Alice Snedden

Alice Snedden is a writer, comedian and improvisor with a string of top New Zealand TV credits to her name and one half of the popular podcast, BONERS OF THE HEART.

The power of inclusion: Alice Snedden

Ana Scotney

Rising star Ana Scotney (Ngāti Tāwhaki), who made her feature film acting debut in THE BREAKER UPPERERS (2018) and is a film and award winning theatre maker.

The power of inclusion: Ana Scotney

Benjamin Law

Benjamin Law is an Australian journalist, columnist and screenwriter, who adapted his book THE FAMILY LAW into a critically-acclaimed and award-winning comedy series.

The power of inclusion: Benjamin Law

Franklin Leonard

Franklin Leonard is an American film executive and producer of The Black List, a yearly publication featuring Hollywood’s
most popular unproduced
screenplays.

The power of inclusion: Franklin Leonard

Hope Dickson Leach

Hope Dickson Leach is the award-winning writer-director of THE LEVELLING and co-founded Raising Films, a campaigning
community for parents
and carers in the
screen industries.

The power of inclusion: Hope Dickson Leach

Jackie van Beek

Jackie van Beek is an award-winning actor, writer and director whose directing credits include films THE INLAND ROAD and THE BREAKER UPPERERS (with Madeleine Sami)
and TV series
WELLINGTON
PARANORMAL
(NZ) and WHAT
WE DO IN THE
SHADOWS (US).

The power of inclusion: Jackie  van Beek

Kiel McNaughton

Kiel McNaughton (Māori Ngāti Māhanga/Chinese/Pākehā) is a director and producer of diverse and innovative
narrative content,
including
ground-breaking
feature films WARU
and VAI which he
produced.

The power of inclusion: Kiel McNaughton

Kirsten Schaffer

Kirsten Schaffer is Executive Director of Women in Film, Los Angeles and has been instrumental in the launching of industry game changer
ReFrame, an initiative to
advance inclusivity and
gender equity.

The power of inclusion: Kirsten Schaffer

Kerry Warkia

Kerry Warkia (Papua New Guinean / Scottish) is a producer who has been at the forefront of some of New Zealand’s most innovative content for film, television and web,
including
ground-breaking
feature films
WARU and VAI.

The power of inclusion: Kerry Warkia

Prime Minister Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern is the 40th and current Prime Minister of New Zealand and the
world's youngest
female head of
government.

The power of inclusion: Prime Minister Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern

Madeleine Sami

Madeleine Sami is an accomplished actor, writer and director having done all three for the hit film THE BREAKER UPPERERS with Jackie van Beek, has starred in the feature
WHAT WE DO IN
THE SHADOWS
and also
created critically
acclaimed
TV series
SUPER CITY.

The power of inclusion: Madeleine Sami

Magda Szubanski

Magda Szubanski AO is a celebrated actor, producer and best-selling author, and was ‘The Most Talked About Person’ in 2017 for her crucial role in advocating for
marriage equality
in Australia.

The power of inclusion: Magda Szubanski

Maria Giese

Maria Giese is an award-winning feature film director who, in 2015, became the person that instigated the biggest industry-wide Federal investigation for
women directors in
Hollywood history.

The power of inclusion: Maria Giese

Niki Caro

Niki Caro is a multi award-winning New Zealand film director and screenwriter whose credits include THE ZOOKEEPERS WIFE, NORTH COUNTRY,
WHALE RIDER and
upcoming MULAN.

The power of inclusion: Niki Caro

Osnat Shurer

Osnat Shurer is the Academy Award®-nominated Producer of MOANA who created the film’s Oceanic Story Trust, a team of Pasifika consultants and collaborators on the film, and previously led Pixar
Animation Studios
short film group.

The power of inclusion: Osnat Shurer

Philippa Boyens

Philippa Boyens is the Academy Award-winning New Zealand writer of THE LORD OF THE RINGS and co-producer and writer of KING KONG, THE HOBBIT TRILOGY and THE LOVELY BONES.

