Four former interns of the CineCares Foundation’s first cohort – Quristal Lopez, Joshua Brown, Curtis Gardner, and Cameron Allen – were voted into the IATSE Motion Picture Studio Mechanics Union, Local 476.
In less than a year, these young filmmakers will go from interns to members of one the largest and most-respected unions of the Chicago-film industry.
Executive Director of CineCares Sheila Brown reflects on the former interns, “They understood what the mission of the program was, and they truly came in and made us proud… They are coming from areas where household salaries are very low, so this is opening doors for them that they have never imagined.”
All of them recently graduated from the paid Mirkopoulos Internship Program (MIP) that takes place on the campus of Cinespace Chicago Film Studios.
MIP consists of a partnership between CineCares, NBC Universal, Wolf Films, and Local 476. Brown emphasizes the importance of each partner: “There is not one part of that square that could be missing and have it work.”
After months of hard work shadowing the journeymen of Local 476, one Latina woman and three African American men will be inducted into the union on Friday April 27th. During their time in the program, the soon-to-be apprentices primarily worked in the props, grip, and electrical departments.
Local 476’s Business Manager Mark Hogan declares, “As a union, we always try and be inclusive to diversity.”
Also Read: 24/7 — Studio Mechanics Local 476
Referring to the journeymen that were shadowed, Hogan states, “Those workers brought it to our attention that ‘hey, these guys deserve to get an apprenticeship.’”
The CineCares Foundation has seen a nearly 90% completion rate since beginning the internship program, and the partner companies are continuing to work together for the foreseeable future. “What is most rewarding is to know that we are actually changing lives,” says Brown.
When speaking of the interns’ entry into Local 476 and the overall success of CineCares, Brown proudly remarks, “I couldn’t have written the script.”
For more information on the CineCares Foundation, click here.
Contact Joey Filer at Joey@reelchicago.com or follow him on Twitter @FilerJoey.