Discussion with 20th Century Fox Chairman & CEO James N. Gianopulos

New York Film Academy students were invited to a theatre on the 20th Century Fox Studios Lot in Beverly Hills for an amazing opportunity—a Q&A with Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of 20th Century Fox Corp., James N. Gianopulos. The event was moderated by producer Tova Laiter.
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Often, throughout the event, the subject of international filmmakers and more diversity in the industry came up. When asked if students from abroad who studied here should stay here or return home to start their careers, Mr. Gianopulos said,  If you’re [already] here, stay here…there’s so much talent here. It’s no accident that Hollywood is what it is.”

He acknowledged, though, that “very few movies are filmed in Hollywood—it is too expensive,” but overall he still believed that students should remain here if they can, unless they want to return to live in their original country and make movies about their own culture.

A student asked what would make Mr. Gianopulos want to work with an international filmmaker, and he told the student, “it’s not whether they are international or not, it’s whether they are a talented filmmaker with a good story to tell.”

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Producer Tova Laiter with 20th Century Fox Chairman & CEO James N. Gianopulos

“Culture is more diverse than ever and the studios are looking to match it both because it is the right thing and also because the movies will appeal more to the the diverse audience around the globe. He brought the example of The Martians in which the cast was very diverse. Ridley Scott chose them because they were best for the role.

Where the industry is lacking is behind the camera. He expressed Fox’s support for “The Ghetto Film School,” which is a program for high schooler filmmakers in disadvantage areas of NYC and LA to learn without cost to them. In terms of gender, four out of the five top positions of the creative divisions at Fox are women (big applause here from NYFA females!).

When asked where a young filmmaker should start in order to get the attention of the bigger studios, Mr. Gianopulos told the student that Fox doesn’t “take unsolicited material,” so the students should “keep making stuff and keep networking relentlessly until [they] get noticed by an agent who can submit for you.” He candidly told students “I worked my a– off in between the lucky breaks.”

When asked what trait that he found most useful, he considered the question for a moment, and then said that “I’ve been trying to put humility to work.” He also said to “have trust in the people you work with.”

After the Q&A, students were treated to a trailer for the film X-Men: Apocalypse on the big screen.

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Published on: March 25, 2016

Filled Under: Filmmaking, Guest Speakers, Producing

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