Meet Adam Leipzig: The Former National Geographic President Behind MediaU

Written by: Tedfuel

Adam Leipzig is the man behind MediaU, the first entertainment industry ed-tech platform that is providing online film, television, and media training to those who are seeking success in the entertainment industry. Because he’s no stranger to the industry himself, Leipzig’s overwhelming success has set him up to be a helpful guide and mentor to all.

Through his company Entertainment Media Partners, Adam has guided and advised dozens of companies and individuals in film production, international finance, and high-impact storytelling. He honed these skills as a senior executive at Walt Disney Studios and as the president of National Geographic Films.

Additionally, Adam was one of the founders of the Los Angeles Theatre Center, and he has worked with more than 10,000 creatives in film, theater, television, music, dance, poetry, literature, performance, photography, and design. He founded and for the past decade has published Cultural Daily, the popular digital magazine for diverse voices and perspectives, which has published more than 4,500 writers and poets.

He has seen success in his career as a producer, distributor, or supervising executive on more than 35 feature films and documentaries that have disrupted expectations, including March of the Penguins, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, Dead Poets Society, Titus and The Way Back. Adam’s movies have won or been nominated for 10 Academy Awards, 11 BAFTA Awards, 2 Golden Globes, 2 Emmys, 2 Directors Guild Awards, 4 Sundance Awards and 4 Independent Spirit Awards. Collectively, his projects have generated over $2 billion in revenue on $300 million production spending, and twice he has been responsible for the “most profitable picture of the year.”

“Awards and box office performance are wonderful and important in their way,” says Adam. “But overall, let’s use media to enact real change in the world.” A Plastic Ocean, one of his recent documentaries, has inspired more than 150 new laws around the world, and was invited to the United Nations, and US Embassies around the world, where Adam moderated discussions with international scientists and environmental policy-makers.

Adam has a history of working with artists as they explore new realms of their creativity – including producing or supervising the first films directed by Jon Turteltaub, Julie Taymor, Joe Johnston, Cherien Dabis, Luc Jacquet, Michela Scolari, and Mary Agnes Donoghue, and the first plays directed by Robert Altman.  He has also worked with many established directors, including Robert Benton, Lu Chuan, John Curran, Barry Levinson, Dan Petrie Jr., Donald Petrie, Roger Spottiswoode, Fernando Trueba, Peter Weir, and Peter Yates.  

Today, Adam serves as professional faculty at the Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley, where he teaches in both the MBA and Executive Education programs.

Adam embarked on MediaU after Macmillan publishing had asked him to write a university textbook on filmmaking. He prepared for this task by teaching at film schools “because students are awesome at teaching you how they want to learn,” he says.

This experience opened his eyes to the challenges facing film, television, and media education – that it is too inaccessible, too expensive, too long, and does not lead directly to jobs. He notes, “I was shocked to realize that students can spend $250,000, four years of their lives, and not be able to be hired or get jobs in the industry.” This revelation struck a chord with him, and motivated him to create MediaU, a platform to serve people emerging into the film and media industries, and for those at mid-career.

Partnering with a team of entertainment industry and higher education professionals, Adam Leipzig was able to create MediaU with one mission in mind: to address the worldwide explosion of content, and the massive underserved need for skilled personnel for film, television, and media production.

“Our objective is to train and mentor the next million media-makers, and the next million after that,” Adam says.

For more information on MediaU please visit


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