Watch 'Black Panther' Director Ryan Coogler Surprise Ghetto Film School Students

Black Panther director Ryan Coogler visited the Ghetto Film School Fellows program in Los Angeles, [...]

Black Panther director Ryan Coogler visited the Ghetto Film School Fellows program in Los Angeles, California, a free of charge and award-winning nonprofit developing the next generation of filmmakers within local communities.

Synchrony Bank, a promotional partner on the Marvel Studios production, donated a $50,000 grant to Ghetto Film School Fellows as part of the Synchrony Families That Work charitable program. The program aims to alleviate childcare responsibilities for working families by supporting quality after school, summer and weekend programs for kids.

Coogler invited the class of 30 students to Black Panther's January 29 Hollywood premiere, where the students interacted with stars Chadwick Boseman, Lupita Nyong'o, Michael B. Jordan, Letitia Wright, as well as Luke Cage star Mike Colter and Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige.

"Stay you. This industry is a strange one in that it can change you," said Coogler during a Q&A session with the kids. "Find out who you are first, 'cause y'all probably don't even know yet. And once you find that, hold onto it, and be unapologetic about it, because it's going to make your perspective unique."

"What we're focused on at Synchrony is that these are going to be future leaders in the industry," said a Synchrony Bank representative. "We're very happy to be a part of the group that's going to help make them successful."

The #BlackPantherChallenge, a fund aimed at helping children in lower income communities see Black Panther in theaters, has raised more than $300,000 dollars — enough to send 23,000 kids to see the blockbuster when it hits theaters February 16.

Black Panther marks the first Marvel Studios production with a Black lead; its cast, another first, is predominantly Black.

The film has been praised for its depictions of Black Excellence and Black Girl Magic: set almost entirely in Wakanda, the most technologically-advanced nation in the Marvel universe, Black Panther has been hailed for its cultural impact as well as its ongoing positive impact on people of color.

"I'm excited for what Black Panther is about to do, not just for young black boys and girls, but for everyone," said young star Letitia Wright, who plays 16-year-old genius inventor Shuri.

Black Panther "has the potential to be something that's really unique in a lot of different ways," Coogler said in January. "I think that you can't ignore the idea of representation and also the excitement around Marvel Studios and the work that they've been able to pull off when telling original and unique stories."

Feige said he "absolutely" hopes Coogler returns for the Black Panther sequel, sure to be greenlit: the latest Marvel Studios blockbuster is tracking for a massive $180 million opening weekend, a number that would make the biggest-ever February opening.

Black Panther is now in theaters. It will be followed by Avengers: Infinity War on May 4, Ant-Man and the Wasp on July 6, Captain Marvel on March 8, 2019, the fourth Avengers movie on May 3, 2019, the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming on July 5, 2019, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in 2020.