Valentina I. Valentini at Variety:
A few years ago, sound man Jimmy Lifton began a licensed training institute to help military veterans, including homeless vets, get jobs in below-the-line trades.
Last month his organization — the Lifton Institute for Media Arts and Sciences, or LIMS — expanded its scope with the addition of its Reel People program, designed to find jobs in film for a new group: high-functioning autistic adults.
Lifton, a producer and sound department veteran who has taken home two Daytime Emmys and five Golden Reels, has helped bring vets together with below-the-line workers he’s collaborated with through the years, many of whom are repeats to the program. When it came time to train the autistic adults — who, like the vets, are not charged for the training — he observed some of the same work ethic qualities: focus, determination, attention to detail and general stick-with-it-ness.From Reel People:
REEL PEOPLE is a program under Plan of Action a non-profit organization specifically designed to train young adults with autism the technical trades in the film and television industry.
REEL PEOPLE is aimed to train individuals in the areas of lighting, camera operation and electrical distribution, visual effects, costume, art and set construction.
REEL PEOPLE founder, Jimmy Lifton, has been in the entertainment industry for over 40 years.
Through his experience, Mr. Lifton has identified autistic young adults with the ideal characteristics who can successfully contribute to the film and television industry.
“These people, in their own special way, have the drive for perfection, attention for detail and the work ethic to make it in this industry,” said Lifton.
Contributions to REEL PEOPLE will enable the funding for the training and job placements.
“There is no doubt in my mind that autistic adults are the ideal candidates to become highly sought-after crew members.” Lifton said emphatically.
Reel People is not your run of the mill job program for people with autism. Reel People opens a new door for these young adults to a real career field once thought beyond their reach.
“These are people who already have the passion for film and television,” said Lifton
“This gives them an opportunity that many did not think could be available to them.”
Lifton has over 40 projects under his belt since getting into the film and television industry dating back to the early 1980’s. Lifton has won 5 Golden Reels and 2 Emmys for his contributions to projects such as Kung Fu Panda and The Penguins of Madagascar.