Women Breaking Barriers Panel at 'Sundance Film Festival' - Octavia Spencer, Jenna Elfman, Kyra Sedgwick and More Discuss Equality in the Work Place
Celebs and media have flocked to Park City Utah for the Sundance Film Festival. The two week festival sheds light on major film projects as well as indie-films while giving every level of filmmaker a chance to showcase their brilliance. In addition to compelling films there are also various panels that are extremely empowering.
In lieu of award season kicking off, Octavia Spencer, Kyra Sedgwick, Jenna Elfman, Keri Putnam (Executive Director, Sundance Institute), Silvia Bizio (HFPA member) and Cassian Elwes (Film Producer) sat down with Hollywood Foreign Press member Elisabeth Sereda to take a look back at 2018 and discuss the progress and new challenges that have arisen for women in the entertainment industry over the last year.
In the past year individuals have been stepping up for equality in the work place. The conversation, thankfully, is still being discussed. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association presented the Women Breaking Barriers panel and lets just say, there is plenty to talk about! 2019 version of that same panel, she arrived with the kind of news she had hoped for just one year earlier: Men are getting in on the movement too.
“I think my goal is to make sure that all women of color get equal pay, and all women get equal pay,” Spencer said. “The only way to do it is to have these conversations, to talk numbers with your co-stars.”
The tone of the room was in agreement that while we are making changes, the changes aren't happening fast enough. All parties need to realize the benefits of open communication as well as paying women the same pay as their male counterparts.
“I think men are on a steep learning curve in Hollywood,” Elwes said. “I was in the middle of a negotiation, actually in the last two days, where the lawyer for the male star was saying, ‘Oh, he should get paid more than she should,’ and I was like, ‘Absolutely not, they’re going to be most favored nations in this deal, they’re gonna get the same deal basically.’ He’s like, ‘Well, he’s working more days than her,’ and I said, ‘Well, we’re holding her for just as much time, too.’ And he said, ‘Well, what do you gotta say for that?’ And I said, ‘I’m just going to say two words: Time’s Up.'”
Elfman later continued, "We are strong smart compassionate courageous and brave. We know how to make men better and that is a huge offering we have! We have these superpowers as women!"