Variety will host its first-ever Spirituality & Faith in Entertainment Breakfast presented by the Faith and Media Initiative (FAMI) on Feb. 13th in Los Angeles, featuring Hilary Swank, Roma Downey and Rainn Wilson.
Swank, the two-time Academy Award-winning actress from “Million Dollar Baby” and “Boys Don’t Cry,” will speak to Marc Malkin, senior culture and events writer for Variety, about her creative ties into faith-based entertainment, including the upcoming film “Ordinary Angels,” debuting theatrically Feb. 23 from Lionsgate.
Downey, an Emmy-nominated actress and producer, New York Times-bestselling author and founder of Lightworkers Media, will speak to Cynthia Littleton, Variety’s co-editor-in-chief, about her trailblazing work in spiritual and faith aligned TV and film. Roma is executive producing and starring in upcoming Prime Video series “The Baxters.”
Wilson, an award-winning actor, writer, producer and author, will chat with Angelique Jackson, senior entertainment writer at Variety, about his latest projects, including writing recent NY Times bestseller “Soul Boom: Why We Need a Spiritual Revolution.”
The invite-only event will spotlight the opportunity for featuring religion and faith in entertainment and media with a nondenominational lens. The breakfast will give a fresh look at consumer attitudes, market opportunities and breakthrough storytelling.
Additionally, research will be presented from the largest ever global faith and entertainment study, noting that audiences overwhelmingly say they want to see accurate portrayals of faith and religion in storytelling, among other findings. A follow-up panel discussion, moderated by Andrew Wallenstein, president of Variety Intelligence Platform, will feature Dritan Nesho, CEO at HarrisX, and Brooke Zaugg, executive director at the Faith & Media Initiative.
In other highlights, the panel discussion “Spiritual Storytelling Breakthroughs” will feature Neal Harmon, CEO, Angel Studios; DeVon Franklin, CEO, Franklin Entertainment and producer of “Flamin Hot” and “Miracles from Heaven”; Shakyna Bolden, VP of digital revenue & experiential operations at Will Packer Productions; and Jennifer Quainton, head of content programming at Audible.
“There is an untapped market in entertainment media,” said Brooke Zaugg, executive director of FAMI. “Across the globe, consumers are looking for more accurate portrayals of faith and spirituality. This isn’t about creating faith content, rather adding faith fluency and diverse storylines in TV and movies. It’s not just good business, but also a priceless opportunity to create empathy and understanding. We’re thrilled to hear from diverse industry voices coming together to share how to do this in an artful, authentic, and entertaining way.”
“Variety has always championed inclusive storytelling,” said Dea Lawrence, chief operating and marketing officer at Variety. “It’s exciting for us to take a look at movies and television shows that inspire audiences and leave them feeling good.”
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