Marvel Exec Victoria Alonso Welcomes a Female "Future of Hollywood" at Archer Film Festival

Courtesy of The Archer School for Girls
From left: Film Festival Leadership Board member and Archer senior Zoƫ Appelbaum-Schwartz, keynote speaker and Marvel Studios Executive Vice President of Production Victoria Alonso, and Film Festival Leadership Board member and Archer senior Ruby Colby.

The Marvel Executive delivered the keynote address Wednesday night and screened a specially-made cut of Marvel heroines at the female-driven film festival, put on entirely by students of The Archer School for Girls.

According to Marvel Studios’ executive vice president production Victoria Alonso, the future of Hollywood is very female and very bright.

The Argentinian executive — who helped produce Marvel’s biggest hits including Black Panther, Avengers: Endgame and Captain Marvel — delivered the keynote address of the 8th annual Archer Film Festival Wednesday night at the Writers Guild Theater in Beverly Hills.

The festival is run exclusively by students of Brentwood’s elite private school, The Archer School for Girls, which has welcomed past speakers such as J.J. Abrams, Nina Jacobson and Kathleen Kennedy.

This year’s theme "Her Lens, Her Story" welcomed a night of female empowerment echoed by both Alonso and the female students running the festival.

Before she sat down for a moderated discussion with the student organizers of the festival, Alonso screened a specially-made super-cut of Marvel heroine footage to reflect upon her own efforts towards female representation onscreen.

"This piece that I cut for you guys, the future of Hollywood, it took me 14 years. I've been at Marvel since 2005. Fourteen years to get this amount of female superheroes on that screen and not all of them have the same amount of screen time that the men have," Alonso told the theater full of aspiring filmmakers, parents and educators. “That is to say that as successful as we are, as empowered as we are to make certain choices, it still took us a long time.”

Alonso told the young female students that she wanted to give them a chance to see themselves onscreen as women are too often told they do not belong by the film industry.

"For too long, you are told that you're not represented, that you don't matter, that there's no space for you, that it's not going to happen, that the world doesn't want it, that it won't be fiscally responsible to make a movie with women about women for women — that women will not open," Alonso told the crowd. "If anyone says that to you say, 'Excuse me, let me give you a statistic. Captain Marvel made $1.3 billion dollars and that's a B as in beso.' That's all you have to say. You're losing money, if you don't get us up there, behind and in front of the camera."

Alonso told The Hollywood Reporter that the message she most wanted to get across to the girls in her address was to keep going, no matter how many no’s they receive in their careers.

"If I would have stopped at my first no, I wouldn't be here. I think it's important for them to know that they are the future. Then, they have a vision for what they want this to become — this mini Hollywood or storytelling in general. The formats that we have brought to life today are not necessarily the way we're going to do it in the future. It's up to them to adventure into new ways and be brave in their storytelling."

While the message of Alonso’s address was very serious, her tone was very animated. She referenced the power of music and dance several times throughout her speech and eventually concluded her time on stage by leading the audience in a sing-a-long of Guardians of the Galaxy favorite, "Hooked on a Feeling."

Archer students reviewed more than 800 submissions by high school students from several countries while crafting the festival’s lineup of 10 short films.

"The Archer Film Festival’s Mission has always been to inspire and empower women in the film industry by recognizing and amplifying diverse perspectives. We aim to broaden Hollywood's narrow worldview," said festival co-chair Zoe Applebaum-Schwartz. "[In crafting the festival’s lineup] we were looking for innovative and creative approaches to the film medium and portrayals of diverse perspectives."