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COMMITTEE SPOTLIGHT - Counsel With A Conscience: Social Impact Entertainment Gives PGA Members A New Way To Make A Difference

Posted By William Nix, Wednesday, April 3, 2019

In a time when many people are seeking a way to make a difference, it’s important to realize those in the arts and media are perfectly positioned to create social change and transformation on an individual, local, national and global level.

To that end, a working group of PGA members—Kate McCallum, Kia Kiso, Megan Mascena Gaspar, Anne Marie Gillen, Rebecca Graham Forde and William Nix—have come up with a brilliant initiative to raise public awareness of important social issues. The PGA Social Impact Entertainment Task Force (SIETF) was formed in the summer of 2018.

The seed for the idea grew from a pilot event called Producing and Marketing for Social Impact. Held in early 2018 at the Norman Lear Annenberg Center at USC and cohosted by Hollywood, Health & Society, the program offered participants resources and strategies for development, funding and marketing content for social impact. The event also honored the winner of the Stanley Kramer Award. The award was established in 2002 to recognize a production, producer or other individuals whose achievements raise public awareness about critical social issues. 

Last year’s Stanley Kramer Award went to the feature film Get Out, produced by Sean McKittrick, p.g.a.; Jason Blum, p.g.a.; Edward H. Hamm Jr., p.g.a.; and Jordan Peele, p.g.a. This year Jane Fonda will be honored for her legacy as an outspoken advocate for the most vulnerable in our society.

Inspired by that event, the participating members created the new task force, working in conjunction with the Guild’s Education Committee. In just six months, they launched their first-in-a-series of SIETF Workshops at the Vortex Dome located at Los Angeles Center Studios. About 100 producers attended. They were diverse in gender, age and ethnicity, and represented a wide range of experience.

Vortex Dome, Los Angeles Center Studios

The successful program featured presentations on defining Social Impact Entertainment, marketing SIE companies and projects, and distributing SIE through both traditional and new media platforms. Thoughtful discussions centered on who the current audience is for this new field and which studios, networks and digital companies are backing these revolutionary projects.

Future workshops will focus on SIE Finance and SIE Games/New Media. In addition to the workshops, SIETF will be producing events, activities and roundtable discussions relating to all aspects of social impact entertainment, as a means of providing specific resources to the PGA membership. General information and a comprehensive list of resource materials can be found at www.facebook.com/groups/PGASIETF and the PGA website.

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