Helping to usher in Diversity Week festivities, the Independent Film Channel, NAMIC, and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association are partnering on a Sept. 15 "welcoming" event, featuring a screening of the film Casa de Los Babys.
The movie — about five North American women from different backgrounds, who travel to South America hoping to adopt orphaned babies — serves as an example of IFC's commitment to provide a more diverse portrayal of people and cultures in an otherwise mainstream movie business, said Rainbow Media Entertainment Services president Kathleen Dore.
The film, directed by acclaimed independent-film director John Sayles (Eight Men Out), is being produced and distributed by IFC Entertainment. Casa de Los Babys, which stars Mary Steenburgen, Daryl Hannah, Marcia Gay Harden, Lili Taylor and Maggie Gyllenhaal, opens theatrically in New York and Los Angeles the following Friday.
The movie will also be shown at the Venice Film Festival and the Toronto Film Festival.
"This film is an appropriate opening of the annual NAMIC Conference because it reflects the values the organization stands for — accurate portrayals of people of color, crafted by talented people of color and green-lighted because of a recognition of the strength of diverse audiences," said NAMIC president Jenny Alonzo. "We encourage companies and individuals to attend the entire NAMIC Conference so that they can acquire diversity strategies for improving the way they do business on all levels."
Dore also said the movie underscores IFC's commitment to provide the type of diverse images and stories that aren't normally seen via mainstream, theatrical movie releases.
"It was an opportunity to take an independent film that deals with the subject of diversity at an opportune moment, and to create something that focuses on programming content in our business," Dore said. "I think filmmakers that create work in the independent film space are able to treat a broader range of subjects and treat them in a manner that's not formulaic."
After the screening, Dore said she will host a panel discussion exploring the central themes of the film and the importance of diversity within the entertainment industry. Actor/producer Tim Reid, content producer Virginia Reticker, and NAMIC president Jenny Alonzo will participate in the panel, along with Casa
stars Harden, Taylor and Lemore Syvan.
"The panel provides an opportunity to make the bridge between the film itself and Diversity Week," Dore added.