The power of inclusion: Philippa Boyens

Tilane Jones

Tilane Jones leads Ava DuVernay’s grass-roots film collective ARRAY as President, having worked with DuVernay for over ten years
and earning film credits
that include Oscar
nominated and
four-time
Emmy winner 13TH
and Oscar
nominated SELMA.

The power of inclusion: Tilane Jones

Dr. Stacy L. Smith

Dr. Stacy L. Smith is the Founder and Director of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at the Annenberg School for Communication
& Journalism at the
University of
Southern California.

The power of inclusion: Dr. Stacy L. Smith

Further speakers and full programme to be announced.

The power of inclusion: Alice Snedden

Alice Snedden

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Alice Snedden a writer, comedian and improvisor from Auckland. A 2017 Billy T nominee, she has been head writer of multi series TV3 shows, JONO AND BEN and FUNNY GIRLS, GOLDEN BOY, as well as regularly appearing on panel show 7DAYS, starring series Alice Snedden’s BAD NEWS and presenting as co-host of podcast BONERS OF THE HEART.

Twitter: @alicesnedden

Instagram: @alicesnedden

The power of inclusion: Ana Scotney

Ana Scotney

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Ana works commercially as an actor across the platforms of live performance, cinema and television. She works independently as an interdisciplinary storyteller, creating original works of art across the platforms of cinema, live theatre, zines, music, animation and visual art. 

Ana captured the world’s hearts in 2018 for her role as Sepa, in the hit feature film THE BREAKER UPPERERS by Jackie Van Beek & Madeleine Sami. The same year she starred in the series WELLINGTON PARANORMAL, the spin-off of WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS from directors Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement. Her first short film that she directed and wrote, DANCE OF LONELY BIRDS was shown at WINDA Indigenous Film Festival in Sydney, The Bali Indigenous Film Festival, and at Māoriland film festival

A multi award winning performer and theatre maker, Ana’s zine GULFS was awarded "Best of the Fest" at Wellington Zinefest in 2018.

She is passionate about telling stories from Aotearoa, New Zealand. Ana loves being a part of processes that dismantle existing power hierarchies by cultivating working environments that value kindness, tenacity and personal transformation for both collaborators, and audiences alike. Born and raised in Wellington, Ana describes herself as a, "Dank loner, thespian, cinema appreciating, art inhaling nerd." She is passionate about flexing both her intellectual and emotional muscles in the work that she makes and contributes to. Her favourite cocktail is a dry Negroni, slightly heavy on the Campari, and her favourite cartoon is Ed, Edd N Eddie. Aquarius Sun, Taurus Moon, Capricorn rising. Hailing from Wellington and Tūhoe. 

Adjacent to her work, Ana practises Nichiren Buddhism and cherishes long durational walks and swims as a means of reconnecting to source, and an internal state of gentleness.

The power of inclusion: Benjamin Law

Benjamin Law

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Benjamin Law is a Sydney-based journalist, columnist and screenwriter, who has completed a PhD in TV writing and cultural studies. He is the author of books including THE FAMILY LAW and GAYSIA: ADVENTURES IN THE QUEER EAST, which were both nominated for Australian Book Industry Awards. 

The TV adaptation of THE FAMILY LAW, created and co-written by Benjamin, and produced by Matchbox Pictures, screened on SBS in 2016. The pilot’s Facebook premiere gained 1.1 million views, with the season as a whole the most-watched comedy on SBS On Demand. THE FAMILY LAW returned for two further seasons, winning two Equity Ensemble Awards (Best Ensemble in a Comedy Series), two Casting Guild Awards (Best Casting in a Comedy) a SPAA Award (Best Comedy Series). Benjamin also wrote on Netflix/Network Ten’s SISTERS, and recently developed and hosted documentary series WALTZING THE DRAGON WITH BENJAMIN LAW.

Benjamin has written for over 50 publications including his Quarterly Essay MORAL PANIC 101.

Twitter: @mrbenjaminlaw

Instagram: @mrbenjaminlaw

Facebook: /benjaminlaw

The power of inclusion: Franklin Leonard

Franklin Leonard

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Franklin Leonard is a film producer, cultural commentator, professor, and entrepreneur.

