Waking Up: How the Entertainment Industry Is Facing the Challenges of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion
When: Tuesday March 20, 2018 at 7 p.m.
Where: Arena Theatre (MUS 101)
David White is the national executive director and chief negotiator of Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artist (SAG-AFTRA). In this role, White serves as chief executive officer and strategist for the world’s largest entertainment union with approximately 160,000 members worldwide who work in film, television, broadcast news, commercials, music, video games and emerging media.
Prior to rejoining SAG-AFTRA, where he previously served as general counsel from 2002 to 2006, White was managing principal of Los Angeles-based Entertainment Strategies Group LLC, providing consulting services to the entertainment industry. He was a labor and employment attorney at O’Melveny & Myers LLP before joining the executive ranks of SAG-AFTRA. Prior to law school, White was the executive director of an innovative youth services organization, Youth Opportunities Unlimited.
A Rhodes Scholar, White is a graduate of Grinnell College, Stanford Law School and The Queen’s College, Oxford University. He is chair of the board of the SAG-AFTRA Health Plan, former chair of the SAG-Producers Pension Plan, former chair of the board of trustees of Grinnell College, and former vice chair of the Industry Advancement and Cooperative Fund. He is a trustee of the AFTRA Retirement Fund, a board member of the Motion Picture and Television Fund, the SAG Foundation, The Actors Fund. He is also a member of both the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
White has served as a Los Angeles area commissioner for urban planning and development. He has been a contributing writer for the Los Angeles Lawyer, has been featured in various publications including the Los Angeles Magazine, and has served as a commentator on national and industry publications and radio shows. He has received numerous awards throughout his career, including the John M. Langston Bar Association’s Attorney of the Year award in 2014, the National Bar Association’s Entertainment, Sports & Art Law Section Attorney of the Year in 2010, and the Association of Media and Entertainment Counsel’s Labor and Personal Representation Counsel of the Year in 2009.
Mai manages several committees, programs and events that focus on community-building, advocacy and education. Her additional responsibilities include collaborating with industry professionals from studios, networks, unions, film festivals and advocacy groups to promote diversity and inclusion both inside and outside of the walls of the WGAW. Prior to joining the WGAW, Mai’s background included working in film and television development and representation, with positions at Overbrook Entertainment, Gersh, The Kaplan Stahler Agency and Silver Pictures. Her areas of expertise and interest are: diversity, inclusion, equity, intersectionality, film, television, digital spaces, strategic event planning, community building, social impact, organizing and professional development. Mai was born and raised in London, England, went to high school in Orange County, CA, and graduated from UC Riverside with a BA in Media and Cultural Studies and Minor in Creative Writing.
Eduardo Cisneros, LGBTQ writer and producer
Eduardo is a writer and producer known for INSTRUCTIONS NOT INCLUDED (the highest grossing Spanish language film of all time, $80M+ worldwide) and FAMILIA P. LUCHA. He is currently working on a very exciting project that hopefully he can talk to the students about.
Marcos Luevanos, LGBTQ writer and producer
Marcos is an L.A. native, NYU alum, former Los Angeles Times Style Editor who was once dumped, fired, and accidentally slapped all in the same day. He got his start in television lint-rolling Carson Kressley on the original Queer Eye For The Straight Guy. He has participated in the NHMC's TV Writing Program ('09), NBC's Writers On The Verge ('10), and The CBS Writers Mentoring Program ('11). He has written on BET's The Game, NBC's Telenovela, and was most recently staffed on CBS's Life In Pieces as a Co-Producer. He can be found on Facebook and on Instagram as beyoncesbestfriend, which has yet to be disproven.
Kevin Iwashina is an agent at Endeavor Content, a division of global entertainment leader Endeavor (formerly WME | IMG). In his role, Iwashina identifies financing opportunities, handles sales and provides advisory services for media companies and content creators in the non-fiction space.
Endeavor Content finances, packages and sells over 100 feature films and television series a year. In non-fiction, recent film and television projects include: “Chef’s Table,” “Le Mans,” “The Grand Tour,” “Gleason,” “Step,” “Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A Bad Boy Story,” and “Long Strange Trip,” among others.
Iwashina joined Endeavor Content in 2017. Prior to that, he served as Founder & CEO at Preferred Content (PC), a film, television and digital sales, production and advisory company. During his tenure, he oversaw the representation of fiction and non-fiction content creators to secure financing and distribution of feature films and episodic series concepts.
Recent PC production and sales projects include the documentaries “78/52” and “Unrest,” which both premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, “Small Town Crime,” which premiered at the 2017 SXSW Festival, the Netflix Original Documentary short film “Long Shot,” directed by Jacob LaMendola and Rodney Ascher's cult documentary “The Nightmare.” Iwashina was the lead producer of the hit documentary “Jiro Dreams of Sushi,” the precursor to “Chef’s Table.”
Prior to launching PC, Iwashina was a senior agent in CAA’s Independent & International Film Group, after initially beginning his career in the mailroom at UTA. He holds a B.A. in English literature with a specialization in French language and culture from U.C.L.A. and is active in the non-profit sector. In addition, he serves as the Chairman of the Board of the Coalition of Asian Pacifics in Entertainment (CAPE) and is a member of the Board of Directors of the International Documentary Association (IDA).
Moderated by Barry Gordon, former President of Screen Actors Guild and alumnus.
Covering the gamut of current discussions in the entertainment industries: the intersectionality of roles for people of color, pay equity for women, sexual harassment in the workplace, roles and casting of transgender and non-binary performers and MORE! (#TimesUp, Inclusion Riders, Akuarel, MMCA)
What and how are the various professional guilds and unions doing to support the need for more opportunities, representation and equity, and how can faculty and students engage as well?