'Pariah' Star Calls Next Gen 2011 Honor 'Surreal' (Video)

Adepero Oduye talked to THR at the event on Saturday celebrating the 35 rising stars on this year’s list.

Actress Adepero Oduye is featured on The Hollywood Reporter’s Next Gen 2011 list. She stars in the film Pariah, which tells the story of a teenager coming to terms with her homosexuality.

Oduye joined other Next Gen 2011 honorees at an event at Milk Studios in Los Angeles on Saturday night to celebrate the annual list and experience an evening of readings which told the stories of industry members and their families who have benefitted from the Motion Picture & Television Fund’s services over the years.

PHOTOS: The Hollywood Reporter's Next Gen Class of 2011 Red Carpet

The film, helmed by writer-director Dee Rees (who also made the Next Gen Class of 2011), won the cinematography award at Sundance and Oduye, 30, has seen acclaim as the year's breakout indie talent. Pariah will open in theaters on December 28.

PHOTOS: THR's Next Gen Class of 2011

Oduye talked to THR on the carpet at the event on Saturday, expressing how honored she felt to be on the list.

“It’s surreal and exciting and a real honor,” she said.

Oduye also gave tips to others who dream of acting.

“Stay yourself. What makes you unique is what will make you stand out and get attention,” she told THR.

The director of Pariah, Dee Rees, was also included on this year’s list, which Oduye said made the experience even better.

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“It’s cool there we’re here together. This journey started five years ago, so it’s pretty exciting to be here,” she said.

The event, held at Milk Studios, was hosted by Robert Downey Jr. and featured readings performed by Jodie Foster, Jennifer Garner, Chris Pine, Nick Offerman and Josh Brolin. “Reel Stories, Real Lives” features readings which tell the stories of industry members and their families who have benefitted from MPTF’s services over the years. A gallery exhibited also features photography by Scott Caan and Jeff Bridges.

STORY: Next Gen 2011: Hollywood's Fastest-Rising Stars

THR’s Next Gen list features a select group of 35 people working in the industry under the age of 35. Among those included on this year’s list are: Armie Hammer, actor in J. Edgar; Adepero Oduye, actress in Pariah; Elizabeth Olsen from Martha Marcy May Marlene; Lauren Abrahams, director of production at Columbia Pictures; and Dana Archer, EVP at DDA PR.

Over the years, the list has also included Stacey Snider, Mike De Luca, Ari Emanuel, Amy Baer, Ben Silverman, Sue Naegle, Donna Langley and Kevin Huvane.

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