At a panel discussion on the Fox Studios Lot in Los Angeles last week, Fox talent and executives came together with senior leadership from GLAAD for a candid conversation about the representations of the LGBT community in the media. The panel was organized by GLAAD and FOX Audience Strategy, a cross-divisional group promoting diverse voices throughout 21st Century Fox entertainment businesses.
Hernan Lopez, FOX International Channels President and a GLAAD Board Member, spoke briefly before introducing GLAAD President and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis. Ellis spoke about the great strides in LGBT representation on television that FOX has made in recent years. In fact, in the Network Responsibility Index that GLAAD released last year, FOX out-performed all other broadcast networks, with 42% of its primetime programming being LGBT-inclusive.
Ellis also participated in the panel discussion that included Taraji P. Henson and Jussie Smollett from the upcoming FOX series Empire, executive producer Margaret Nagle and actor/GLAAD spokesman Wilson Cruz from the upcoming Red Band Society, Glee and American Horror Story producer Dante Di Lorento, and advocate and former NFL player Wade Davis from the You Can Play Project, one of GLAAD's partner organizations. The panel was moderated by FOX COO Joe Earley.
The talk was the latest installment of FOX Audience Strategy's "Images: The Power to Inform, Influence, and Inspire" speaker series, designed to explore and highlight cultural trends, current events, and the people who are shifting perceptions and spurring creative innovation. The mandate to discuss images' power to influence was not lost on the panel, the members of which spoke at length about the importance of empowering younger members of the LGBT community.
"Kids can now turn on their TV and be like, 'Wow, I can be that,'" Davis said. "You can never become what you don't see."
For more information on the event, visit FOX Audience Strategy's official website.
20th Century Fox has partnered with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to help raise awareness around the issues facing the Amazon rainforest. Fox and WWF have developed a PSA featuring the characters from Rio 2, the latest animated feature from Fox's Blue Sky Studios, which features a family of Spix's macaws trying to save the rainforest from deforestation.
In addition to developing the PSA, Fox is donating $100,000 to WWF to support the organization's Amazon conservation efforts, which they have conducted for more than 40 years. WWF's work helps preserve the wildlife population from illegal poaching and establishes networks of protected tropical forest to combat deforestation.
The PSA will also be featured on all Rio 2 DVDs and Blu-Rays, which arrive in stores on July 15.
Director Carlos Saldanha has spoken openly about the environmental message of the Rio franchise, telling Bird Channel in 2011: "In countries like Brazil, you hear about hundreds of birds being taken every day, about how law enforcement found the traffickers with birds. I find it very sad, and I want people to know this. Also, by growing awareness, we can really make sure we work to preserve the birds in the wild and stop cases of extinction."
To join WWF in protecting the rainforest, visit the campaign's official website, or you can text MACAW to 20222 to donate $10.
21st Century Fox served as the Founding Partner of the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games, which came to a close on Friday, June 20. Nearly 3,500 athletes competed in 16 Olympic-style games, which were hosted at several venues throughout New Jersey. In addition, more than 1,000 coaches, 10,000 volunteers and an estimated 70,000 spectators attended the events to lend their support.
21st Century Fox announced its partnership with the 2014 Games last November, promising broad exposure for the Special Olympics across its U.S. channels, including FOX Broadcasting, FOX Sports, FOX News Channel, FOX Business Network, FX, National Geographic Channel, and 28 local stations, as well as FOX Sports 1, which is currently airing a one-hour recap special on the Games and streaming it on FOX Sports Go.
21st Century Fox talent and employees seized the opportunity to support the cause. Glee star Jane Lynch performed at the Opening Ceremony on June 15, where FOX News anchor Andrea Tantaros co-hosted the Parade of Athletes in honor of her younger brother Daniel, who had been a Special Olympics athlete himself. Tantaros covered the Special Olympics in a special segment on her program. In addition, FOX Sports 1's Molly McGrath and Mike Hill emceed the Closing Ceremony on June 20.
