Supporting WIF and Diversity Submissions at Sundance
The 2024 Sundance Film Festival, the largest independent film festival in the United States, took place January 18th through 28th in Park City, Utah.
At its core, Sundance exists to foster new voices in American storytelling—but it represents so much more. Artists and audiences meet face-to-face to celebrate the creative process as new stories light up the big screen for the very first time. Among those in attendance this year was Davida Lara, Entertainment Partners' Executive Vice President of Payroll.
Paving a path for positive change
Lara is a proud female leader who strives to be a thought leader and catalyst for change. Throughout her career, she’s worked to awaken the industry to embrace diversity and support all individuals. On a day-to-day basis, she’s focused on cultivating a work culture centered around inclusion and belonging.
When asked why female empowerment, diversity, and inclusion are so important to her, Lara says, “When you offer everyone access to the same opportunities and tools, you organically attract a diverse group of people. At Entertainment Partners, we focus on creating equal opportunities in different areas of the business. As a result, we not only have diverse people on the team; we have diversity of thought, diversity of backgrounds, and diversity of experience.”
Leading by example: Women supporting women
One of Lara’s biggest passion projects is supporting Women in Film (WIF), a nonprofit with a rich 50-year history of advocating for and advancing the careers of women working in the screen industry. Founded in 1973 as Women In Film, Los Angeles, WIF’s advocacy, career programs, and research efforts are a driving force for increasing gender representation in Hollywood. WIF works to dismantle gender bias in the screen industries by building the pipeline, sustaining careers, and advocating for change, and membership is open to all screen industry professionals.
A milestone in her career, we are delighted to announce that Lara has accepted a position on the organization’s Board of Directors and will share her unique expertise as Chair of the Finance Committee in 2024.
She says, “I’m passionate about supporting the advancement of women in the industry. I’ve been on the receiving end of the education and information offered by WIF. Being on the board allows me to use my experience to help other women build careers in entertainment, and it’s an amazing feeling. I’m honored to have been asked to step into this important role. And it was amazing to support fellow WIF board members as they debuted films at Sundance this year.”
Entertainment Partners’ film festival roots run deep
A proud legacy, EP leaders like Lara continue to prioritize having a presence at independent film festivals, regularly providing education to and connect with filmmakers, producers, and other industry experts with distinct perspectives. Lara says, “The entire festival was a great experience. The energy and the celebration surrounding the artists and creative filmmakers was amazing. After the strike and the uncertainty we faced in 2023, it was so good to see that people are ready to move forward. It was also an honor to see that a lot of very moving diversity submissions made it into the festival this year. Sharing stories that tackle what are sometimes divisive topics will help us create a more accepting world, both in and out of the theater.”
While in town, Lara also attended the Slamdance Film Festival, which runs parallel to Sundance. She says, “I met Rasheed Stephens, who co-wrote, directed, and produced the film ‘All I’ve Got, And Then Some’ with Tehben Dean. The film follows Stephens, an Atlanta transplant living out of his car in Los Angeles, as he pursues his dream of becoming a comedian. Every day, he interacts with unique, interesting people—and somewhere along the way, he falls in love with the girl who also happens to be dream chasing. As it turns out the two of them were neighbors! She lived in a PT Cruiser parked two cars behind him.” Lara adds, “It’s not often in our world that you get the opportunity to hear the filmmakers talk about their work and how they were inspired, so that was really cool.”
Resources and expertise to support independent filmmakers
Festivals like Sundance and Slamdance give independent filmmakers the opportunity to learn what kinds of support resources are available to help streamline production. Lara says, “Sometimes we hear people say that they think Entertainment Partners is too big to support their projects. I believe it’s actually the other way around; we’re big enough to provide them with the support they need. We’re the go-to production partner in entertainment because we can support all different types of projects!“
Entertainment Partners is proud to offer a wide range of services—from payroll to incentives, and everything in between—to productions big and small. We’ve supported tens of thousands of productions, and we’d love to connect and discuss how we can help you maximize your next project budget. Ready to start your next production? Reach out to our team today!