If nothing else, the end of such a long and fraught political week is a reminder that making an effort to actually listen to the perspectives of underrepresented (or otherwise marginalized) voices remains a critically important part of building a functional, thriving global community—which of course also extends the arts. What better excuse to blow the dust off of our #FlashbackFriday hashtags and revisit the weekend of June 14-15, when our annual Diversity Speaks panels took place at the 2017 LA Film Festival?
Unfolding over two days and featuring six different panels devoted to issues of gay, trans, ethnic minority and female representation on screen, Diversity Speaks boasted a fascinating, humorous and insightful crop of perspectives that were as varied and individual as the panelists themselves. But! Assuming you weren’t able to make it to the historic Kirk Douglas Theatre in Culver City this June, don’t worry. You can now watch the 2017 Diversity Speaks panels in their entirety on our YouTube channel. Or! Just watch below:
IN CONVERSATION: LENA WAITHE SITS DOWN WITH ELVIS MITCHELL
Featuring an intimate keynote conversation with writer and actor Lena Waithe (Netflix’s Master of None), talking to Film Independent Curator Elvis Mitchell about her life, career and creative influences.
RECLAIMING GAY FOR PAY: WHAT IT MEANS TO BE ‘OUT’ IN HOLLYWOOD
Panelists Keiynan Lonsdale (The Flash), Noah Galvin (The Real O’Neals) and Guy Branum (Talk Show the Game Show) question why it remains difficult to come out in Hollywood and the future of storytelling for the LGBTQ+ creative community. The panel was moderated by former E! News Managing Editor Marc Malkin.
STATE OF EMERGENCY: 25 YEARS AFTER THE LA RIOT
A panel devoted to exploring and unpacking the lingering cultural impact of the 1992 LA Riots 25 years after their conclusion. Moderated by former NBC News correspondent George Lewis, the panel featured Sacha Jenkins (Burn Motherfucker, Burn!), Grace Lee (K-TOWN ’92), Daniel Lindsay (LA ’92) T.J. Martin (LA ’92) and Justin Chon (Gook).
CIS IN A TRANS WORLD: TRANSGENDER VISIBILITY
Moderated by Riley Silverman (Not Safe with Nikki Glaser), this panel devoted to issues of cis appropriation and trans visibility included Candis Cayne (The Magicians), Shaan Dasani (Bollywood Invasion), Mari Walker (Swim) and Rachel Crowl (And Then There Was Eve).
WHITEWASHING: ASIAN AND ASIAN-AMERICAN REPRESENTATION
Moderated by Jenny Yang (Disoriented Comedy), this panel explores the anti-whitewashing movement and Hollywood’s portrayal of Asians and Asian cultures. Panelists include Leonardo Nam (Westworld), Kelly Hu (The Scorpion King), Kelvin Yu (Master of None), Ally Maki (Wrecked), Phil Yu (Angry Asian Man blog), Bruce Thierry Cheung (Don’t Come Back from the Moon) and VP of Current Programming at FOX, Gloria Fan.
THE OTHER: DOCUMENTING MARGINALIZED STORIES
Moderated by Film Independent’s Director of Artist Development Jennifer Kushner, this panel featured a variety of stories from filmmakers of underrepresented backgrounds discussing their work both within and outside of traditional Hollywood systems. Panelists included Sydney Freeland (Deidra and Laney Rob a Train), Valerie Red-Horse Mohl (Mankiller), Amy York Rubin (Boxed In), Xan Aranda (Room 104), Julius Tennon (President, JuVee Production) and Marvin Lemus (Gente-fied).
The 2017 LA Film Festival took place June 14-22, headquartered at the ArcLight Cinemas Culver City, with additional screenings at ArcLight Hollywood, ArcLight Santa Monica, LACMA and The Theatre at Ace Hotel. Not a Member of Film Independent yet? Become one today.