Free Spirit Media Pathways and The Chicago Track Introduce the Free Spirit Media Industry Pathways Certification
March 9, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CHICAGO, IL - March 9, 2017 - The Free Spirit Media Industry Pathways Certification will provide 10 emerging Chicago Track Pathway members, ages 18-25, with the chance to participate in entry-level positions with hands on training from industry professionals, access to state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, and opportunities to network and build relationships with industry mentors. This 12-week program, which includes over 100 total hours of production training and professional development will run this Spring and culminate in an apprenticeship and mentor matching fair that connects certified students with relevant and appropriate positions in television, film, and media.
Free Spirit Media Pathways bridges access for underrepresented young people to a network of professionals and companies while building essential skills and knowledge to successfully navigate the media fields. Through panels, workshops, and hands-on apprenticeships, participants develop the relationships and confidence to launch careers in the media industry. Free Spirit Media Pathways invests in the next generation of creators and crew, contributing to building a diversified media industry that values and uplifts stories from underrepresented voices.
The Chicago Track is a creative workforce development partnership between the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, the Chicago Film Office, Free Spirit Media and Young Chicago Authors that helps emerging creatives 18-25 years old develop careers in the media and film industries.
The 2017 Free Spirit Industry Pathways Certification Cohort Members are: Joshua Brown (22), Martin (Marty) Harris (20), Bethel Kifle (24), Quristal Lopez (23), Steve Moody (21), Olivia Grace Pearson (24), Joshua Perez (23), Miles Santiago (20), Ryan Thomas (23), and Terrence Thompson (23).
“I wanted to join the Free Spirit Media Industry Pathways Certification because this program will prepare me with the necessary training to work in film and television. This program not only introduces participants to jobs, but also to proper set etiquette, amazing organizations, and relationships with fellow creative minds. I see this as a chance to grow as a screenwriter and director, as well as a way to contribute my talents to the entertainment community in Chicago,” says cohort member Olivia Grace Pearson.
Free Spirit Media’s Executive Director Jeff McCarter says the program aligns with Free Spirit Media’s values, “Seeing dedicated, diverse, and talented young adult creatives in Chicago taking the steps to become viable media professionals is a dream come true for Free Spirit Media. Our city needs these young people to succeed because they are at the forefront of transforming media and society to be more accessible and vibrant, which is central to Free Spirit Media's mission.”
Chicago Film Office Director Rich Moskal speaks to the importance of the program at this time, “The recent unprecedented success of Chicago’s film and television industry has created unique opportunities for film workers and filmmakers alike. The Chicago Track and Free Spirit Media’s Pathways program help us meet the growing demand for a well-prepared workforce that truthfully reflects the diversity and potential of Chicago’s creative communities."
Free Spirit Media is proud to collaborate with Runaway Train Productions to produce a short film for the Drive Slow series as an on-set learning experience for the cohort. The featured short will serve as a prequel to the show, following the characters as they attempt to process the passing of a friend. Drive Slow is written by cohort members Terrence Thompson and Ryan Thomas, produced by Alex Thompson, Todd Hieggelke, Zoe Lubeck, and Raphael Nash, and will be directed by Thompson. The production is supported by DePaul University. Thompson describes the series as “Freaks and Geeks” on the South Side of Chicago. “While the dominant narrative around Chicago’s South Side is one of violence and poverty, Drive Slow is a dramedy about Chicago’s invisibilized black middle class, told through the lives of two groups of teenagers from different high schools,” says Thompson.
Additional partners for the Free Spirit Industry Pathways Certification include: AbelCine, Black Apple Media, Bluelight Productions, Cinespace, Contexture Media Network, Gorgeous Within, IATSE 476 Studio Mechanics Union, IFP Chicago, Periscope, Second City Sound, and Stage 18 Chicago.
Free Spirit Media
Since 2001, Free Spirit Media has provided more than 6,000 youth and young adults on Chicago’s South and West sides with a comprehensive foundation in media literacy and hands-on media production experience. Free Spirit Media runs in-school arts education, after school and summer digital media programs, and advanced career Pathways programs. Free Spirit Media Pathways and The Chicago Track are creative industry workforce development pipelines that helps emerging, 18 -25 year old creatives develop careers in the media and film industries. For more information, visit freespiritmedia.org. For the latest news on our organization check out our official Facebook (Facebook.com/FreeSpiritMedia) and Twitter (@FreeSpiritChi), as well as The Chicago Track’s Facebook, (Facebook.com/TheChicagoTrack) Twitter and Instagram (@Chi_Track) pages.
Chicago Film Office
The Chicago Film Office, part of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, leads the City’s efforts to attract and enhance the production of feature films, television series, commercials, documentaries and all forms of local screen entertainment. For filmmakers, it is a one-stop liaison for all City of Chicago production needs, including permits, City services and logistical support. For more information, visit chicagofilmoffice.us.
Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is dedicated to enriching Chicago’s artistic vitality and cultural vibrancy. This includes fostering the development of Chicago’s non-profit arts sector, independent working artists and for-profit arts businesses; providing a framework to guide the City’s future cultural and economic growth, via the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan; marketing the City’s cultural assets to a worldwide audience; and presenting high-quality, free and affordable cultural programs for residents and visitors. For more information, visit cityofchicago.org/dcase.