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The Feirstein School in Brooklyn helping to boost diversity in Hollywood

NEW YORK — The move toward greater diversity in Hollywood is getting a big boost in Brooklyn at the film school located inside a working movie studio.

The Feirstein Graduate School of Cinema is part of Brooklyn College and has drawn a diverse group of students.

It’s a truly unique place located at Steiner Studios where working professionals train the next generation of filmmakers using state of the art equipment.

“Our environment is the environment of professional filmmaking,” Executive Director Richard Gladstein said during a walk around campus,.

One student called it “invaluable.”

Gladstein discovered Quentin Tarantino working in a video store and produced his first movie, “Reservoir Dogs.” They have worked together often in the decades since.

“I like new talent. I like new voices,” Gladstein explained.

“I feel it’s really important to have someone of that stature believe in us,” graduate student Jose Jesus Valdez said.

“On top of that,” added Sheherzad Raza Preisler, “it’s also great being with a lot of fellow native New Yorkers.”

They are representative of a student body that another student, Neha Gautam, called, “very diverse. It’s predominately students of color.”

Gautam grew up in Woodside, Queens, and like many at Feirstein, she is the first in her family to go to college.

Valdez said it is, “an environment where everyone can thrive and bring their own stories to light.”

Students make thesis films that serve as calling cards to an industry that remains highly competitive. Instructors are working professionals.

“The quality of instruction is really professional,” said Gautam, standing near the school’s giant green screen where special effects are created.

Her professors have become, “great mentors, and they’ll be honest with you.”

Add in the fact tuition is one third the cost of other film schools and you can see why students are so enthusiastic.

“The support that you get in class and out of class, the tuition is just beyond worth it,” Valdez said.

The Feirstein School is just half a dozen years old, and Executive Director Richard Gladstein has big plans for the place.

The two time Oscar nominee has already invited the likes of Ethan Hawke, director Steven Soderburgh, and others to help students with their films.

ALSO READ | Bonita Hamilton and the return of Broadway’s ‘The Lion King’

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