Friday, January 15, 2021

Kym Whitley, Essence Atkins and Stephen Bishop on Diversity in Hollywood (EUR Exclusive – WATCH)

*EURweb was on the red carpet for the “12th Annual NBCUniversal SHORT FILM FESTIVAL” awards ceremony at the Directors Guild of America in Hollywood.

This year’s host, was the always funny Kym Whitley (“Master of None,” “Young & Hungry”) presenters and guests included Essence Atkins (“Marlon”), Stephen Bishop (“Impossible,” “Being MaryJane”) Chris Sullivan (“This is Us”), Akbar Gbajabiamila (“American Ninja Warrior.”) and others.

The Film Fest features the next generation of storytellers highlighting diversity. The focus is on projects about and by people of color, the LGBTQ community and women.

“Marlon” star Essence Atkins spoke about being involved with the film festival for the second year. Atkins shared “not only is this about cultivating diversity and giving them a platform, it also provides them with the tools.” She further explained the benefits, “it’s not just giving them an award, it’s giving them support and investing in them.”

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essence atkins - screenshot

Actor Stephen Bishop offered advice to young creatives of color in the early stages of their career. Understand that rejection is part of the process.

Founded in 2004 by comedian Will Sylvince as an idea for friends, and with plans to hold it in his basement, the festival has grown to include awards in eight categories; including the HARNESS Social Impact Award, inaugural Critics’ Choice Award, Outstanding Drama and Outstanding Comedy. The panel of judges includes NBC executives and 2017 Emmy winner Lena Waithe.

From 4200 submissions down to nine finalists, one of the night’s winners included the short “Groundhog Day For A Black Man” written and directed by Cynthia Kao. The socially charged comedy tells the story of a black man continually reliving the same day where he encounters life-and-death scenarios with the police. It won for Outstanding Comedy and the Critics’ Choice Award.

 

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