Los Angeles – June 26th – 29th, 2013 – Applications Due: March 20th, 2013
The Hollywood Summit is your chance to understand how American Muslims can have a positive impact in the entertainment industry. By meeting with working actors, screenwriters, directors, talent managers and studio executives, delegates gain insight into making it in the industry while also gaining practical training in digital storytelling and getting tips for transforming your talent into a successful career. Past Hollywood Summit delegates have had the opportunity to meet with CBS Television, Fox Entertainment, Film Independent, as well as award-winning actors, editors and directors.
Last week, delegates from our 2nd annual Hollywood Young Leaders Summit met with several prominent Muslim American artists and filmmakers, including documentary director Abdallah Omeish, comedian and actor Asif Ali, in Los Angeles.
Over the course of four days, delegates from all over the U.S. and Canada had the opportunity to speak one-on-one with prominent studio executives, directors, actors, editors and talent managers.
Academy Award-winning editor David Brenner left them with the message, “You, too, can have a successful career in Hollywood.”
Below are the thoughts of delegate Sofia Khan:
Participating in MPAC’s Young Leaders Hollywood Summit was an enlightening experience. As a Muslim trying to build a career in this industry, one comes upon opportunities and obstacles that may go against Islamic ways. This is something I have struggled with and was curious to hear how other Muslims in the business have handled it.
Abdallah Omeish is a documentary filmmaker who has made films on several Middle East conflicts. This is a huge area of interest for myself. There were many things I took away from the meeting we had with him, but the most important was that your faith comes first. He was living proof that you can do what you love without betraying who you are.
Not only did we meet Muslims who were making it in the industry but we also had the opportunity to meet with some major Hollywood talent and start making connections. Meeting with David Brenner, the editor of such classics as “Platoon” and “Independence Da”y as well as soon-to-be summer blockbuster “Man of Steel,” was the highlight of the Summit for me. I am an editor as well, so it was a great opportunity to meet someone with tremendous talent in the area of filmmaking that interests me the most.
The Hollywood Summit is an experience I will not forget and I am more than glad I attended.
Film directors Ajmal Zaheer and Lena Khan, Weinstein Company editor Ayser Salman and TV comedy writer Sameer Gardezi shared their personal stories of breaking into Hollywood and working on high-profile projects, which left the delegates inspired to tell their own stories.
The delegates also toured CBS Studios and the legendary Culver Studios, where they met CBS Vice President of Diversity, Tiffany Smith- Anoa'i, and executive producers and writers for “The Good Wife,” Ted Humphrey and Leonard Dick, respectively.
MPAC Senior Adviser Dr. Maher Hathout also met with the delegates before giving the Friday khutbah (sermon) at the Islamic Center of Southern California, and encouraged the young leaders to remember that their career choices are wide open to them.
“You should not feel as if your faith limits you,” Dr. Hathout said. “Your faith will help you navigate the tricky and elusive terrain in Hollywood.”
On June 10th, MPAC staff will be traveling to New York with a whole new batch of delegates for the Young Leaders Media Summit. The five-day program will immerse delegates into the fast-paced world of the news industry. Delegates will meet with top reporters, columnists, editors and producers at prominent media outlets and programs, such as NBC, CNN and “Democracy Now!”