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PEAK Honors Pasifika Women in Hollywood With Auli’i Cravalho, Sasha Colby and Naomi Scott Panel – Film News in Brief


The Pasifika Entertainment Advancement Komiti announced their PEAK Conversations panel will take place in Los Angeles on May 1. Sponsored by Amazon MGM Studios, the panel will feature “Moana” and “Mean Girls” actress Auli’i Cravalho, “RuPaul’s Drag Race” winner Sasha Colby and Great Scott Productions founder Naomi Scott. “Moana 2” and “Thai Cave Rescue” Screenwriter and PEAK Co-Founder Dana Ledoux Miller will moderate the panel.

“May is AAPI Heritage Month yet you’ll find Pasifika (or Pacific Islander) people are rarely prioritized and often erased in celebrations despite us being named in them,” said Kristian Fanene Schmidt, co-founder and executive director of PEAK. “Most AAPI organizations have no Pasifika staff or even board members so it’s why PEAK exists. We’re the only Pasifika-led organization doing this work who will advocate for us the way we do. We’re all about uplifting our most marginalized voices so for this event, it made perfect sense to highlight our women who are the backbone of our communities, yet they experience the most disparity when it comes to opportunities and pay.”

The talanoa, or discussion, will focus on issues specific to Pasifika women and their journeys in the entertainment industry. It will also highlight the achievements Cravalho who starred as the first Disney Pacific Islander princess, Colby who was the first Pacific Islander to win “RuPaul’s Drag Race”, Scott, who is the only Chamorro woman producer in Hollywood and Ledoux Miller, who was the first Samoan showrunner in Hollywood with “Thai Cave Rescue”.

Focus Features to Award Best Film Award and $10,000 Prize at USC School of Cinematic Arts’ 2024 First Look Film Showcase

Focus Features will award the Best Film Award and a $10,000 cash prize to the winning short film at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts’ First Look Film Showcase. The event will be held April 11.

The First Look Showcase is a culmination of production work from current students and recently graduated alumni that has been completed in the past year. The 64 films submitted cover stories about identity, motherhood, immigration, love, childhood, self-reflection, and more.

Panavision will sponsor the First Look Pitch & Panel session where 5 finalists will be chosen to pitch live to an industry panel. The winner will receive a Panavision New Filmmaker Program equipment grant for a camera and optics rental package valued at $15,000.

“We are so grateful to Focus Features and Panavision for their inspiring support of our emerging filmmakers,” said O’Shea” Myles, senior career services advisor for the SCA Office of Industry Relations. “They are helping to bridge the gap between student and professional life, and encouraging our students to put their best work forward in taking the next steps in their careers.”

Other awards presented will include 20 faculty awards, chosen to celebrate outstanding work in disciplines such as screenwriting, directing, producing, cinematography, editing, sound and production design. 18 industry awards that recognize achievement in animation, comedy, drama, documentary, social change and genre will be also presented.