Yara Shahidi and other game changers added to Summit

Published: Fri 30 Aug 2019 10:02 AM
Friday 30 August 10.00am NZT / Thursday 29 August 3.00pm PDT - Incredible actress and activist, Yara Shahidi has been added to The Power of Inclusion summit along with programme details. She joins over 35 international and local history makers from the entertainment industry and beyond, at this pivotal event in Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand on 3 and 4 October 2019.
Shahidi came to attention in her breakout role in the Golden Globe nominated TV series Black-ish and then landed a starring role in the spinoff Grown-ish, which has been greenlit for season 3. Lauded for her activism and advocacy, she founded Eighteen x 18, an education platform focused on providing information and resources to new voters across the country. The young star created Yara’s Club in partnership with The Young Women’s Leadership Schools in NYC. She served as a spokesperson for DoSomething.Org and 3M’s STEM campaign, which raised funds for classrooms in need of science and tech resources, and worked with the Obama White House around STEM initiatives.
Shahidi is an advocate for women’s issues, including diversity in media, girls’ education, and has worked with the United Nations Girl Up on global initiatives. Her work has been spotlighted in the New York Times, TIME Magazine’s annual 30 Most Influential Teens list, and Forbes 30 Under 30. She recently appeared on the cover of British Vogue magazine’s September issue guest edited by Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex as one of the ‘Forces for Change.’
Also announced at the summit are social critic and producer Heather Rae (Academy Award nominated Frozen River) who has an overall producing deal with Amazon Studios, iconic New Zealand actors and creators Rachel House (Thor: Ragnarok, MOANA) and Oscar Kightley (Hunt for The Wilderpeople) and Heperi Mita, director of critically acclaimed MERATA: How Mum Decolonised the Screen, a documentary paying homage to his late mother, the widely regarded godmother of indigenous cinema, Merata Mita.
Full list of announced speakers to date are below
The Power of Inclusion summit will bring people together, presenting myriad world views and positing future action to create a more inclusive industry and world; all enveloped in the special environment that Aotearoa New Zealand and its peoples have to offer.
Programme details announced include keynotes from Shahidi, along with Rae who also works to foster accurate and authentic representation of Native and Indigenous people, and actor and equality advocate Magda Szubanski (Kath & Kim, Babe). Panels will span history makers discussing what’s next to achieve true representation in front of and behind the camera and acclaimed indigenous practitioners sharing their stories of reclaiming cultural power through the lens. ‘In conversations with’ sessions include acclaimed creators Niki Caro (Whale Rider, The Zookeepers Wife, Mulan), Philippa Boyens (Lord of the Rings Trilogy, King Kong, Lovely Bones) and Steven Canals (POSE).
The summit will be hosted by the New Zealand Film Commission (NZFC) and Women in Film and Television International (WIFTI), with support from The Walt Disney Studios.
The NZFC also acknowledges The Motion Picture Association Scholarship programme, which will provide 150 tickets for people working or studying in the screen sector who are low or unwaged or belong to a community underrepresented in the screen sector. Registration for scholarship tickets closes 4 September 2019. Details here.
Full programme and final speakers to be announced. For more information including registration, please go to
#powerofinclusion | i: @nzfc| t: @nzfilmcommissh| f: @nzfc

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