Citing the importance of the entertainment and multimedia industry to California’s economy, Gov. Pete Wilson encouraged film executives last week to support the creation of $1.2 million in scholarships for students studying for careers in digital arts and multimedia.
Up to 500 new annual scholarships an expansion of the state’s existing Cal Grant program would go to students with artistic merit and potential if the initiative is approved, Wilson told members of the American Film Marketing Association at a luncheon in Santa Monica last week.
“This pilot program will allow California’s young people, who might otherwise never have the opportunity, to train at our finest academic institutions for jobs in the emerging industries of the next millennium,” Wilson said.
Wilson said that 60 percent of the digital animators in the film industry are foreign-born. That demonstrates a need for improving education for Californians wanting to join the field of the digital arts, Wilson said.
Wilson said he is looking for $1.2 million in matching funds from the entertainment and multimedia industries.
Sony Corp. has already pledged $150,000, and Wilson said he also expects contributions from DreamWorks SKG, Walt Disney Co. and 20th Century Fox.
The new scholarship program has also received support from Cal Arts, the University of Southern California, the American Film Institute and the University of California, Los Angeles, Wilson said.
Part of the need for the “Cal Grant Digital Arts and Multimedia Initiative,” according to Wilson’s proposal, is that demand for digital artists is likely to grow 20 percent a year for the next five years.