Cargo and Urban League Partner with USC Upstate to Boost Film Production and Education in South Carolina

May 17, 2023 at 1:04 pm

The University of South Carolina Upstate will host a new initiative aimed at boosting South Carolina’s presence in the entertainment industry. Marketing agency Cargo has partnered with the Urban League of the Upstate, along with the Minority Film Institute and the S.C. Film Commission, to form a task force with the goal of attracting film productions to the Upstate and state.

“We are thrilled to be hosting this exciting new initiative that will help boost South Carolina’s presence in the entertainment industry,” said USC Upstate Chancellor Bennie Harris, Ph.D. “By partnering with Cargo and the Urban League of the Upstate, we are creating new opportunities for our students and the community, while also contributing to the economic growth of the state. USC Upstate is proud to be a part of this important project.”

As part of this alliance, Cargo will produce marketing materials and media, while the Urban League of the Upstate will spearhead training programs for minority groups in technical and creative aspects of film and television production, as well as topics such as wealth management and personal development. These classes will be presented at USC Upstate’s George Dean Johnson, Jr. College of Business and Economics in downtown Spartanburg.

The Urban League’s objective is to expand the infrastructure for film production in the Upstate, and to that end, the organization will host an annual symposium that will feature panels led by experts in the industry, as well as film screenings. This symposium will offer an opportunity for both education and networking.

In addition to the symposium, the Urban League has plans for a virtual production studio and theater to be in Spartanburg. Once the studio is completed, Cargo will take over operations and management, giving access to students, the community, and Cargo’s clients.

The goal of the task force and the alliance is to strengthen the Palmetto State’s role in film and TV production.

“Cargo is thrilled to be joining forces with the Urban League of the Upstate to support workforce development in the entertainment industry,” said David Estrada, global executive producer for Cargo, in a statement. “We believe this initiative will help to create opportunities for more individuals to enter the industry and develop the skills and knowledge needed to succeed. We look forward to working with the Urban League and other collaborators on this exciting project.”

Gail Wilson Awan, president and CEO of the Urban League of the Upstate, said the alliance will make a difference for aspiring filmmakers and production crew members in South Carolina.

“This innovative alliance with Cargo will help develop a diverse, skilled workforce of Upstate crew members, which would make the state and our region more attractive to production companies,” she said in a statement. “This creates new jobs and expands existing ones for entrepreneurs, small and minority business owners, and creative professionals.”

As a host to these new classes and initiatives, USC Upstate is proud to contribute to the growth and development of South Carolina’s entertainment industry.