×

Kumail Nanjiani, Chrissy Metz, Jim Gianopulos Celebrate Storytelling at MPTF’s Reel Stories, Real Lives

Conversations about community dominated the sixth annual Reel Stories, Real Lives event at Milk Studios in Hollywood on Thursday night, benefiting the Motion Picture & Television Fund.

Hosted by Kumail Nanjiani, the evening was laced with a series of readings that told stories of industry members whose hardships were alleviated by MPTF’s services. Accounts were written by notable scribes, including Billy Ray, Monica Macer, Dorothy Blyskal, Will Fetters, and Seth Grahame-Smith, and were read by entertainment figures like Chrissy Metz, Matthew Broderick, Josh Hartnett, Jessica Rothe, and Fetters. Many of the people mentioned in the stories were present in the audience.

“I don’t know if I can swear,” Nanjiani joked while introducing the event. “Sure, why not? Tonight we will try to f—ing inspire you.”

During a moving night, Nanjiani kept the mood up with lighthearted humor. “Fun fact — MPTF is 26 years older than Pakistan, the country I’m from,” he shared. “That’s right, this charity has been helping people with grants and social services for an entire generation before my birthplace declared independence. That is a legacy to be a part of.”

Metz retold a story about Holly Spiegel, an MPTF volunteer who battled breast cancer. Metz called Spiegel a “kicka– woman” for being selfless while also taking care of herself.

Popular on Variety

During her performance, Metz said Spiegel lovingly named her breasts as “bitch” and “Felicia,” so that on mastectomy day she could yell out, “Step off, bitch!” and “Bye, Felicia.”

“Who thinks of other people while going through something so difficult?” Metz said on the carpet. “I’m really honored to be sharing her story with everyone. Hopefully opening up people’s hearts and minds.”

Fetters wrote and presented a personal account detailing his and his wife’s infertility struggles. While his wife was pregnant with their second child, she found out she lost her health insurance during her third trimester with serious health complications.

“I thought [MPTF] was a safety net for people who really needed it. I didn’t see myself as someone who needed that kind of help,” he shared. “We want to believe we’ve earned our place in this world, that our work and individual exceptionalism alone is what got us here. But on some level, we know it’s not true. Working hard it part of it, a big part, but luck has a play. I think the MPTF is unique in this business because this business uniquely puts us in touch with luck.”

On the red carpet, Paramount Pictures CEO Jim Gianopulos emphasized the universal importance of the Fund for industry members.

“It’s a unique community in the sense that the people who work in it understand nothing lasts forever,” he told Variety. “Certainly not our youth, but also not our success in times. We owe it to each other to be supportive of the people who work here.”

At the end of the ceremony, Gianopulos introduced the launch of the Fund’s “We All Play Our Part” initiative. “This campaign is how we will connect with thousands of industry members to let them know MPTF is there for them, and for that, we continue to provide MPTF the support they need,” he said.

More Scene

  • Jeremy Renner

    John Ottman Hosts Jeremy Renner, Michael Keaton, More at 'Aiding Australia' Benefit

    Film editor and composer John Ottman, who won an Oscar for “Bohemian Rhapsody” in 2019, hosted members of the film, television and music communities at the “Aiding Australia” charity dinner and concert held at his West Hollywood home on Sunday evening (Feb. 23). The benefit raised funds to help in the recovery of fire-ravaged Australia, [...]

  • Bavaria Fiction Berlinale 2020

    Bavaria Fiction Toasts 'Das Boot,' 'Freud,' 'Arctic Circle' at Berlinale Soirée

    Pictured above: The ‘Das Boot’ crew – Colin Teevan (head writer of season 2), Tom Wlaschiha (actor), Clemens Schick (actor), Oliver Vogel (Bavaria Fiction chief creative officer and EP on ‘Das Boot’), Vicky Krieps (actor), Rick Okon (actor). Bavaria Fiction celebrated its latest TV productions at a glitzy soirée at Soho House in Berlin on [...]

  • Jamie Foxx - Excellence in the

    Jamie Foxx Honored by Leonardo DiCaprio at American Black Film Festival Honors

    Leonardo DiCaprio and Morgan Freeman made surprise appearances at the American Black Film Festival Honors ceremony on Sunday night. The “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” actor presented Jamie Foxx with the excellence in the arts award while Freeman announced the movie of the year, which went to “Just Mercy.” Hosted by comedian Deon Cole, [...]

  • Eddie Murphy Bria Murphy Artus Gallery

    Eddie Murphy Supports Daughter Bria Murphy at Art Gallery Opening

    Eddie Murphy joined his eldest daughter Bria Murphy as she launched her Art 4 All exhibition with a special event in Downtown Los Angeles on Thursday night. “I always tease him like ‘I just put my dad’s name on my invitation so people will come,’” Bria Murphy joked to Variety. “Anytime I’ve thrown an art [...]

  • Logan Lerman Jordan Peele Al Pacino

    Al Pacino and Carol Kane Had a ‘Dog Day Afternoon’ Reunion on the ‘Hunters’ Set

    Nearly 45 years after Al Pacino and Carol Kane appeared in Sidney Lumet’s classic film “Dog Day Afternoon,” an Amazon Prime Video series about Nazi-hunters in 1977 New York City has brought them back together. Go figure. “I’m proud to be working with him again,” Kane told Variety at the “Hunters” premiere on Wednesday night [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content