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Native American actors Q’orianka Kilcher and Kalani Queypo will host the awards gala for the 12th annual L.A. Skins Fest, The Hollywood Reporter has exclusively learned.
Kilcher’s big break came at age 14 when she starred as Pocahontas opposite Colin Farrell and Christian Bale in Terrence Malick’s The New World, and she most recently could be seen on TNT’s The Alienist as Mary Palmer, Laszlo Kreisler (Daniel Bruhl)’s mute housekeeper-turned-lover. Queypo, who also appeared in The New World, recurred on AMC’s Fear the Walking Dead as survivor Klah Jackson and stars as Chacrow on the U.K. drama Jamestown, which returns for its third season next year.
The festival, presented by Comcast NBCUniversal, will run Nov. 13 through 18 and for the first time will feature a Hollywood Pow Wow, which will take place Saturday, Nov. 17, in the courtyard in front of the TCL Chinese Theater. The free event will feature traditional performances from Native American dancers, drummers and singers. The Kilcher- and Queypo-hosted gala will take place later that evening at the Hollywood Loews Hotel.
“NBCUniversal embraces the power of diverse storytelling and has great respect for the rich traditions of Native Americans,” NBCUniversal executive vp and chief diversity officer Craig Robinson said Thursday in a statement. “Our partnership with the L.A. Skins Fest helps us share these unique narratives with the world.”
Added Janine Jones-Clark, senior vp global talent development and inclusion: “As Universal continues to identify Native American talent to broaden the narrative and introduce these voices to our creative teams, we’re so grateful for the opportunity to deepen our collaboration with L.A. Skins Fest.”
The festival has enjoyed support from the major studios, including The Walt Disney Co., which is teaming with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to present Ralph Breaks the Internet as the Nov. 16 opening-night film at the Academy’s Linwood Dunn Theater. The Wreck-It Ralph sequel counts indigenous actresses Irene Bedard (Pocahontas) and Auli’I Cravalho (Moana) among its voice cast.
More than 70 independent Native American projects, representing hundreds of reservations, nations and tribal organizations from the Americas, will be screened over the fest’s six days. Chosen from hundreds of submissions, Skins Fest will be the first time any of these films have been seen in Los Angeles, with more than 50 having their world premiere at the festival.
“We have seen Native cinema grow into a genuine force with a voice that is finally being heard,” L.A. Skins Fest executive director Ian Skorodin said in a statement. “Native filmmakers have been pushing creative limits and will have the acknowledgment they deserve.”
Other festival events designed to develop Native talent in the industry include a Nov. 13 mixer hosted by Netflix in collaboration with the Sundance Institute’s Native American and Indigenous Film Program; a Nov. 14 pitch fest that will include staged readings of the scripts from the program’s ongoing writers labs; and a Nov. 15 casting and audition workshop. The weekend will see screening programs spotlighting veterans, youth, female filmmakers and HIV/AIDS’ impact on Native American communities, as well as, on Nov. 17, a table read of a new digital series from Break the Room, an initiative created by Muslim American writer Sameer Gardezi to build a real writers room with underrepresented scribes, including indigenous writers. The reading is presented in partnership with Paul Feig’s Powderkeg and will take place in the Chinese Theater’s VIP Lounge.
The full schedule and tickets for L.A. Skins Fest are available at the festival’s website.
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