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PGA East Diversity: TAKING THE HELM: A Conversation with Producer Ron Simons - Industry Invite
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When: Monday, April 3
7:00 PM
Where: NYU Production Lab
16 Washington Place
New York, New York  10003
United States

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Producers Guild of America Diversity Presents


Monday, April 3
6:30pm Doors open, mingle
7:00-8:30pm Discussion + Q&A

8:30-9:15pm Mixer & Refreshments

NYU Production Lab
16 Washington Place (between Greene & Mercer St.)
Space is limited. Must register by March 29

TAKING THE HELM is a PGA East Diversity initiative that engages and connects content creators and partners in our mission to galvanize the production of more authentic stories helmed by people of color, women, those who identify as LGBTQ, immigrants, persons with physical and neuro disabilities, veterans and under-represented people of all persuasions and ages.

This conversation with independent film and Broadway producer, Ron Simons, will offer insights on creative strategizing and practical tools to get your story to screen. Being a producer in today’s independent film market requires a multifaceted skill set, and acquiring an option to a good script is just the start. How do producers package, secure talent, work with agents, and secure financing for their projects? How do you decide which companies and partners to approach? What does it mean to take the helm as a producer? What are some challenges and resources for diverse producers?

Ron Simons, Founder and President of SimonSays Entertainment, is a three-time Tony Award-winning producer and actor. He leads the company’s strategic planning and development of theater and film projects, including the critically acclaimed films NIGHT CATCHES US, GUN HILL ROAD, BLUE CAPRICE, and MOTHER OF GEORGE; all four films premiered at Sundance. His recent film credits include LIVE CARGO and KING COBRA, both of which premiered at Tribeca 2016. Simons’ first documentary, 25 TO LIFE, premiered at the American Black Film Festival where it won Best Documentary.

Simons produced the Broadway productions of Jitney, Hughie; The Gin Game; A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder (Tony Award for Best Musical); Porgy & Bess (Tony Award for Best Revival of a Musical); Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike (Tony Award for Best Play, Drama Desk, New Drama Critics Outer Critics Circle Awards for Best Play, Drama League Award for Outstanding Production of a Broadway or Off-Broadway Play); as well as, A Streetcar Named Desire (AEA’s Extraordinary Excellence in Diversity on Broadway Award.) His Off-Broadway projects include Jitney, Turn Me Loose, Bedlam’s St. Joan, Bedlam’s Hamlet Awards (Off Broadway Alliance Award – Best Revival (for Saint Joan). He also produced the Chicago production of 5 Lesbians Eating a Quiche, which received the FringeNYC Outstanding Production Award. Simons is a member of The Broadway League Diversity Committee, as well as the PGA Diversity Committee.

Cassidy Arkin: Cassidy’s roots are diverse and multiracial – Norwegian, African- American, Sephardic Jew, and American Indian. She is the director, producer and writer of Little Brown Girl, a book, film and TV project based on her story living in a utopian American community called Synanon where she was born. Her career objectives as a producer and correspondent were established at the age of fifteen when she began producing a public access program that was subsequently nominated for a California Emmy. For the past twenty years Cassidy has worked full time in New York media and entertainment, primarily at MTV, VH1, Oxygen Media, Al Roker Productions, ABC, CBS, ARISE America and most recently iHeart. She’s an active member of the Producers Guild of America serving as a PGA Diversity and Screening Committee member. She also serves in a voluntary capacity on behalf of various groups, especially The Cooper Hewitt Museum, working to bring media education and design experience to New York City high school students. Ms. Arkin's work is original and profound and has a cross-generational impact. Her heart is with media arts and journalism, with a special focus on the community and the people. She has a strong belief in the value of her own experience and talents as a producer and as a creative, and, she works hard to make others successful.

About the Venue
The NYU Production Lab is a film incubator for the entire NYU Community. They push artists to be collaborative entrepreneurs who build sustainable creative careers. They accomplish this by providing an interdisciplinary co-working space, community and career-driven programming, and by making financial and in-kind investments in student and alumni feature films.