Toronto International Film Festival 2018, held thousands of festival-goers, filmmakers, and industry attendees took to the streets at the Share Her Journey Rally to call on the media industry to support better opportunities for women in film.
This event, supported by ReFrame, Time’s Up, and #AfterMeToo, included speeches by ReFrame Co-Founders Keri Putnam and Cathy Schulman, GDI’s Founder Geena Davis, USC’s Dr. Stacy L. Smith, “The Handmaid’s Tale” star Amanda Brugel, and more.
The rally delivered with a pledge and a promise, when TIFF’s Artistic Director and Co-Head Cameron Bailey signed the Pledge, following in the path of the Cannes Film Festival and the Venice Film Festival. The Pledge, began at Cannes by the organization, includes being honest about the members of the selection and programming committees; and reaching an even gender ratio in the organization’s top management.
Fifty Hollywood leaders,influencers, studio heads, agency partners, senior network executives, talent and guild representatives, together launched an action plan to continue gender parity in the media industry.
Formerly known as the Systemic Change Project, ReFrame continues forward on with four years of research in collaboration with the Media, Diversity and Social Change Initiative at USC Annenberg and an October 2015 convening of this group. Our unique strategy involves a peer-to-peer approach, in which ReFrame Ambassador teams engage senior industry decision-makers.
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Hayma Washington is ready to be independent, and make a change in his career as he told Variety, “As I looked back at what we’ve accomplished, I couldn’t be prouder and it just felt for me as a professional and personally it was time to move on,” he says.
“I’m an independent producer and as you sit in that position, you really are limited in some of the things you can do with your agendas, and mine being exclusion and inclusion and diversity. I just felt that as an independent producer, if I could get back out into that arena, I could just be so much more effective in what was personally important to me.”
Hayma was the first African-American chair in the organization’s history, Washington was elected to the post in November 2016.
Washington admitted balancing work with demands of the Academy was difficult at times, because of his international projects going on location. “I have to be honest, whenever I considered what I was suited for, it always came to mind that I had to be mindful of my responsibility to the Academy as far as taking a job that would send me out of the country for long periods of time,” Washington said.
Over the course of Washington’s two-year term, he oversaw a new eight-year contract with the four broadcast networks for the annual primetime Emmy Awards telecast.”
That gives me great confidence that I’m leaving the academy in good shape.” He calls the new wheel contract his proudest accomplishment. “As a producer, I’m very comfortable sitting in an environment of negotiation, but I have to compliment the networks for having the willingness to eventually agree that this was important for both sides,” he says.
When his term expires at the end of the year, Washington will return to producing full-time, citing several projects in the works at the networks. He was an executive producer for CBS’ “Amazing Race,” which earned him seven Emmy Awards, along with a Producers Guild award. He also has producing credits including the MTV Video Music Awards and the ESPYs.
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Lawsuits from Byron Allen seek $20 billion against Comcast and $10 billion against Charter for alleged violations of the Civil Rights Act. Allen said he tried for years to get the cable giants to carry his networks, which were available to millions of television viewers through rival distributors including Verizon, DirecTV, AT&T, DISH. Allen said he has been constantly rebuffed, and alleges race played a factor.
Charter attempted to have Entertainment Studios Network’s suit dismissed on First Amendment grounds, claiming that its choice of cable channels is a form of expression.
The 9th Circuit court of appeals supported the district court’s ruling today, which found that the First Amendment doesn’t shield Charter from engaging in discriminatory conduct. The appeals court reached a similar decision in the suit against Comcast, sending both cases back to the trial court.
Allen stated,“The lack of true economic inclusion for African Americans will end with me, and these rulings show that I am unwavering in my commitment to achieving this long overdue goal.”
Comcast and Charter issued separate statements, expressing disappointment with the ruling.
Comcast said in a statement, “We respectfully disagree with the Court’s decision, and are reviewing the decision and considering our options.”
Entertainment Studios Networks a conglomerate of eight channels, including Pets.TV, Comedy.TV, Recipe.TV, Justice Central.TV and its recent, high-profile acquisition, the Weather Channel filed suits in federal district court in Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles-based media company alleged Charter’s former senior Vice President of programming, Allan Singer, refused to meet with Entertainment Studios representatives. Singer rescheduled and postponed meetings and offered “disingenuous” explanations for refusing to carry it programming, according to court documents.
Court documents found evidence of racial bias, including one incident in which Singer allegedly approached an African-American protest group outside Charter’s headquarters and told them “to get off welfare.” Charter CEO Tom Rutledge referred to Allen as “Boy” at an industry event, court documents allege.
“Plaintiffs suggest that these incidents are illustrative of Charter’s institutional racism,” the Appeals Court writes, in summarizing the case’s history. “Noting also that the cable operator had historically refused to carry African American-owned channels and, prior to its merger with Time Warner Cable, had a board of directors composed only of white men.”
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ABC has been a leading force in entertainment for decades and the success is greatly due to its leaders. Recently there has been a shift in power. There’s a new sheriff in town and her name is Karey Burke. She is currently transitioning into the role of President at ABC. Her predecessor, Channing Dungey was the first African American to lead a U.S. broadcast network. In her time at ABC she was well loved and respected. According to Variety, Dungey rose to this position in 2016 after the departure of Paul Lee. She began her career at NBC as an assistant in the 90s’ and eventually rose to the role of exec VP of Primetime series.
In due time she transitioned to working at ABC. While at ABC Channing Dungey was very instrumental in bringing to air shows like “Scandal” and “How to Get away with Murder” with Shonda Rhimes. Although Dungey’s contract was not over, she decided to leave ABC and the board swiftly transitioned Karey Burke in. Burke comes from Freeform and brings many years of experience as a buyer and seller. (Variety)
To learn more about Channing Dungey watch The Hollywood Reporter’s video below:
Hollywood’s next big sequel is premiering in the next two weeks. On Thanksgiving Day Creed II is opening in theaters and it is truly something to look forward to. This film is a sequel to Creed (2015) which is the eighth installment of the Rocky film series. It stars Michael B. Jordan, Tessa Thompson and Sylvester Stallone.
The film follows Adonis Creed (Micheal B. Jordan) as he trains to fight the son of Ivan Drago, who is the very man who killed his father in the ring 33 years prior.
The voices that birthed this film are Writer Juel Taylor and Director Steven Caple Jr. Both Taylor and Caple are alumni of USC’s MFA in Film & TV Production. When creating this film it was important to continue the legacy of the original film and Rocky series, but both Taylor and Caple made sure to bring their own voice to this picture. Steven Caple Jr states, “…it was imporatnt to stay true to that while putting your own stamp on it.”
To learn more about the film and the making of it watch the featurette below: