‘We Belong in the Room’ : Kerry Washington and Patty Jenkins Call for More Diverse Voices in Filmmaking

Kerry Washington no longer plays the fictional Olivia Pope on “Scandal,” but she still suits up like a gladiator when it comes to expressing her opinions about Washington, D

Published Time: 08.06.2024 - 20:31:26 Modified Time: 08.06.2024 - 20:31:26

Kerry Washington no longer plays the fictional Olivia Pope on “Scandal,” but she still suits up like a gladiator when it comes to expressing her opinions about Washington, D.C. and Hollywood.

The actress, producer, and director toldVariety on the red carpet at the annual Through Her Lens: The Tribeca Chanel Women’s Filmmaker Program luncheon that she is “sometimes reluctant” to tell people who they should support in politics, but she does believe in ‘”voting up and down the ballot for candidates that really support humanity and inclusivity.”

“I am voting for Biden, but part of the reason why I am is because it’s so important for us to hold our elected officials accountable,” she revealed during the event. “And I’m voting for the person who I think I can do that with – the person who I can engage with, have conversations with; the person who supports free speech; the person who supports democracy. So, I may not agree with everything a candidate says, but if I don’t vote I’m not in the conversation.”

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Joining forces with Chanel by boarding up on the Through Her Lens advisory committee at Tribeca Festival was also viewed by the Emmy winner and advocate as a meaningful way to champion for communities wishing to be recognized in society.

Washington expressed she was “thrilled” to be in partnership with the group that has “courage” to help the next generation of women filmmakers while speaking to a room full of luminaries including the luncheon’s host, Tribeca Festival co-founder and CEO Jane Rosenthal, along with Selma Blair, Joey King, Christy Turlington, A.V. Rockwell, Katie Holmes, Carol Kane, Alysia Reiner and Tribeca Festival jury member Francesca Scorsese.

“We’re creating a pipeline for excellence,” Washington said. “We’re creating a situation where there are no excuses. Nobody gets to turn around and say, ‘Oh, we couldn’t find a great woman director.’ No, because we found them he -

re in Tribeca. We nurture them. We mentor them. We prepare them. You have no excuses. We belong in the room. The rooms should be our rooms where we let in other people and not beg to be in them. And this program helps make that a reality.”

Following the lavish luncheon in the sun-drenched Greenwich Hotel courtyard, guests attended a conversationwith Washington and fellow committee advisors Patty Jenkins and Oscar nominated composer Laura Karpman. Moderator Perri Peltz asked the panel on the stage to share their perspectives on the current landscape for women and non-binary filmmakers. While describing the power of artist development programs such as Through Her Lens, each member discussed how mentorships impact the future of Hollywood.

The blockbuster “Wonder Woman” director toldVarietybackstage after the lecture that the steps being taken by the Tribeca Festival platform are part of an inspirational movement to create equality in film and television.

“I think there has been a lot of progress and moments of trying to get women and different diverse voices into jobs in the industry. But what we need is different voices to get their content made and tell their stories,” Jenkins said. “That’s something that needs to happen before to get the project going. This program is so incredible because it’s about developing voices, giving them confidence in their voice, and then giving them the technical information about how to do it.”

Jenkins dished out more reflections on working in Hollywood when she advised the audience earlier in the day to equally like studios and executives to not be afraid to take risks. “Believe in yourself and believe in your voice and partner that with excellence.”

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