vin diesel*Eight years ago actor Vin Diesel met with the former president of the Dominican Republic, Leonal Fernandez, at his request to discuss business.

Diesel was doing some location scouting for “Hannibal,” when the two met to talk about ways to bring Hollywood and filmmaking in general to the island.

While the idea to open a film studio seemed like a good idea, Diesel pointed out the need to have someone there to instruct the people. So he launched the One Race Global Film Foundation.

The foundation houses programs such as a summer intensive film workshop that’s said to be modeled after the Media Workshop that Diesel’s stepfather, Irving Vincent, teaches at NYU.

“We came up with this deal, where I brought my father down, and the concept was to teach these kids how to do things right,” Diesel told Variety.

After the foundation was opened eight years ago, one of One Race Global Film Foundation’s first students, Maria Victoria Hernandez is now a model for the school.

Hernandez was 16 years old then, and is now 23. She is a writer and director with production credits in the Dominican Republic, Spain and the USA. Hernandez will now consider producing a short documentary series about a youth orchestra in the DR, while continuing to volunteer with fellow alumni at One Race.

As Variety notes, the One Race program has made tremendous strides over the last 8 years, training 210 young filmmakers, many going on to study at NYU.

“Our biggest priority is putting a camera in their hand on day one… Every student comes out a filmmaker,” says Samantha Vincent, Diesel’s sister and a board member at One Race.