Social impact agency Propper Daley hosted its second “A Day of Unreasonable Conversation” summit on Thursday, which featured a star-studded lineup that included Kim Kardashian, Uzo Aduba, Chrissy Teigen, BJ Novak, and director and producer Scott Budnick.
The event-only event — produced in collaboration with culture change agency Invisible Hand, featuring News Kidda as a media partner — took place at The Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills, where an entire day was programmed to unite television writers, producers and executives with cultural change agents. The day’s many conversations covered intellectual humility, mental health, social and economic divisions, criminal justice, reproductive rights, climate change, responsible technology and more, with the discussions intended to influence future on-screen storylines and ensure the authenticity of the story. to help maintain.
Kardashian and Budnick sat down with host Baratunde Thurston for a “How to Get Sh!t Done in a Divided America” panel, where the two discussed their lengthy advocacy for prison reform after discovering how broken the system is, especially for people of color.
Budnick, who had a prolific career as a producer of many Todd Phillips films, left the industry for five years to head the nonprofit The Anti-Recidivism Coalition, which works to end mass incarceration in California.
“I took a 90 percent pay cut, left my position of power, couldn’t cast anyone, couldn’t hire anyone, and it was the best five years,” Budnick said. “What I realized in the five years I ran that nonprofit was that it was all about storytelling — all the men and women, boys and girls I’ve worked with were all about telling their stories and humanizing them. .”
“I think storytelling is so important because people are always asking, ‘How can you help? What can you do?’,” Kardashian added. “Someone once said to me, ‘Why are you working on one case? Work on policy.’ And I said to them, ‘If you don’t put a face to this charge and you don’t understand’ – people just want community safety, they want to feel that way, unless you hear their story, unless you’ve heard where they come from and where they are now, you won’t feel safe just reading a piece of paper, so the storytelling aspect is so important to push through the policy.”
Kardashian said to combine all her activism with her business and law studies, “I kind of have a rule where I take on 10 cases at a time and I can’t really go above that.” Budnick also noted how he has 300 people from ARC, “all who were previously locked up, that’s now union cameramen, union hair and makeup, union wardrobe. It’s been a game changer,” especially in his movies like Just Mercy also dealing with criminal justice reform on screen.
About Budnick’s current movie plans, through his co-financing company One Community, he said: THR he is looking for “stories that can have an impact on people’s lives, but that are entertaining; entertainment first. Feeding nobody their vegetables, nobody their medicine. We’ll take you to a major commercial movie, television show, docuseries with real movie stars, that’s going to be immersive and entertaining and you don’t know what’s going to happen, but you’re going to learn something. You’re going to want to make an impact at the end, and we’re going to give you the path to make an impact at the end,” he said, referring to Out and Black Panther as the inspiration.
During the morning programming of the summit, Aduba also performed a dramatic reading of Jonathan Haidt’s essay After Babylon and writer-director Billy Ray — currently working with Adam McKay on a feature film about the January 6 uprising — at a panel entitled “Radicalization: ‘How Badly Could This Escalate?'”
“We have learned over the past six years that democracy is a decision; it is not an absolute like gravity or the sun rising in the morning. Democracy happens when 330 million Americans decide it needs to happen and it needs to be nurtured and protected and it needs to be watered,” Ray told the audience. “If we don’t, we just don’t have one.”
In the afternoon Novak took part in a discussion on “Road Trips to Deeper Understanding”, where, inspired by the travels he made for his film Revengehe encouraged Hollywood to “send people back to where their roots are so they can report on things and it’s not just Entourage and shows about privileged people who win all Emmys.”
Zazie Beetz moderated a talk titled “Apocalypse Never: Our Climate Future and BIPOC Solutions,” and in a side talk with THR she revealed her hopes for on-screen climate stories.
“If you’re playing a movie in 2022, there isn’t a world where your story wouldn’t really include a climate conversation, whether it’s about how people choose to eat on your show or choose to transport themselves or the crises that may arise. going on in the background,” she said. “I don’t necessarily think it’s about making climate the centerpiece of every story, but about making climate sort of a landscape of a story — just like how, if you make a rom-com in New York City, New York City goes a character in the story.” Teigen was one of the final speakers, leading a talk on reproductive rights called “I Made That Choice”.
Propper Daley President Greg Propper, who held the first “Day of Unreasonable Talks” since 2019 after missing the past two years because of the pandemic, said this year’s focus was “on the issue of intellectual humility and the joy of being wrong.” and help us all build that muscle of curiosity and questioning.”
And when it came to booking talent and extended conversations, the organization “tried to get “outside the debate and conversations about cable news and just try to have a more nuanced conversation about issues. I think most people want that, it’s just hard to find,” Propper added. “I think people care, it’s just a matter of, can we lure them out of their writers’ rooms and out of their productions for a day to be with us long enough to to belong.”