He is the founder and CEO of the Black List, the company that celebrates and supports great screenwriting and the writers who do it via film production, its annual survey of best unproduced screenplays, online marketplace, live staged script readings, screenwriter labs, and film culture publications. More than 400 scripts from the annual Black List survey have been produced as feature films earning 250 Academy Award nominations and 50 wins including four of the last ten Best Pictures and ten of the last twenty-two screenwriting Oscars. 

Franklin has worked in feature film development at Universal Pictures and the production companies of Will Smith, Sydney Pollack and Anthony Minghella, and Leonardo DiCaprio. He has been a juror at the Sundance, Toronto, and Guanajuato Film Festivals and for the PEN Center Literary Awards. He was also a delegate and speaker at the White House’s 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi, Kenya. He’s been one of Hollywood Reporter’s 35 Under 35, Black Enterprise magazine’s “40 Emerging Leaders for Our Future,” The Root’s 100 Most Influential African-Americans, and Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business,” and was awarded the 2015 African-American Film Critics Association (AAFCA)’s Special Achievement Award for career excellence and the 2019 Writers Guild of America, East Evelyn Burkey award for elevating the honor and dignity of screenwriters.

He is an occasional commentator for the BBC and MSNBC on matters of culture, politics, and race, an associate professor at the American Film institute, a trustee of PEN America, an advisor to Glitch, Inc., and a member of the Associates Branch of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. His TED talk was viewed more than one million times in its first two months of release.

Twitter: @franklinleonard

Instagram: @franklinleonard  @theblcklst

Facebook: /franklinjleonard


The power of inclusion: Hope Dickson Leach

Hope Dickson Leach

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Hope completed her MFA in filmmaking at Columbia University where she made three short films that played at festivals worldwide. While in New York she was assistant to Todd Solondz on his film PALINDROMES. Hope’s award-winning thesis film, THE DAWN CHORUS, was selected for Sundance, Edinburgh, London and many other festivals. Screen International made her a Star of Tomorrow and Filmmaker Magazine named her one of the ’25 New Faces of Independent Film’. Since her return to the UK, she has made further acclaimed short works for Channel 4, Film London, the UK Film Council and the National Theatre of Scotland. Her debut feature THE LEVELLING, produced by Wellington Films as part the iFeatures scheme (funded by BBC Films, the BFI and Creative England) had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival in September 2016. At the London Film Festival she was awarded the inaugural IWC Filmmaker Bursary Award in Association with the BFI and in 2017 she won the BAFTA Scotland Award for Best Screenplay and was named a BAFTA Breakthrough Brit. 

She is currently developing several features and is a co-founder of Raising Films - a campaign to make the film industry more parent and carer-friendly. She lives in Scotland with her husband and two sons.

Twitter: @hopedickle


The power of inclusion: Jackie  van Beek

Jackie van Beek

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With a background in devised theatre, Jackie fell in love with filmmaking in her thirties. After making a collection of short films, she premiered her first feature film THE INLAND ROAD in competition at the 2017 Berlin Film Festival. Her second feature THE BREAKER UPPERERS  (created with Madeleine Sami) premiered to rave reviews at SXSW and opened the 2018 Sydney Film Festival.

Jackie’s directed on television series WELLINGTON PARANORMAL (NZ) and WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS (US) and has recently created her own series EDUCATORS with comedians Jonny Brugh and Jesse Griffin.

As an actor she is best known for her role as the desperate familiar in Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement’s vampire documentary, WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS.

Jackie and Madeleine were named TimeOut NZ Entertainers of the Year, 2018.

 

The power of inclusion: Kiel McNaughton

Kiel McNaughton

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Kiel McNaughton is a director and producer of diverse and innovative narrative content.

After spending four and a half years in front of the camera as a core cast member on New Zealand’s most watched soap SHORTLAND STREET, Kiel moved behind the camera to direct and executive produce the award-winning comedy series AUCKLAND DAZE. He has since directed full seasons of FIND ME A MĀORI BRIDE and THIS IS PIKI and produced the feature films WARU and VAI.