The 2014 USA Games were staged throughout Mercer County, NJ, including competitions at Princeton University, Rider University, the College of New Jersey, and Mercer County Park, where several of the Games' sponsors, including 21st Century Fox, were present. Representatives from 21st Century Fox, FOX Sports, FOX Broadcasting, and FOX TV Stations were on hand to interact with the athletes, coaches, volunteers, and spectators, encouraging all of them to have their photos taken with Cleatus the FOX Sports Robot and props from FOX shows, spin a prize wheel, or participate in a football toss.
"The commitment by 21st Century Fox is unparalleled for any Special Olympics USA Games and speaks volumes about the company's willingness to use all of its assets to showcase the abilities of our athletes," said T.J. Nelligan, Chairman and CEO of the 2014 Games.
For more information on how to watch the FOX Sports 1 special, visit FOXSports1.com. See the video below for a message from 21st Century Fox.
In an effort to push the boundaries of what defines exploration, the National Geographic Channel this week announced Expedition Granted, a nationwide competition in the U.S. to find and fund the next generation of explorers. The contest will accept project proposals from a range of disciplines, and the winner will receive a $50,000 grant toward his/her dream expedition. With this new program, Nat Geo hopes to incentivize everyone around the world to embark on a new age of exploration.
Expedition Granted aims to show that explorers come in all shapes and sizes, and they can be passionate about any field, including art, music, food, science, technology, and more. "We want to help redefine the concept of exploration--anyone with a big idea and passion to make it come to life can be an explorer," said NGC CEO Courteney Monroe. "There is no limit to what we want to see."
The contest is open to anyone in the U.S. over the age of 21, and contestants have until August 31 to submit short videos outlining their projects. NGC will feature these projects on the Expedition Granted website, and fans can show their support for their favorites by liking and sharing on social media. After all the videos have been submitted, NGC will rely on its group of advisors to select up to 10 finalists. Brain Games host Jason Silva, musician and producer Thomas Dolby, author and science evangelist Ainissa G. Ramirez, and journalist Thayer Walker are just a few of the exciting talents that have come on board for this project. Click here for a full list of Expedition Granted advisors.
After the group of finalists is released, the public will have a chance to vote for the winning project. The winner will be announced this fall and, in addition to the $50,0000 prize, will be highlighted on-air on NGC. Through this contest, Nat Geo hopes to show that exploration is not just for mountain climbers and photographers; anyone can be an explorer.
Expedition Granted was developed in partnership with the National Geographic Society, 21st Century Fox, and sponsors the Jeep brand and Dos Equis.
On Monday, June 16, the new Los Angeles branch of the New York-based Ghetto Film School opened its doors to its first class of students. The School, which is sponsored by 21st Century Fox, aims to develop the next generation of storytellers by teaching filmmaking to young people from historically low-income communities. Its new site in L.A.'s MacArthur Park uses facilities provided by the nonprofit organization Heart of Los Angeles, which hosted a kick-off event for GFS on Monday.
"It's wonderful for these kids to realize that in their hometown there is this entire creative industry with many different jobs," said Peter Rice, Chairman and CEO of the Fox Networks Group, who spoke at the event. "This can give them an access point. It has changed the lives of thousands of kids in New York, and it will do so here."
Rice was joined by Los Angeles City film czar Ken Ziffren, City Councilman Gil Cedillo, and Academy Award-nominated director David O. Russell, a longtime board member of GFS.
"We have seen 12 years of kids in New York City graduate and go on to college, far beyond the average in New York City," Russell said. "The kids are inspired. They have to work hard, but they learn about every aspect of filmmaking."
The School was founded by Joe Hall in 2000, and since then, it has quickly become a prominent educational and artistic resource. With the new branch in Los Angeles, Hall and his team hope to emulate the curriculum they perfected at the original South Bronx campus and use it to reach new communities of young people in L.A.
"We're looking for kids who are passionate about storytelling and who love movies," said filmmaker Stosh Mintek, who will run the L.A. branch. "We also make sure this is something they are strongly committed to. We have storytelling exercises the kids have to do just to apply. That way we can gage if they have a creative and unique perspective on the story."
The new site is initially operating as an eight-week summer program. Senior Fox executives and other members of the entertainment industry will serve as mentors and lecturers for the student body, which will increase from 23 to 75 carefully selected students over the next few years.