One of the highlights of our year is going to the Sundance Film Festival each January. At this year’s festival, we had the opportunity to attend a truly inspiring panel discussion on the importance of storytelling. The Power of Story: Culture Shift featured moderator Sarah Ellison leading a conversation with five influential “culture makers,” actress Octavia Spencer (The Help, Hidden Figures), former U.S. chief technology officer Megan Smith, film producer Christine Vachon (Carol, Still Alice), Open Society Foundation vice president Patrick Gaspard, and actor and writer Issa Rae (HBO’s Insecure).
Topics covered included the importance of representation in film (and the advent of data science tools that have allowed us to better monitor it), the dangers of biases that dictate industry decisions and investments, and the power of film to shape our collective understanding of our world and our history. These concerns are certainly relevant in our own field, and we have seen them reflected in branding and storytelling trends across multiple industries. We should always be mindful of opportunities to produce thoughtful content that reflects a range of experiences and reaches diverse audiences.
We hope you’ll find this panel as inspiring as we did!