Kiel’s first film as a director will be THE LEGEND OF BARON TO’A - an action/adventure film set in an urban cul-de-sac in Aotearoa.

Along with Kerry Warkia, Kiel is co-founder of Brown Sugar Apple Grunt Productions, whose goal is to tell stories unique to Aotearoa, with a passion for innovative content that celebrates diversity and in particular under represented voices. 

Twitter: @kielMcNaughton

Instagram: @kielmac

The power of inclusion: Kirsten Schaffer

Kirsten Schaffer

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Kirsten Schaffer is the Executive Director of Women In Film, Los Angeles the preeminent organization that advocates for women in the screen industries – to achieve parity and transform culture. She has been instrumental in launching ReFrame, an industry wide initiative to advance inclusivity and gender equity, as well as starting a variety of programs at Women In Film to increase the skillset and opportunity for film and tv makers. Previously she was the Director of Programming and then Executive Director of Outfest. 

She is widely credited as having grown Outfest into the leading LGBT media arts organization that it is. During Schaffer’s tenure at Outfest, she shepherded three new programs for the organization: The Outfest UCLA Legacy Project, the Fusion LGBT People of Color Film Festival and OutSet, the Young Filmmakers Project. Kirsten has extensive experience in film programming, small business management and arts administration. She is a graduate of National Arts Strategies Chief Executive Program, AIM (Arts Innovation and Management), and the Wells Fargo New Executive Director Institute. Kirsten was named one of POWER UP’s “Top 10 Women in Show Business,” and was the recipient of a “Women in Business” Award from Senator Liu. She is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

The power of inclusion: Kerry Warkia

Kerry Warkia

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Kerry Warkia (Papua New Guinean / Scottish) is a producer who has been at the forefront of some of New Zealand’s most innovative content for film, television and web.

Passionate about telling Māori and Pacific stories, her second feature film VAI set in seven Pacific island countries and made in collaboration with nine Pacific va'ine (women) had its world premiere at the Berlinale Film Festival 2019.

In 2016 Kerry produced, ground-breaking feature film WARU made up of eight vignettes and made in collaboration with nine wāhine (female) Māori film-makers.

Kerry was acknowledged as “Woman to Watch” at the 2014 NZ WIFT Awards and in 2017, she was awarded the SPADA Independent Producer of the Year Award, a testament to Kerry’s determination to tell a diverse range of stories that ignite her passion.

Currently, Kerry is in post-production on her third feature film an action-comedy called THE LEGEND OF BARON TO'A directed by Kiel McNaughton.

Along with Kiel McNaughton, Kerry is co-founder of Brown Sugar Apple Grunt Productions, whose goal is to tell stories unique to Aotearoa, with a passion for innovative content that celebrates diversity and in particular under represented voices. 

Twitter: @kerrywarkia

Instagram: @kerry.warkia

The power of inclusion: Prime Minister Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern

Prime Minister Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern

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Prime Minister Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern was born in the city of Hamilton, New Zealand, and grew up rurally. She attended high school before graduating from the University of Waikato with a Bachelor of Communication Studies in Politics and Public Relations.

Post-university, she worked as an advisor in the office of then-Prime Minister Helen Clark, in London for the Government Cabinet Office and as an Assistant Director in the Department for Business and Enterprise, and on a review of Policing in England and Wales.

The Prime Minister joined the New Zealand Labour Party at age 18 and entered New Zealand’s Parliament in 2008. Over her nine years as a representative she has been a strong advocate for children, women, and the right of every New Zealander to have meaningful work.

She became the MP for the Auckland electorate Mt Albert in early 2017, and the Leader of the Labour Party in August 2017. As well as Prime Minister, she holds the roles of Minister for National Security and Intelligence, Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, and Minister for Child Poverty Reduction, an issue particularly close to her heart.

Twitter: @jacindaardern

Instagram: @jacindaardern

Facebook: /jacindaardern

The power of inclusion: Madeleine Sami

Madeleine Sami

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Madeleine is an accomplished actor. She got her start playing a multitude of characters in award winning plays No2 and Bare. She has starred in some of New Zealand’s most successful film comedies including, SIONES WEDDING and SIONES WEDDING 2, Taika Waititi’s EAGLE VS SHARK and WHAT WE DO IN THE SHADOWS, the UK Western SLOW WEST starring Michael Fassbender, and most recently alongside Elijah Wood in deranged comic thriller COME TO DADDY. 

