the importance of leveraging up which is all about starting in support roles, building a marketable resume, and working up towards promotions.” These students not only walked away with a significant amount of insight but with Hollywood connections many college students do not have access to.

The American Black Film Festival has dedicated 20 years to identifying new African American talent in the film industry, and successfully launched the Academy as an extension of their efforts to give African Americans opportunities in a leading industry. The CEO of ABFF Venture, LLS, states “We firmly believe we have to lift as we climb.”, and is shown to be true as fellows will have assistance with landing internships in major studios and networks working alongside entertainment executives.