MIPCOM: The Hollywood Reporter, A+E Networks Fete Power Women

Courtesy of Pelin Distas Yasaroglu
Turkey’s Kanal D GM Pelin Distas Yasaroglu was on the panel discussion.

A+E Networks' Danielle Carrig, Kanal D GM Pelin Distas Yasaroglu and FremantleMedia China CEO Vivian Yin addressed the crowd at the Majestic Hotel.

The Hollywood Reporter hosted MIPCOM’s power lunch, celebrating the fourth annual Women in Global Entertainment networking event, in partnership with A+E networks.

An international panel of executives, including Turkey’s Kanal D GM Pelin Distas Yasaroglu, FremantleMedia China CEO Vivian Yin, Fox International executive vp Sharon Tal Yguado and Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, addressed a crowd that included UnREAL stars Shiri Appleby and Constance Zimmer about the challenges of working in politically charged environments.

Lifetime’s senior vp public affairs Danielle Carrig discussed the current narrative in the media that says the female talent pool is shallow and that women are too busy balancing family life to be successful in Hollywood.

“What I often see is not the fierce images of women, women who are confident and kicking ass. I’m seeing a lot of images now that are all about family and ‘How is she doing it all?’ I’m imaging a woman who is stirring a pot, and there’s spaghetti on the wall, and the pot’s boiling over, and she’s carrying a baby and a briefcase.”

The constant questioning about work-family balance that is addressed toward actresses and executives alike, along with corresponding images in the media and on television, have been presenting an incompetent image, she said.

Carrig also cited statistics that state that globally women hold roughly 10 percent of powerful entertainment positions.

“These numbers of women in director roles, writer roles, producer roles are not getting any better,” she said. “These numbers have actually declined from where we were 20 years ago.”

She implored the crowd of powerful women to make hiring choices from untapped resources — scouring indie filmmakers or women with only short films under their belts — for new faces and to show those faces as competent, she said. “These are things we have control over,” she added.

With several women on the panel working in politically charged locations, the panel stayed away from the tired topic of how to be a woman in the entertainment world, instead focusing on the challenges of working in those environments.

Chinoy, producer of Oscar-winning documentary Saving Face, about acid attacks against women in Pakistan, said that two of her colleagues had been murdered in recent months, as was one of the subjects of her documentary film. She said she also had faced death threats herself because of her filmmaking, but she has chosen to stay in Pakistan to try to create a better future in the country.

“For a long time, I thought we were ‘persona non grata’ because we were women, that we could get away with saying things because we were women and nonthreatening, but that’s completely changed now,” she said.

With YouTube banned in Pakistan, documentary filmmakers have turned to alternative platforms such as Vimeo to disseminate content.

Yguado said that Fox International had been distributing and putting its full force behind the Malala Yousafzai doc He Named Me Malala in all of its markets worldwide, including the Middle East.