She has numerous TV acting credits including OUTRAGEOUS FORTUNE, THE JAQUIE BROWN DIARIES and Jane Campion’s series, TOP OF THE LAKE.

Madeleine also has extensive experience on the other side of the industry. 

She created, wrote and starred in two seasons of her own critically acclaimed TV show SUPER CITY. SUPER CITY was picked up by US network ABC in 2012 and made into an American pilot in which Madeleine also starred. More recently she directed the second season of hit sketch comedy show FUNNY GIRLS. 

Feature film THE BREAKER UPPERERS, which she co-wrote and co-directed was released in 2018 to great popular and critical acclaim in NZ and abroad, and has since been picked up by Netflix International.  

Amongst many other things she is currently working on a feature film ‘Pasha: A Journey to Me’ a spin off starring a character from her TV series Super City.

Twitter: @madeleinesami

Instagram: @madeleinesami

Facebook: /iammadeleinesami

The power of inclusion: Magda Szubanski

Magda Szubanski

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Magda Szubanski has been famous for making Australia laugh for over three decades, but more recently she was named the “Most Talked about Person of 2017” following what many have called her ‘crucial role’ in the complex and difficult 2017 Same-Sex Marriage Survey. Sydney Morning Herald: “When describing her efforts, other equality advocates use terms such as ‘invaluable’ and ‘devastatingly effective’. But popularity alone does not change hearts or minds. What made a difference, they believe, is the way Szubanski campaigned.” She advocated tirelessly, making the case for equality with reason and dignity –her most notable appearances included a pivotal debate on the ABC’s Q&A, interviews on A Current Affair and an address she gave at the National Press Club, 'What it feels like to be an unwilling human guinea pig in a political experiment'. In 2012, Magda came out live on national TV and has been an active and high-profile campaigner for LGBTI+ rights ever since. She is patron of Twenty10, an ambassador for the Pinnacle Foundation and also volunteered for the Orlando Victims’ Fundraiser concerts in Melbourne and Sydney. She has spoken at numerous Marriage Equality fundraisers.

Vogue Australia included her in their list of 2018 “Game Changers” for her work on the Marriage Equality campaign.

Magda has received many accolades over the course of her career, including a Mo Award, seven Logie Awards, three AWGIE Awards, two People’s Choice Awards, two Astra Awards and the AFI for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Australia’s favorite second-best friend, Sharon Strzelecki, a character she created herself. It has just been announced that she has been awarded the 2018 Victorian Award for Excellence in Women’s Leadership by Women and Leadership Australia. She is also the 2018 recipient of the nation’s top free speech honour, the Voltaire Award, given by Australia’s oldest human rights organization, Liberty Victoria.

Magda completed a Bachelor of Arts at Melbourne University, majoring in Philosophy and Fine Arts. After early training with the ABC-TV cult show D-GENERATION, Magda shot to fame in 1989 in response to the huge variety of comic characters she created. For over thirty years Magda has survived and thrived at the top of the show business tree- a notoriously fickle and competitive industry. For three decades she has been a household name as one of Australia’s most loved and respected actors, writers and producers. She was a key player in some of this country’s most successful, iconic and groundbreaking shows - KATH AND KIM, FAST FORWARD, D-GENERATION, and BIG GIRL’S BLOUSE, sketch comedy FAST FORWARD, which played for several seasons and became one of Australia’s highest-rating comedies. She had an emotional journey when the SBS television show WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE? did a story on her family’s heritage.  

Film credits include BABE, THE CROCODILE HUNTER: COLLISION COURSE, alongside the late Steve Irwin and THE GOLDEN COMPASS, with Nicole Kidman and Daniel Craig. Australian films DR PLONK directed by Rolf de Heer, BRAN NU DAE by Rachel Perkins and starring alongside Ronan Keating in the musical comedy, GODDESS in 2013. In 2017 she starred opposite Michael Caton in Ben Elton’s THREE SUMMERS.

