Kaitz Commentary: A Message from Executive Director Michelle Ray

It’s hard to believe that it has been almost a week since we conducted the 2021 Hollywood Creative Forum. While there will be more recaps and replays in the coming weeks, I am taking this opportunity to extend my gratitude to the individuals and organizations that contributed to the success of the event.

The support for our first virtual Forum exceeded our expectations, and the positive feedback continues to come in from inside and outside of our core industry.  Our event host, Dana Blair, helped our attendees navigate the virtual experience and weaved together a cohesive narrative in support of our theme, Stories from the Diaspora.  We heard from two powerful leaders in our KaitzTalks and experienced several eye-opening and actionable panel discussions. We concluded the event with an engaging networking session sponsored by WarnerMedia.

Further, we were able to expand our programming and honor its core promise to create a marketplace where diverse creatives and creators can meet development executives. This is a testament to the commitment of our sponsors, advisory committee, and industry partners.

Speaking of expansion, thanks to our friends at Rada Studios, we held our first-ever film screening of award-winning, Haitian American filmmaker Michèle Stephenson’s latest project, Stateless.   In case you’re not familiar with this documentary, it examines how the 2013 legislation that rendered Dominicans of Haitian descent stateless by revoking their citizenship. This film not only complemented the Forum itself and this year’s theme perfectly, but also it brought Haiti’s ongoing plight top of mind for a lot of our participants.  Just a few days later, the news broke of the 7.2-magnitude earthquake that claimed the lives of over 1,400 people leaving much devastation in its wake.

As we continue to recognize our shared stories with people from around the globe, we would be remiss if we did not acknowledge the devastation and invite each of you to do whatever feels right for you to help the people of Haiti through your contributions to organizations of your choice or through your service.

In the meantime, please stay tuned for more updates and know that the Hollywood Creative Forum is only the starting point for more to come from the Walter Kaitz Foundation.  We will certainly continue to ensure that our work continues to advance diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging (DEIb) in media and entertainment.

With gratitude,

Michelle Ray

 

 

Watch the Stateless Screening & Conversation

Watch Stateless Panel Recording