Ministry for Culture & Heritage of New Zealand

10/03/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 10/02/2019 21:43

Global Summit the Power of Inclusion Opened by PM Ardern

News: 3 October 2019

This morning at 9am, New Zealand's Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern opened The Power of Inclusion summit and addressed hundreds of screen industry professionals from all over the globe about the importance of representation both on and off the screen.

Image of Prime Minister Ardern is courtesy of the New Zealand Film Commission.

Our world is rich and diverse and we need to see that reflected in both of our industries and we need it reflected both on the screen and behind the screen as well.

On striving for gender parity while acknowledging Māori in storytelling, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said:

'We all know that inclusivity stems well beyond issues of gender. In order to have a truly inclusive industry, we must also support and cultivate voices and communities with stories that have not been traditionally told as often as frankly they should...These stories not only seek to challenge and affect a major part of who we are as a people, they are also what makes us unique on the world-stage...It's time to take stock of how far we've come and to chart the course of future action.'

Following Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern's opening address, keynotes were given by actress and Gen Z activist Yara Shahidi (black-ish, grown-ish), Academy Award® nominated producer and social critic Heather Rae (Frozen River, Tallulah), director Heperi Mita (MERATA: How Mum Decolonised the Screen) and actor and equality advocate Magda Szubanski (Babe, Kath & Kim) to provide a myriad of perspectives on the power of inclusion.

In regards to the importance of working as a collective toward broader representation, Shahidi said, 'If you are only advocating for yourself, you are only asking for colonial structures to work in your favour.'

Actor and equality advocate Magda Szubanski encouraged audiences to understand themselves, drop assumptions, and find allies saying: 'The importance of laying down your arms, of not being so defensive that you find enemies where there are potential friends is something we all have to work on.'

On his mother, seminal filmmaker Merata Mita, Heperi Mita highlighted the way inclusion has the ability to birth new life saying: 'the power of inclusion has the power to bring life into the world'

The Power of Inclusion is a global summit happening in Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand over the 3rd and 4th October 2019. Hosted by the New Zealand Film Commission and Women in Film and Television International, with support from The Walt Disney Studios, The Power of Inclusion presents a 2-day programme which includes case studies, panels, conversations and keynotes on pertinent issues in the inclusion and representation space. The line-up features 60+ international and local speakers, and includes but is not exclusive to people of colour, women, inter-faith, indigenous, LGBTQ+ and people with a disability, and is open for all to attend.

Sponsors include Motion Picture Association, Warner Bros, HBO, NBC Universal, Entertainment Partners, Hilton Auckland, Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development - Screen Auckland. The event is also supported by Screen Australia.