New Zealand's Power of Inclusion Summit Unveils More Speakers

From left: Kirsten Schaffer, executive director of Women in Film LA; Osnat Shurer, producer of Disney's 'Moana.'

Joining previously announced participants, including New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and 'Mulan' director Niki Caro, are 'Moana' producer Osnat Shurer and Kirsten Schaffer, executive director of Women in Film LA, among others.

New Zealand's upcoming The Power of Inclusion Summit continues to fill out its ambitious lineup of participants.

Joining previously announced speakers, including New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Mulan director Niki Caro, are Osnat Shurer, producer of Disney's Oscar-nominated animation Moana; and Kirsten Schaffer, executive director of Women in Film LA and a driving force behind ReFrame, the inclusivity and gender equity industry initiative.

Held Oct. 3-4 in Auckland, the inaugural Power of Inclusion Summit will feature case studies, panels and keynotes addressing issues related to inclusion and representation, with the aim of generating action to create a more inclusive industry and world.

Tilane Jones, vp grassroots film distribution collective ARRAY (13th, Selma, When They See Us) and actor and advocate Magda Szubanski (Kath & Kim, Babe), a key figure behind Australia's successful marriage equality movement, have also signed on to speak at the summit.

"I am honored to represent our distribution collaborative, ARRAY at The Power of Inclusion Summit," said Jones in a statement. "ARRAY has a ten year history of amplifying filmmakers of color and women on and off the screen, including our recent 23rd film acquisition Merata by Maori filmmaker Hepi Mita. Joining together with artists and advocates for change in New Zealand is pivotal as we work towards a more inclusive entertainment landscape around the world."

Added Szubanski: "During the Nazi Occupation my Catholic Polish family risked their lives to hide Jewish people. This history has taught me how imperative it is to hold together the social fabric that binds us. New Zealand has become a leading light in the struggle against the forces of hate and fear that threaten to pull our world apart. I totally support the kaupapa of this summit and am thrilled to join my Kiwi cousins in helping to build a world of compassion and connection.”

Additional newly announced speakers from the region include cultural commentator and creator Benjamin Law (The Family Law, Waltzing the Dragon With Benjamin Law); filmmakers Kerry Warkia and Kiel McNaughton (Waru, Vai); comedian Alice Snedden; and Madeleine Sami who joins her previously announced co-writer, director and actor from the Netflix-acquired New Zealand comedy film, The Breaker Upperers, Jackie van Beek.

More participants — including people of color, women, interfaith, indigenous, LGBTQI and differently abled individuals — will be unveiled in the coming weeks and months. The Power of Inclusion will be hosted by the New Zealand Film Commission and Women in Film and Television International, with support from The Walt Disney Studios.

Other previously announced speakers include: Philippa Boyens, the Oscar-winning co-writer and producer of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit trilogies; Charles D. King, founder and CEO of MACRO and producer of Sorry to Bother You (2018) and Mudbound (2017); Franklin Leonard, founder of The Black List; Dr. Stacy L. Smith, founder of the Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California; film director Maria Giese, who, in 2015, instigated the biggest industry-wide federal investigation for women directors in Hollywood history; award-winning writer-director Hope Dickson Leach (The Levelling); and rising New Zealand star Ana Scotney (Ngāti Tāwhaki), who made her debut in The Breaker Upperers.