Magda’s many stage appearances include hit productions of GUYS AND DOLLS, the late Nora Ephron’s LOVE, LOSS AND WHAT I WORE, The Melbourne Theatre Company production of THE 25TH ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE, the national tour of GREASE: THE ARENA SPECTACULAR with John Farnham. In 2012 she performed alongside Geoffrey Rush and Hugh Sheridan in Simon Phillip’s A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM.

More recently she has become a best-selling, award-winning author, following the release of her internationally acclaimed memoir RECKONING. Released late 2015, RECKONING won a slew of literary awards including winner of the 2016 ABIA Book of the Year, Biography of the Year, Booksellers Choice Award, NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, the Indie Award for Non-Fiction; Winner Victorian Community History Award and was shortlisted for several more awards including the National Biography Award.

Relating the story of her father’s activities as an assassin in Nazi-occupied Poland, Szubanski’s story of intergenerational trauma, migration and coming-of-age as a young gay woman received rave reviews. 

THE AUSTRALIAN described it as “a riveting, overwhelmingly poignant autobiography by a woman of genius…Every library should have it, every school should teach it.” 

THE SYDNEY MORNING HERALD wrote, “This is documentary writing of the highest order…Anyone who doesn’t adore Magda Szubanski the clown will be awed by Szubanski the A-grade non-fiction writer.”

THE AUSTRALIAN, “Brave, compassionate—and hilarious…some sort of masterpiece of the form.”

THE GUARDIAN, “She shines just as brightly as a serious writer as she does as a comedian.”

THE BBC WOMAN’S HOUR described it as “brilliant.”

Over the years Magda has campaigned for several charities including Very Special Kids, Starlight Foundation, Oxfam, and Royal Children’s Hospital.

She is a frequent guest on several television shows including THE TODAY SHOW, SUNRISE, ABC BREAKFAST, THE PROJECT, A CURRENT AFFAIR, THE MORNING SHOW, MORNINGS, STUDIO10 among others.

Twitter: @MagdaSzubanski

Instagram: @magda_szubanski

Facebook: /MagdaSzubanski

The power of inclusion: Maria Giese

Maria Giese

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Maria Giese wrote and directed the 1996 feature film When Saturday Comes starring Sean Bean and Pete Postlethwaite, and the award-winning digital feature film Hunger based on the novel by Nobel Prize-winner Knut Hamsun.  She has also directed two Golden Cine Eagle-winning short films, and has written three screenplays that have been produced into feature films.  She is a member of the Directors Guild of America, Film Fatales, and the Alliance of Women Directors, and is founding chair of the annual Women’s Media Summit.

In 2015 after four years of activism in the Directors Guild of America, Giese became the person who instigated the biggest industry-wide Federal investigation for women directors in Hollywood history.  In The New York Times, Manohla Dargis referred to her work as “a veritable crusade.”  She is now a subject in several feature-length documentaries including THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING.  Her new TEDx talk, THE BATTLE FOR FEMALE VOICES IN ENTERTAINMENT MEDIA, and her upcoming book TROUBLEMAKER, describe her work getting the ACLU and EEOC to investigate this issue— the ramifications of which are resonating globally.

Giese holds a BA from Wellesley College and a Master’s degree from UCLA’s Graduate School of Theatre, Film and Television. In 2016 she was awarded the prestigious EQUITY AWARD from Stanford University and her articles have appeared in Ms. Magazine, The Hollywood Reporter, Elle, IndieWIRE, and Film Inquiry. Giese herself has appeared on CNN Global, BBC International, ABC Live, Sky TV UK Live, Bloomberg TV, and NPR.  She has been featured in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Forbes, Fortune, Cosmopolitan, LA Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Variety, The Guardian, among others internationally.

Twitter: @MariaGiese

Instagram: @maria_giese

The power of inclusion: Niki Caro

Niki Caro

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Writer and director, Niki Caro, is one of the most successful filmmakers to emerge from New Zealand in recent years.

