Please join us Saturday, Feb. 17 for our next monthly meeting. In anticipation of the entertainment industry’s biggest night, we will discuss the Academy Award nominees nominees, Hollywood’s ongoing diversity and inclusion conversation and look to the future of storytelling. We will be joined by the Black List founder Franklin Leonard, LA Times film writer Jen Yamato and CAA motion picture agent Jelani Johnson. The meeting will take place at the SAG-AFTRA building at 11 a.m. It is free for dues-paying members and $5 for non-members. We look forward to see you.
Franklin Leonard (@FranklinLeonard) is the founder of the Black List, the yearly publication highlighting Hollywood’s most popular unproduced screenplays and the company birthed to continue its mission of identifying and celebrating great screenwriting. Over 325 Black List scripts have been produced as feature films earning more than 250 Academy Award nominations and 50 wins including four of the last nine Best Pictures and ten of the last twenty screenwriting Oscars. Franklin has worked in development at Universal Pictures and the production companies of Will Smith, Sydney Pollack and Anthony Minghella, and Leonardo DiCaprio. He has been a juror at the Sundance, Toronto and Guanajuato Film Festivals and for the PEN Center Literary Awards. He was also a delegate and speaker at the White House’s 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Nairobi, Kenya. Since 2010, he has been named one of Hollywood Reporter’s 35 Under 35, Black Enterprise magazine’s “40 Emerging Leaders for Our Future,” The Root’s 100 Most Influential African-Americans, Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business” and was awarded the 2015 African-American Film Critics Association (AAFCA)’s Special Achievement Award for career excellence. He is a member of the Associates Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Jen Yamato (@JenYamato) is a reporter and critic covering the entertainment industry for the Los Angeles Times. After starting her career as an editor at Rotten Tomatoes, she has written for The Daily Beast, Deadline Hollywood, Movieline and various film publications across the web. She has covered prestigious film festivals from Sundance to Cannes and pop culture events like Comic-Con, chased celebrities down red carpets and reported from the Oscars, and appeared as a guest on CNN, 20/20 and some of your favorite movie podcasts. She’s still waiting for Hollywood to apologize for “Ghost in the Shell” and is a member of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association (LAFCA).
Jelani Johnson is a motion picture agent at CAA, with clients such as Will Packer, A$AP Rocky, Melina Matsoukas, Cheo Coker, Jesse Williams, Gina Rodriguez, Mara Brock Akil and André Holland, among others. He began his career in entertainment as an intern at CAA and transitioned into talent management at the Santa Monica-based management company Generate. He subsequently co-founded The Mission Entertainment, a management and production company focused on diverse content creators, before returning back to CAA. Johnson received a bachelor’s degree in history and anthropology from Columbia University.