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MBS Group holds Illumination Training Program in Queens for students looking to get into film, TV production

illumination
Photo courtesy of the MBS Group.

Local students, including students from the Ghetto Film School, were given the opportunity to take part in the MBS Group’s Illumination Training Program at Silvercup Studios and Kaufman Astoria Studios in September and November. Approximately 20 to 30 students from underserved communities were granted the opportunity to take part in each of these sessions.

illumination
Photo courtesy of the MBS Group

This program offered the students the opportunity to learn and develop some of the essential working skills needed to attain below-the-line crew positions in the film and television industry, such as lighting and grip, through hands-on experience with industry professionals.

illumination
Photo courtesy of the MBS Group

MBS’s Illumination Training has engaged more than 475 students and teachers and helped more than 70 past participants obtain internships and other related placements within the industry since its inception. Leading industry professionals committed to mentoring participants in the long-term provide the teaching to these students. The program’s goal is to bridge the gap between learning about the industry and entering it.

illumination
Photo courtesy of the MBS Group

Throughout both of these sessions, the students took part in an intensive, four-day training program. Those at Silvercup Studios were the first to be held on the East Coast. The Illumination Training Program seeks to advance diversity and inclusion in the industry by training people from historically underrepresented groups so they can secure jobs in the sector.

illumination
Photo courtesy of the MBS Group

According to MBS Group Senior Vice President of Global Operations and Finance Irene Phan, the prospect of the Illumination Training Program came around the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the last year and a half, the program has been operating in the west coast of the United States and Canada.

illumination
Photo courtesy of the MBS Group.

“The lighting and grip departments within TV and film are extremely important,” Phan said. “They actually make up one of the bigger departments within production and they are always the ones looking for new people to join their team or additional heads. These are the departments that generally hire the most people.”

Phan also noted this experience can also help make the students more well-rounded with other production departments that may end up piquing their interest. She emphasized the importance programs like this play in allowing these students to be prepared to make their own impacts on the entertainment industry.

“We want to be able to give the students the resources and networks to make sure they really become successful within the industry,” Phan said. “It was a great opportunity to provide the participants with great education and training.”

The MBS Group exclusively supports more than 500 active sound stages and more than 450 productions per year from its network of 100 locations across seven countries. Its leadership team has designed and constructed more than 25 studios with 115 sound stages and ancillary facilities that add up to over 3.5 million square feet.

The Illumination Training Program was held at Kaufman Astoria Studios following its success at Silvercup Studios. This program brings with it the potential not just to create more jobs within the industry, but possibly also within the borough, as many productions occur in Queens.

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