×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Tribeca’s 2018 Through Her Lens Program Kicks Off on Political Note

There was perhaps no more fitting kickoff to 2018’s Through Her Lens: The Tribeca Chanel Women’s Filmmaker Program than executive chair Jane Rosenthal‘s blunt greeting: “Hello to all you impolite, arrogant women!”

Despite the elegant trappings of New York City’s Locanda Verde restaurant and a co-sponsorship with Chanel, the assembled group of women filmmakers, writers, producers, and actors at the program’s opening luncheon was a frank and lively one. A year after the Harvey Weinstein allegations first dropped and shook Hollywood to its core, such female-driven gatherings have taken on new urgency, with a sharper focus on practical solutions rather than the usual sweeping declarations of the importance of diversity.

Tribeca’s Through Her Lens program, now in its fourth year, collaborates with Pulse Films to select five teams of female filmmakers to participate in a three-day workshop that includes classes, review sessions, potential prize money to further their projects, and mentorships with industry veterans such as Courteney Cox, Veena Sud, Stella Meghie, and Jenny Lumet. Attendees at the luncheon included directors Mira Nair and Stella Meghie, producers Effie Brown and Christine Vachon, and actors Uzo Aduba, Melissa Leo, Samira Wiley, Zosia Mamet, and Piper Perabo (who made the biggest immediate statement of the day with a simple t-shirt bearing a pointed message: “Believe Women”).

Uzo Aduba, Samira WileyThrough Her Lens: The Tribeca Chanel Women's Filmmaker Program Celebration, New York, USA - 16 Oct 2018
CREDIT: David X Prutting/BFA/REX/Shutter

“There is a level of inclusivity that we never would have thought about in the ’70s,” said Paula Weinstein, executive VP of Tribeca Enterprises, as she looked around the room through tears. “There is a sense that we have to unite.”

But in that vein, as Rosenthal put it, it’s vital that the industry doesn’t just talk the talk, but walk the walk when it comes to hiring women and people of color. While working with Ava DuVernay on the upcoming HBO miniseries “Central Park 5,” she said, they “consciously strove to have a diverse crew, but you know what? This shouldn’t be anything that I’m boasting about. It should be the ordinary course of how we do business, because hiring women is better business.”

Therefore, while “we have accomplishments to applaud, commitments to reaffirm, a strong message of hope,” Rosenthal continued, “it’s laced with disappointment.” The past year has been marked by upheaval and unprecedented honesty about endemic sexism in the entertainment industry, but the hope from last year’s luncheon about the #MeToo movement inspiring widespread change has since proved far more complicated. “The world was listening,” said Rosenthal, “or so we thought.”

At this point, as was perhaps inevitable, the remarks turned to politics, particularly the shadow of the firestorm of Brett Kavanaugh‘s confirmation hearings and the need to vote in November’s midterm elections (the latter of which got the biggest cheer of the day by far).

“The recent spectacle of the Kavanaugh hearings and the attendant response from men in power has been devastating,” said Rosenthal. “It’s hard to fight for equality and rights in the arts when we haven’t achieved the same in the eyes of the government. We will. We must persist.”

Popular on Variety

More Scene

  • Taron Egerton Elton John Rocketman Live

    Elton John and Taron Egerton Duet at 'Rocketman' Awards Season Event at the Greek Theatre

    “Rocketman” has officially launched into awards season. Paramount hosted a screening of the film with a live-performance of the score by the Hollywood Symphony Orchestra and a headlining performance by Elton John and the film’s star Taron Egerton. John and Egerton — who is in contention for best actor for his portrayal of the singer [...]

  • Hailee Steinfeld Dickinson Premiere

    Hailee Steinfeld, Jane Krakowski on What Modern Women Can Learn From Emily Dickinson

    Emily Dickinson lived in the 1800s, but if you ask the team behind Apple TV Plus’ upcoming series, “Dickinson,” her story is more current than ever. Hailee Steinfeld stars in the the modern-day retelling of the poet’s young life. The actress — who makes her first full-time foray into television with the role and also [...]

  • Don Cheadle

    ACLU Bill of Rights Gala to Honor Don Cheadle, Feature Appearances by Selena Gomez, Regina Hall

    The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California will honor “Avengers: Endgame” and “Black Monday” star Don Cheadle at the organization’s annual Bill of Rights dinner on Nov. 17 at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel. Cheadle will be recognized for his activist work as an advocate for racial and gender equality, immigration reform, reproductive and LGBTQ [...]

  • Helen Mirren attends the LA Premiere

    Why Helen Mirren Considers Catherine the Great to Be 'Superhuman'

    It’s no secret that Dame Helen Mirren has a knack for nailing regal roles. Following her Oscar-winning on-screen reign as Queen Elizabeth II back in 2006, the thespian brings yet another powerful ruler to life in HBO’s limited mini-series “Catherine the Great.” Just as she does on the small screen as Russian Empress Catherine II, [...]

  • Taika Waititi Jojo Rabbit Premiere

    Why Director Taika Waititi Decided to Play Adolf Hitler in 'Jojo Rabbit'

    “Fox Searchlight blackmailed me into doing it,” Taika Waititi told Variety of playing Adolf Hilter in “Jojo Rabbit” at the film’s premiere at American Legion Post 43 on Tuesday night in Hollywood. Staying mum when asked which other actors had been on his wish list to play the role, Waititi explained why he eventually decided [...]

  • Jessica Biel Limetown Premiere

    Why 'Limetown' Star & Producer Jessica Biel Thought the Show Was Based on a True Story

    In a world of increasingly outlandish headlines, the story behind “Limetown” — in which an entire community in rural Tennessee disappears overnight — seems plausible. Even Jessica Biel, who executive produces and stars in the Facebook Watch television adaptation of the hit 2015 podcast, was initially convinced that it was real. “I just thought I [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content