This panel discussion will focus on how to create systemic change for women in the entertainment industry. Panelists will share their personal experiences and explore evidence of unconscious bias, how it manifests within the entertainment industry, and what the industry can do to overcome its effects and create more opportunities for women.
Panelists include: Julie Ann Crommett (Moderator), Lydia Dean Pilcher (producer), Lexi Alexander (director) and Gina Reyes (creative executive, Fox Audience Strategy), Kelly Edwards (VP of Talent Development, HBO)
Julie Ann Crommett is the program manager of computer science education in media at GOOGLE. Her work focuses on shifting the perceptions of computer science in media so as to diversify the field. Prior to this position, she was GOOGLE’s diversity program manager. Previously at NBCUniversal, she was responsible for behind-the-camera diversity including the Directing Fellowship Program and Writers on the Verge. She also initiated a Hispanic episode of NBC’s Grimm, was an NBCU entertainment associate, and worked in reality TV and Pixar Animation Studios. Julie Ann graduated with a B.A. in English from Harvard.
Lydia Dean Pilcher is an American film and television producer and founder of Cine Mosaic, a production company based in New York City. Cine Mosaic has established itself as one of New York’s leading independent production companies forging relationships with a wide range of talent and business partners in the US, Europe, India, Turkey, Africa and the Middle East. Releasing in 2013 are The Reluctant Fundamentalist, (IFC Films) based on the highly acclaimed novel by Mohsin Hamid, starring Riz Ahmed, Kate Hudson, Kiefer Sutherland, Liev Schrieber, and directed by Mira Nair (winner of 2013 German Film Award for Peace); Academy Award nominated Cutie & The Boxer, (Radius-TWC) directed by Zachary Heinzerling (winner of 2013 Sundance Directing Award); and The Lunchbox, (Sony Classics) directed by Ritesh Batra (winner of 2013 Critics Week Viewers Choice Award at Cannes Film Festival). Projects in development include Fela: Music is the Weapon, based on the life of Nigerian musician and political activist, Fela Kuti, with Focus Features and director Andrew Dosunmu; and Belly of the Beast with writer/director Oren Moverman for HBO Films. In post-production is The Sisterhood of Night, based on the short story by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Steven Millhauser and directed by Caryn Waechter.
Born in Germany to a Palestinian father and a German mother, Lexi Alexander, a former World Kickboxing Champion, worked her way up from stunt woman to Oscar-nominated director with her live action short film Johnny Flynton, a drama about a boxer. She has helmed feature films including the SXSW Jury & Audience Award winning drama Green Street Hooligans, Marvel’s Punisher: War Zone and Lifted, a film widely praised by veterans’ groups for carefully telling a politically charged story. Alexander has ventured into television since then, where she has developed shows with multiple production companies and recently directed an episode of the CW’s hit show ARROW as well as CBS’ SUPERGIRL.
Gina Reyes started her career in Hollywood at ICM talent agency in the Motion Picture Production department. After a great experience at ICM, she had the opportunity to work with Salma Hayek at her newly formed production company, Ventanazul, where Ms. Hayek had a film development deal with MGM. At Ventanzul, Gina had the opportunity to seek out intellectual property for potential film development and also had exposure to the television space in working with Ms. Hayek’s TV production company, Ventanarosa, where she had an overall deal with ABC Studios. After four years at Ventanazul, Gina landed at 20th Century Fox Film as a Creative Executive in film development and recently made the move to the Audience Strategy group at Fox Broadcasting Company where she manages the Fox Writers Intensive and the Fox Global Directors Initiative. Gina is a native of Chicago and attended Columbia College where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Broadcast Journalism and Television.
In June 2013 Kelly Edwards joined HBO as their VP of Talent Development and Programming, overseeing all diversity programs above and below the line for series, films, Cinemax and miniseries. Prior to HBO, Edwards was a key corporate diversity executive at Comcast/NBCUniversal for over five years where she introduced diverse creative talent to NBC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and Telemundo. Edwards’ career has spanned both television and film having executive produced the one hour series “Sex, Love, and Secrets” for UPN, serving as SVP of Comedy for UPN, and working with film producers Garry Marshall and Laura Ziskin as their Story Editor. While at UPN, Edwards co-founded Colour TV, a networking group for diverse creative executives. Colour TV has now branched into Colour Film, Colour TV East, and Colour Assistants, all designed to connect current and future industry executives with one another. Edwards graduated from Vassar College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theater and is a member of the Hollywood Radio & Television Society (HRTS), National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC), and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences having served for two years on the Academy Diversity Committee, as a member of the Board of Trustees for the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP), and on the Los Angeles leadership council for the United Negro College Fund.
Date: Sunday, February 21, 2PM
Location: James Room, 418 Barnard Hall