The Watts Cinema & Education Center, Inc. (WCEC), a 501 (C)(3) non-profit organization, was founded in 1995 to enhance opportunities in the Watts/Willowbrook community for education/vocational training, economic development and cultural experiences. The Wattstar Theatre will be a state-of-the-art feature and specialty films exhibition house and will become the first theater constructed in Watts in nearly 50 years.
Led by longtime community advocate and job training leader Barbara Stanton, WCEC’s mission has included substantive education and job training programs for youth in its neighboring communities. WCEC has trained and equipped high school and college students with training and on-the-job experience that would not be otherwise available to the students in their communities. Over the years many youth who participated in these legacy programs have secured entry-level positions in the entertainment industry and have continued to work in related fields. Wattstar provided me with an awesome educational experience. I always wanted to work in the entertainment industry. The training, support and hands-on experiences, helped me secure a position with a movie studio – a major goal in my life. I had many unexpected opportunities - a chance to meet different people, to tour studio facilities and to work with professionals in the industry. I will never forget the day we graduated at Paramount Studios. As a kid who grew up in Nickerson Gardens Housing Project, I was able to see a very different world because of the opportunities Wattstar offered me. I am very grateful to Ms. Stanton for her hard work and happy to see the Wattstar Theatre and Education Center become a reality.” - Rodney Earley, Studio Operations, Walt Disney Motion Pictures
The mission of the Watts Cinema and Education Center Inc. is to erect and operate the building (Wattstar) that will facilitate quality family entertainment, educational enrichment, global communications, and economic development through job training and business development in the entertainment industry. The project involves the construction of a 33,000 square foot structure on a 72,310 square foot site in the Watts Redevelopment project area. Watts is a four square mile community located in the southeasterly quadrant of South Central Los Angeles.
The Wattstar Theatre, a four-screen feature and specialty film cinema and a concourse and lobby overlooking the world-renowned Watts Towers, is the first theatre constructed in Watts in nearly 50 years. The Wattstar will serve as an anchor for the redevelopment of the Watts/Willowbrook communities, provide a venue for multi-cultural events, ethnic films and cultural enrichment. All residents can enjoy the Wattstar as parking is ample and convenient, wheelchair ramps and handrails are available to assist the “handicapable,” and infrared transmitters are installed to accommodate headsets for the hearing impaired.
The new Wattstar facility will feature first-run entertainment, life skills training employment development opportunities, entrepreneurial education and business creation, establishing it both as a community resource and a destination for residents throughout the city. The theatre will set itself apart with the highest level of customer service, attention to detail and focus on the best cinematic experience possible. The theatre will also generate income to support the efforts of its non-profit education center. Moreover it will be a source of employment for the community.
Wattstar will offer a wide array of educational and vocational training programs such as video/film production, post-production, animation, music editing and multimedia design to prepare students for entertainment industry-related jobs. Courses will also be offered in Microsoft certification and entrepreneurship to promote the development of businesses as viable sources of employment for community residents. While Wattstar will create cultural/entertainment impacts, the Project is first and foremost an economic and workforce development initiative.
© 2013. Watts Cinema & Education Center, Inc. . All rights reserved.