After completing a BFA at Elam School of Fine Arts in Auckland and a Postgraduate Diploma in Film from Swinburne in Melbourne, Caro directed a number of highly acclaimed short films. SURE TO RISE screened in Competition in Cannes in 1994; and FOOTAGE at the Venice Film Festival in 1996. Her first feature film MEMORY AND DESIRE was selected for Critics Week at the Cannes Film Festival in 1998.

Her second feature film, WHALE RIDER won twenty seven international awards, including audience awards at prestigious international film festivals including Toronto, Sundance, Rotterdam, San Francisco, Seattle and Maui. It won an Academy Award nomination for Keisha Castle-Hughes, then the youngest person ever to be nominated in the best actress category.

Following the international success of WHALE RIDER, Caro directed NORTH COUNTRY, starring Charlize Theron, Frances McDormand, Sissy Spacek and Woody Harrelson. Charlize Theron and Frances McDormand were nominated for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress respectively at the 2005 Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards, BAFTAs, Satellite Awards and Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Caro’s more recent feature length films include THE VINTNER’S LUCK, McFARLAND, USA, starring Kevin Costner, and THE ZOOKEEPER’S WIFE, starring Jessica Chastain

In her first foray into American television, Caro helmed the movie pilot for Netflix’ ANNE WITH AN ‘E’, a bold and inspired new vision of the ‘Anne of Green Gables’ story, now into its third season.

Most recently Niki Caro has directed the live action version of Disney’s MULAN. MULAN will be released worldwide in March 2020.

Instagram: @nikicaro

The power of inclusion: Osnat Shurer

Osnat Shurer

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OSNAT SHURER produced the 2016 Academy Award®-nominated MOANA. Shurer joined Walt Disney Animation Studios in 2012 as vice president of development, working with filmmakers to move features and shorts through the creative process. As producer of MOANA, Shurer helped manage the film through story, script, music, casting, and production and led the film’s partnership with publicity, marketing, and consumer products. Shurer also created the film’s Oceanic Story Trust, a team of Pasifika consultants from Oceania with whom production collaborated closely throughout the making of MOANA.

Previously, Shurer served as the executive producer of the shorts group at Pixar Animation Studios, responsible for Pixar's short films. While at Pixar, Shurer produced or executive produced a host of hit shorts, including the Oscar®-nominated LIFTED, ONE MAN BAND and BOUNDIN’ (2003). Her credits at Pixar also include video shorts like JACK-JACK ATTACK and THE ADVENTURES OF MR. INCREDIBLE.

Shurer’s duties at Pixar also included training production management, creating and supervising an in-house documentary department to produce DVD bonus material content and other archival materials, as well as overseeing the development of commercials and theme park attractions. For THE INCREDIBLES, Shurer produced and directed VOWELLET: AN ESSAY BY SARA VOWELL and executive produced THE MAKING OF 'THE INCREDIBLES.’  She also produced EXPLORING THE REEF WITH JEAN-MICHAEL COSTEAU for director Andrew Stanton, in conjunction with the release of FINDING NEMO.

At Pixar, Shurer was also responsible for helping to create several cutting edge multi-media shows, including MoMA's impressive PIXAR: 20 YEARS OF ANIMATION, which opened in 2006 and went on travel the world. The exhibit featured ARTSCAPE, a widescreen projection space that provided viewers with a unique digital artistic experience, and ZOETROPE, a dynamic 3D installation, modelled on pre-cinema technology, which used dimensional character sculptures to simulate continuous motion.

Shurer was consulting producer on the 2011 Golden Globe®-nominated feature ARTHUR CHRISTMAS.

Prior to joining Pixar in 2002, Shurer produced and directed film and television in various mediums - live action, animation, live television, and various interactive presentations for museums. She worked on documentaries and narrative films throughout the world, in such places as India, China, Tibet, Japan, Africa, and Europe, with directors ranging from Michelangelo Antonioni to Alfonso Cuarón.

Shurer was born in Israel, and as the child of an airline executive, she grew up in many parts of the world. She received a degree in film from New York University in 1983. She resides in Los Angeles, California.

