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‘Little’ Producer Will Packer Calls For Hollywood to Hire More Black Female Directors

“Little,” an upcoming comedy from Universal Pictures, stars Regina Hall — and her mini-me Marsai Martin — as an unwavering executive force in the tech industry. The movie puts the spotlight on powerful black women both in front of and behind the camera.

Before the world premiere Monday night, producer Will Packer sang the praises of the film’s “fearless” director, Tina Gordon, acknowledging her rare position as a black filmmaker for a studio movie.

“You want somebody who is good — and we found a woman; we found a sister,” Packer told the crowd at Westwood’s Fox Theater. “You can count on one hand the number of black female directors directing studio movies in Hollywood. And when you think about the number of black female directors that are able to do comedy at a studio, well, let me just introduce you to the only one.”

That was the cue for Gordon, who spent much of her speech lauding fellow trailblazing black creatives, including the film’s three stars Hall, Martin, and Issa Rae. Both Gordon and Packer gave special attention to the 14-year-old Martin, who is now the youngest executive producer on a Hollywood movie.

“I was pitched this project by a 10-year-old prodigy named Marsai Martin,” Packer said of the “Black-ish” star, whom Gordon introduced as “the little person who started it all” and “the youngest EP in history.”

Martin, who recently signed a first-look deal with Universal, anchored the pre-show speeches, expressing her gratitude and jokingly discouraging the audience from bootlegging the film.

“Thank you guys so much for all your love and support,” Martin said. “I want to thank, of course, Universal and the people next to me for trusting in my vision at such a small age.”

Also in attendance were “Black-ish” showrunner Kenya Barris and star Miles Brown, as well as “This is Us” actor Niles Fitch, “The Lion King’s” JD McCrary, and singer Janelle Monae.

“Little” hits theaters April 12.

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