Los Angeles-based organization, The Center for Entertainment & Civic Health, launched a free public event online last month with the help of some of Hollywood’s leading creators who openly discussed how storytelling and entertainment can help bridge the gap in America.
During the three hour event, veteran producer Abigail Disney (“The Armor of Light”, “Independent Lens”), writer and executive producer of “The Conners” Dave Caplan, writer Dean Batali (“Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “That 70s Show”), as well as Korie and Willie Robertson (“Duck Dynasty”, “At Home With the Robertsons”) and many others joined the panel line-up for the Center for Entertainment & Civic Health’s virtual kickoff event: “Hollywood and Storytelling In a Divided America.”
“We are living in a really punishing environment, and we have to be willing to risk relationships with the people who are all telling us we’re right before we get out of bed every morning and cross that divide and spend time and commit to relationships and be curious. And [we have to] stop trying to persuade people,” said panelist Abigail Disney (Emmy-Winning Documentary Filmmakers and Co-Founder of Fork Films).
“We have no diversity of thought. We all look different but have the same opinions, so we are only going to reach the inside of the audience; we’re never going get to the other side if we don’t adjust what our idea of diversity is.” added Riaz Patel (Executive Producer, NAACP Image Award Nominee, Two-time Emmy Nominee)
This event, presented by the Center for Entertainment & Civic Health (CFECH), with support from nonpartisan grant maker Civic Health Project and others, marked a first for Hollywood by convening notable content creators, entertainment executives, social scientists, and leading nonprofit practitioners for a candid, cross-partisan exploration of the question: “Can popular entertainment help save a fracturing America?” Through a mix of interactive panels, fireside chats, and ‘hot takes,’ attendees will gain inspiration and insight about how to strengthen a splintering nation. All attendees are encouraged to join the discussion and learn about narrative depolarization strategies and successful case studies from some of Hollywood’s most recognizable names in TV and film.
The full list of panelists included Pete Nicks (Emmy Award-Winning Cinematographer, Producer, & Director), Abigail Disney (Documentary Film Producer & Philanthropist), Dean Batali (Writer & Executive Producer, “That 70s Show,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer“), Eric K. Ward (Executive Director, Western States Center), Lena Slachmuijlder (SVP, Search for Common Ground), Dr. Dave Caplan (Writer & Executive Producer Co-Showrunner, “The Conners“), Dr. Peter T Coleman (Professor of Psychology and Education Columbia University), Shamil Idriss (CEO, Search for Common Ground), Riaz Patel (Executive Producer, Axial Entertainment), Melissa Weintraub (Executive Director, Resetting the Table), Rob Long (Writer & Producer, “Cheers” & Co-Founder, Ricochet), Jeff Chao (VP of Finance, Digital Domain), Betsy Levy Paluck (Professor of Psychology and Public Affairs, Princeton University, Macarthur “Genius Award” Winner), Christina Lindstrom (Head of Impact Measurement & Assessment, SIE Society), Yolanda T. Cochran (SVP of Live-Action Long-Form Production, ViacomCBS), Korie and Willie Robertson (A&E’s “Duck Dynasty”+). For further information visit www.cfech.org