HOLLYWOOD IMPACT STUDIOS was founded by Grace members Gary and Cyndi Hall in December of 2008 as a faith-based “outreach” program that uses the art of television and filmmaking to change lives by providing a training ground where Hollywood professionals teach and mentor incarcerated men; helping them to develop their individual talents in order to successfully work in the profession of their choosing. All of this is taught in an up-lifting, life affirming, hope-filled environment.
Although Gary is a Sr. Vice President with 20th Century Fox Television, and Cyndi a professional studio musician, this idea grew out of Gary’s second vocation, that of a Los Angeles Police Officer and Cyndi’s early vocation as a social worker. It frustrated and saddened them to see lives being wasted. Many of those incarcerated in the jails or living in the projects throughout Los Angeles were not aware of the different hope filled opportunities available to them. One of those opportunities was the careers found in the television and motion picture industry. Was there a way for “Hollywood” to have a positive impact on society, especially those people living in the “margins of life”? Thus HOLLYWOOD IMPACT STUDIOS was born.
Gary and Cyndi met with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in March of 2009 to discuss the idea of starting a “film school behind bars” in partnership with their M.E.R.I.T. Program (Men Evolving to Recovery through In-custody Treatment). The Los Angeles County Jail system incarcerates approximate 20,000 inmates; ONLY a select few are accepted into the M.E.R.I.T. Program. On June 3 of the same year, Gary and Cyndi, along with some of their Christian “Hollywood friends” began the interview process to identify 28 inmate/film students. On June 10, 2009, HOLLYWOOD IMPACT STUDIOS held the first class of a 12 week semester.
HOLLYWOOD IMPACT STUDIOS does not stay behind bars. Their volunteers continue to walk alongside and minister to these men and their families once they are released from jail or prison. Successful re-integration and reunification are a large part of this ministry, with HOLLYWOOD IMPACT STUDIOS leading the “Alumni-Continuum” every Tuesday night at Grace Baptist Church.
IN THE FUTURE…
They also desire to be a studio that produces high quality, family friendly programming that hires and employees the very students they are reaching; thus producing two products, great entertainment and changed lives for those who truly need it.
They also hope to take this program to the inner-city and wounded veteran’s groups. For more details or to contact HOLLYWOOD IMPACT STUDIOS, e-mail them thru this website or call them or call (310) 463-0080.