SAG-AFTRA and SAGindie hosted a series of informative discussions on diversity at the annual Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, from Jan. 23–27. The festival, now in its 35th year, has become known for showcasing independent films and documentaries as well as premiere events featuring well-known and rising performers, directors and producers.
SAG-AFTRA kicked off Sundance on Jan. 25 with a Next Up series brunch event featuring actor Jason Genao. Genao, whose acting credits include the episodic series The Get Down and feature film Logan, discussed the ways he has approached his current role in the Netflix original program On My Block. Throughout the conversation, which featured clips of Genao as character Ruby Martinez, he discussed how he connects with his characters and the importance of authentic portrayals of Latino characters on screen.
In addition to the Next Up series event, SAG-AFTRA also sponsored the Expanding the Asian American Narrative into the Next Decade panel on Jan. 26. The event was part of the 16th Annual Asian Pacific Filmmakers Experience in Park City series, which highlights the work of Asian American and Pacific Islanders filmmakers. The two-hour event showcased the panels Changemakers and Truthtellers. Changemakers, moderated by David Magdeal & Associates founder and Chief Executive Officer David Magdael, featured the co-founder of production company The Population, Derek Nguyen; Creative Artists Agency motion picture literary agent Christina Chou; Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment Executive Director Michelle K. Sugihara; The Walt Disney Studios Director of Multicultural Audience Engagement Mahin Ibrahim; and Tilane Jones, the president of Ava DuVernay’s nonprofit film collective, ARRAY. Panelists for Truthtellers included documentary directors Bao Nguyen (Be Water), Ramona Diaz (A Thousand Cuts) and Shalini Kantayya (Coded Bias), and was moderated by Andrew Ahn, a 2020 Sundance Momentum Fellowship alumni. Both panels discussed the importance of bringing Asian American and Pacific Islander stories to the screen and the continued need for inclusion in studios and other professional settings.
In addition to these festival events, staff also networked and discussed union signatory contracts with attending performers and filmmakers, and sat in on screenings for signatory projects, including the upcoming film Zola.
Continuing its tradition of bringing together moviemakers and performers at Sundance, SAGindie held its annual luncheons for festival attendees, this year at local eatery Café Terigo. The first, the 23rd Annual SAGindie Actors-Only Brunch, was hosted by actors Rachel Brosnahan, Garret Dillahunt, Colman Domingo, Richard Jenkins, Logan Lerman, Sunita Mani, Andrea Riseborough, Miriam Shor and Robin Thede on Jan. 26. The following day, the 23rd Annual SAGindie Filmmakers Luncheon, featured directors Max Barbakow, Radha Blank, Alex Huston Fischer, Liz Garbus, Natalie Erika James, Braden King, Lawrence Michael Levine and Eleanor Wilson. Both events were attended by more than 100 SAG-AFTRA members, actors, filmmakers and members of the industry.
Photo: SAG-AFTRA and SAGindie attended the annual Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah, its opening weekend.