Academy Hires Edgar Aguirre to Expand Minority Internship Program

Gene Maddaus
Variety

Stung by #OscarsSoWhite, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences is continuing to take steps to address the lack of non-white representation in the film industry.

The latest move, announced Tuesday, is the hiring of Edgar Aguirre to oversee the expansion of the Academy’s minority internship program. Aguirre was named the first-ever director of talent development and inclusion.

Aguirre will work to place college students for eight-week internships at the major studios.

“I am honored to join the Academy team in furthering expansion of opportunities for all professionals in the creative industry,” Aguirre said in a prepared statement. “There is an alignment of support, enthusiasm, and goodwill within the industry that has the potential to create some meaningful and measurable opportunities.”

The move follows the Academy’s decision in June to diversify its ranks by inviting 683 new members, of which 41% are non-white and 46% are women. The Academy took the steps under pressure, following two straight years in which all the Academy Award nominees in the acting categories were white.

Aguirre comes to the Academy with a background in non-profit fundraising and community outreach. Most recently, he worked at radio station KPCC, where he served for five years as the managing director of external relations and strategic initiatives.

Aguirre was hired to lead efforts to expand the station’s Latino audience, with $6 million in grant funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. He held community forums and strengthened relationships between the station and the Latino business community, according to a report commissioned by the CPB. The station’s efforts resulted in a 96% increase in the Latino audience.

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