Austin Film Society Announces Rakeda L. Ervin as New Director of Community Education

(Rakeda Ervin, photo by Isaac Rowry)

Brady Dyer, Communications Manager

AFS Announces Television and Creative Media Industry Veteran
Rakeda L. Ervin Appointed Director of Community Education

January 20, 2022 (AUSTIN, TX)—The Austin Film Society (AFS) announces the appointment of Rakeda L. Ervin as the new Director of Community Education. A film, television, and media industry veteran with extensive experience in education, Rakeda will take on the reins of AFS’ new Workforce Development Program and lead the organization’s education and training programs. Download photo here.

In addition to focusing on continuing education opportunities for the community, Rakeda will spearhead the design and implementation of an expanded workforce development and internship program that trains individuals underrepresented in the film and creative media industries and places them in jobs relevant to their skills. She will be based at Austin Public, the community media center for the city of Austin, which is operated by AFS. The next round of applications for the workforce development program will open in early March.

“Rakeda is a triple threat, bringing experience in the television and media industry as a producer and content creator; experience and credentials as an educator, and what matters the most to AFS: an unstoppable passion for connecting people to opportunity and redressing inequities in the field,” states AFS CEO Rebecca Campbell. “She is uniquely qualified to help AFS continue to support and nurture the Texas film ecosystem by providing avenues for professional growth and equitable access to the means to do so for all Austinites.”

Austin Public is a space that is specifically designed to provide the community with many points of access to filmmaking and digital storytelling by offering low- and no-cost training, equipment, facilities, and content distribution services to all Austinites. Its programs empower individuals and nonprofit organizations to create film and media projects that speak to the local community, facilitate community building, and diversify the media landscape. Austin Public operates cable channels 10, 11, and 16 (cable channel 10 being the longest continually running public access station in the country) and simultaneously streams the channels through video-on-demand and over the top distribution services. AFS took over management of Austin Public from the City of Austin in 2015 and renewed the contract this past October through 2026.

Rakeda comes to AFS with years of experience as a program director in education as a teacher and curriculum developer and in content creation for television and digital media. She has produced series and documentaries for MTV, VH1, CNN, A&E, and NBC Universal. Her independent film projects include producer credits on such works as “The N Word,” (for which received a Peabody Award) and “X=A Generation Evolved,” a short documentary which she also wrote and directed. Her clients for digital series have included the Essence Festival, BET, and SXSW.

She relocated from Los Angeles to Austin in 2009 and became certified in Career and Technical Education, then taught audio and video production at the Liberal Arts & Science Academy (LASA High School) and Manor High School, where she developed the media program from the ground up. She has also served as the Director of Production of a non-profit in continuing education, overseeing audio and video production.

Rakeda describes her work in film, TV, and education as the culmination of her professional experiences, where passion and purpose meet. “My goal of becoming a better servant leader is the key to helping others find a meaningful career in the entertainment industry,” she says. “I’m honored to join the Austin Film Society as Director of Community Education for the opportunity to provide support in building those critical pathways to jobs and to shape the future of the industry.”

Founded in 1985 by filmmaker Richard Linklater, AFS creates life-changing opportunities for filmmakers, catalyzes Austin and Texas as a creative hub, and brings the community together around great film. AFS is committed to racial equity and inclusion, with an objective to deliver programs that actively dismantle the structural racism, sexism, and other bias in the screen industries. AFS supports filmmakers from all backgrounds towards career leaps, encouraging exceptional artistic projects with grants and support services. AFS operates Austin Studios, a 20-acre production facility, to attract and grow the creative media ecosystem. Austin Public, a space for our city’s diverse mediamakers to train and collaborate, provides many points of access to filmmaking and film careers. The AFS Cinema is an ambitiously programmed repertory and first run arthouse with broad community engagement. By hosting premieres, local and international industry events, and the Texas Film Awards, AFS shines the national spotlight on Texas filmmakers while connecting Austin and Texas to the wider film community. AFS is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.