Twitter: @osnatshurer

The power of inclusion: Philippa Boyens

Philippa Boyens

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On leaving school Philippa trained at Theatre Corporate, spending the next ten years working as a playwright, producer and editor.  She was the Director of the NZ Writers Guild from 1993 to 1996.

During this time Philippa studied part-time at University and graduated from the University of Auckland in 1994 with a B.A. in English and History.  She received a Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Auckland in 2006.

Her work in film includes writing, producing, and composing lyrics for film scores.

Philippa is best known as a principal scriptwriter, along with Fran Walsh and Peter Jackson, for the screen adaption of J.R.R. Tolkien’s THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy.  This is the largest film project ever undertaken in New Zealand.  Philippa’s work was honoured with OSCAR and BAFTA Awards in 2004 for best adapted screenplay for THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE RETURN OF THE KING.

In her career, Philippa has won 13 other awards and received a further 19 nominations, including being named in 2000 by Variety Magazine as one of their ten best writers to watch in the industry.

Her other works include the screen adaptation of THE HOBBIT, KING KONG, DISTRICT 9 and writer/producer on the film adaptation of Alice Sebold’s bestselling novel -THE LOVELY BONES.

Her work has helped bring international recognition to the NZ Film Industry and this was acknowledged by her receiving the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2004.

The power of inclusion: Tilane Jones

Tilane Jones

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Tilane Jones has worked with award-winning filmmaker Ava DuVernay for over ten years. Beginning with public relations and promotional company the The DuVernay Agency as well as production entity Forward Movement and most recently leading DuVernay's grass-roots film distribution collective ARRAY as President. ARRAY has distributed eighteen feature films since 2011 including Andrew Dosunmu's RESTLESS CITY and Haile Gerima's ASHES AND EMBERS. Working as Manager of Production for Forward Movement, Jones has served as a producer for all of the company’s visual product. 

Her film credits include: Oscar nominated and four-time EMMY winner 13TH, MIDDLE OF NOWHERE, THIS IS THE LIFE, I WILL FOLLOW, AUGUST 28: A DAY IN THE LIFE OF A PEOPLE, FAMILY FEUD and Oscar nominated SELMA as well as acclaimed fashion and beauty films for Prada and Fashion Fair, THE DOOR and SAY YES, respectively. Her television credits include: BET's BLACK GIRLS ROCK, MY MIC SOUNDS NICE, JOHN LEGEND INTERLUDES LIVE, ESSENCE MUSIC FESTIVAL 2010, and ESPN FILMS' VENUS VS.

Array Instagram: @arraynow

The power of inclusion: Dr. Stacy L. Smith

Dr. Stacy L. Smith

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Stacy L. Smith, Ph.D. is the foremost disrupter of inequality in the entertainment industry. Dr. Smith is the Founder and Director of the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative (AII), the leading global think tank studying issues of inequality in entertainment. Dr. Smith’s groundbreaking research examines inclusion of gender, race/ethnicity, the LGBT community, people with disabilities and mental health in storytelling across film, TV and digital platforms. The Initiative releases analyses of top-grossing films (on screen, behind the camera, executive ranks), popular music (artists, songwriters, producers), and impediments facing women and individuals from underrepresented racial/ethnic groups in the director's chair. She has authored over 100 articles, book chapters, and reports, and is covered regularly in popular press outlets including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, CBS This Morning, NPR, And many others.

Dr. Smith also crafts compelling and innovative solutions to entertainment inequality. She introduced the Inclusion Rider to the entertainment industry via her 2016 TED talk and a 2014 opinion piece in The Hollywood ReporterFrances McDormand popularized the phrase on stage at the 2018 Academy Awards. In 2019, Dr. Smith launched the #4percentchallenge to increase the number of female directors working in film. She has also worked with a team of individuals including Brie Larson to foster greater inclusivity among film critics and journalists. Dr. Smith serves on the Recording Academy Task Force on Diversity and Inclusion following the release of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative’s inaugural study on the music industry.  LA Weekly named Dr. Smith the most influential person in Los Angeles in 2015.

Instagram: @inclusionists