Published September 21, 2021
The Hollywood Climate Summit at NYU Los Angeles
Something big is brewing this month at the intersection of entertainment and environmentalism. NYU Los Angeles, along with the social impact agency Young Entertainment Activists (YEA!) and Netflix, brings four days of action-oriented programming to young creatives working in entertainment with the Hollywood Climate Summit. Anyone can attend!
For the second year in a row, young Hollywood leaders and students pursuing a creative career will have the chance to connect with like-minded professionals. Together, they’ll examine topics like climate storytelling, eco-influencing, and sustainability in everything from film to concerts and gaming. Highlights include interactive panels with filmmakers, environmentalists, and politicians. In addition, there will be a film screening of Youth v. Gov, directed by Christi Cooper, and a fully sustainable party. Small workshops, one-on-one networking with industry leaders and change-makers, and virtual vendors and job fairs round out the four-day event with a more individualized touch.
And while NYU Los Angeles might focus on entertainment broadcast technology, the summit targets a much broader audience. “The Hollywood Climate Summit is not just for Hollywood people,” says site director Nina Sadowsky. “It’s about how anyone can advocate anywhere.”
NYU Los Angeles, launched in the fall of 2019, is the perfect program to help young creatives break into the entertainment scene while still in college. This is especially true for juniors and seniors looking to put their experience to the test. “What we provide here is a professional bridge. It’s all about how we can launch you into the professional arena,” Sadowsky says.
There are so many opportunities in LA to expand your network as a creator. For example, the program offers a one-to-one mentorship program where students are paired with mentors in the field. Then, in the Discovery Experience, professionals guide students through a research project, which students present to a panel of industry guests. Whatʼs more, NYU Los Angeles holds Discovery Sessions, free professional development classes available to any student enrolled in a class at NYU. There are over 15,000 NYU alumni in the LA community, and they jump at the chance to come back and help propel current students forward into careers.
But in today’s world, NYU students aren’t just hoping to succeed in the industry—they’re trying to change it. And when it comes to committing to increasing sustainability, the NYU community leads the way. Just last month, NYU joined the Green Film School Alliance, built on specific actions aimed to reduce the impacts of physical production on the environment, a willingness to share best practices, and a pledge to further sustainable initiatives. In addition, the Tisch School of the Arts is set to pilot a green production program this fall. And of course, even beyond the Hollywood Climate Summit, NYU Los Angeles works with YEA! to spread the word that our fight against climate change is serious—but not without hope.
“Amplification of that message is the whole goal,” Sadowski says. “You’re not powerless. Every single one of us can do something that will affect change.”
Summit, Past and Present
The first Hollywood Climate Summit was an exercise in creativity. Launched just a few months into the COVID-19 pandemic, it quickly shifted from an in-person event to an online one. But despite a few technical glitches, that summit was a great success. “Here’s the really beautiful thing,” Sadowsky says, “we were only able to accommodate maybe 150 people in person. But by doing it virtually, we actually reached over 15,000.”
This year’s summit is a mix of virtual and in-person events. Attendees will hear from big voices in the industry like actor Rosario Dawson, Netflix sustainability officer Emma Stewart, and Senator Ed Markey. Other speakers include a number of eco-influencers who post eco-friendly content on platforms like Instagram and TikTok—people like Leah Thomas, founder of @intersectionalenvironmentalist, and Isaias Hernandez, environmental educator at @queerbrownvegan. It’s through these people, leaders and change-makers in their respective fields, that YEA!, Netflix, and NYU Los Angeles hope to inspire a generation to push for accountability and solutions that can help save our planet.
“Storytellers have a unique power to shape the culture,” Sadowsky says. “Art can change minds and hearts in a way that argument cannot.” And through their coursework, creativity, and commitment to change, NYU students are primed to be key parts of that movement.
The Hollywood Climate Summit is September 23 to 26. Visit HollywoodClimateSummit.com for more information and to purchase tickets. And if you need support purchasing a ticket, they can help you out.