Michael B. Jordan, Shivani Rawat & More Advocate For Inclusivity At The 11th Annual Produced By Conference

The 11th annual Produced by Conference at Warner Bros. Studios in Los Angeles was a marvelous success. Panelists held honest conversations about current concerns that are prevalent in the entertainment industry. Attendees were able to engage in these discussions, through the Q&A portion of the panels. One panel that stood out to us in particular was, “Content With A Conscience: Social Impact Entertainment Across All Platforms.” This portion of the event was sponsored by the Skoll Center for Social Impact Entertainment at UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television! 

Attendees were each gifted with a copy of The State of SIE, a report made by the Skoll Center. As stated by Teri Schwartz, Dean of UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television, the report "aims to map and explore the emerging field of social impact entertainment." The panel featured Bonnie Abaunza (Founder/Impact Producer, Abaunza Group), Scott Z. Burns (The Report, An Inconvenient Truth), Michael B. Jordan (Principal, Outlier Society Productions), Alana Mayo (President of Production and Development, Outlier Society Productions) and Shivani Rawat (CEO, ShivHans Pictures).

Michael B. Jordan touched upon the personal responsibility of choosing socially conscious projects among content creators. “Starting in front of the camera, from the actor’s perspective, it’s all about the heart. It’s about wanting to create bodies of work and tell stories that will make people go home and think thoughts that will weigh heavily on their heart.” Alana Mayo praised Jordan saying, “When we first met, he said that he recognized that women are smarter, better, faster *laughs* and he said that he wanted to surround himself with women in his business." She then spoke about Outlier Society Productions' mission to be inclusive. "When talking about inclusion efforts, we really try to focus on the aspects of hiring and then creating an environment where people can excel.” 

Bonnie Abaunza shared about her work with the film Romaas a consultant by Netflix. She took the film to the United Nations, specifically the International Labor Organization which is the oldest agency of the UN and one that focuses on all labor issues. Upon screening the film, the organization brought Yalitza Aparicio, the Oscar-nominated lead, to speak on International Women's Day about the rights of domestic workers. She explained the impact the film had on domestic workers globally saying, "Now the ILO is using this film and the campaign to push Protocol 189 globally, to get countries to sign on to protect the rights of domestic workers everywhere."  

Shivani Rawat discussed her upcoming film, Brian Banks, and also spoke about diversity inclusion. She shared that during the production of this film, her company started an internship program, specifically hiring women of color to take part in the process. And Rawat delighted guests by announcing that her company will soon be initiating an entrepreneurial pathway to support underrepresented women!   

Learning about ways to create content with a conscience, and the impact that entertainment can potentially hold over the audience, was enlightening. Entertainment can inspire social change and provoke conversations that can lead to change. Attendees were encouraged to make a difference through their projects and leave a powerful message. A huge thank you to the Producers Guild of America (PGA) for hosting such an uplifting panel. We were left feeling empowered! Stay updated on the latest news by following PGA on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram