21CF Corporate

naacp image awards taraji henson janelle monae octavia spencer

21st Century Fox businesses took home a collective 11 trophies from the 48th NAACP Image Awards on February 11, scoring wins for acting and directing on film and television projects such as Empire, Atlanta, The People v. O.J. Simpson, This Is Us, and Hidden Figures. The ceremony, which celebrates the accomplishments of people of color across the media landscape, was broadcast live on TV One and was hosted by Anthony Anderson.

A complete list of 21CF businesses wins is as follows:

  • Outstanding Motion Picture – Hidden Figures (20th Century Fox)
  • Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture – Taraji P. Henson, Hidden Figures
  • Outstanding Television Movie, Limited Series or Dramatic Special – The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story (FX)
  • Outstanding Directing in a Dramatic Series – John Singleton, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
  • Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Limited Series or Dramatic Special – Courtney B. Vance, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story
  • Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series – Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us (20th Century Fox Television)
  • Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series – Taraji P. Henson, Empire (FOX)
  • Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series – Jussie Smollett, Empire
  • Outstanding Directing in a Comedy Series – Donald Glover, Atlanta (FX)
  • Outstanding Song (Traditional) – Kim Burrell and Pharrell Williams, “I See a Victory,” Hidden Figures soundtrack
  • Outstanding Literary Work (Nonfiction) – Margot Lee Shetterly, Hidden Figures

“There are roles you accept that scare you. And this one did because I failed math,” Henson said during her acceptance speech for her role as Katherine G. Johnson in Hidden Figures. “I made it my mission to do this film. This film was very important. It was bigger than me.”

Both Hidden Figures and The People v. O.J. Simpson were the focus of recent social impact campaigns. Hidden Figures has become a rallying cry for diversity in STEM, screening at the White House in December and serving as the basis for the Search for Hidden Figures scholarship contest last fall. 21CF also partnered with the LA Promise Fund to screen the film for nearly 10,000 young women in LA middle and high schools. Last year, the company took The People v. O.J. Simpson on a screening tour of HBCU campuses around the country.

21CF received 34 total nominations, including nods for FOX’s Lethal Weapon and Pitch, National Geographic’s StarTalk with Neil deGrasse Tyson, 20th Century Fox Television’s Fresh Off the Boat and The Carmichael Show, and Fox Searchlight’s The Birth of a Nation.

"The Image Awards is the premier showcase for art and advocacy reflecting the depth and diversity of the African-American experience," said Cornell William Brooks, President and CEO, NAACP. "It is an American prism through which we see a breadth of culture and color reflected in film, television, music, and literature in ways that reveal our shared humanity. At a moment when America is so divided, the Image Awards represents an hour that brings us together.”

Learn more about this year’s NAACP Awards, and view the full list of winners.


Gavin Grimm talks to Couric about his story and having his case heard by the Supreme Court

The two-hour National Geographic special, Gender Revolution: A Journey with Katie Couric, celebrated its world premiere at the New York Times Center on Thursday, February 2. The documentary accompanies National Geographic’s January issue, which dives into the world’s rapidly changing beliefs about gender in 2017.

Gender Revolution approaches the conversation of gender through lenses of social relations, brain chemistry, cultural norms and personal experience. Couric’s interest in gender identity arose three years ago, when her daughter came home from college and mentioned that new classes began with each student sharing their name and preferred gender pronoun. “I thought there was so much important information behind the headlines, the tweets, the articles—and I wanted to take a step back to see if it all indicated a shift in our thinking and really roll up my sleeves to connect the dots,” said Couric at Thursday’s premiere.

Gavin Grimm is a high school senior and transgender male whose story is one of the many featured in the film. Two years ago, Gavin’s school ruled that he wouldn’t be allowed to use the boys’ bathroom despite identifying as a boy—the case made its way up to national debate and will now be heard by the Supreme Court in the spring. “I’m excited for the humanization that this documentary will bring to the trans community, because for a lot of people, it’s still just an abstract concept…There’s not a lot of representation of trans people in television or other forms of media…so I’m hoping it will bring a clear look at who trans people are,” says Gavin.

The film premiere was followed by a panel of notable experts, doctors, and activists, including Hari Nef, the first openly transgender woman to sign a global modeling contract, and Georgiann Davis, professor of Sociology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, both of whom were featured in the documentary. The panel was moderated by Susan Goldberg, editor-in-chief of National Geographic.

Gender Revolution is produced by Katie Couric Media with National Geographic Studios, premieres on National Geographic television on Monday, February 6 at 9pm Eastern, and will air around the world in 171 countries and 45 languages. In partnership with Picture Motion, National Geographic will also be hosting free screenings of Gender Revolution at high schools, colleges, and nonprofits around the country.

Watch the trailer now:  


Fox Filmmakers Lab Class

Fox and the American Film Institute have selected 25 of the most dynamic new voices in Hollywood to participate in the Fox Filmmakers Lab, a mentoring program designed to increase the number of female directors working in the industry. The group consists of alumnae of the AFI Conservatory and the AFI Directing Workshop for Women, and the Lab will allow each of them to develop a short film concept based on Fox’s franchise titles, such as Alien, Planet of the Apes, Predator and more, providing the necessary experience to work on more major studio films as they progress in their careers.

“The dearth of female directors is not a matter of passion or talent,” said 20th Century Fox Film Chairman and CEO Stacey Snider when the partnership was announced in September. "Instead, it's often a question of access and resources. We're excited to offer these to talented women filmmakers who then can build upon this practical work experience."

The directors will spend the spring working closely with 20th Century Fox to develop their material and eventually pitch franchise or reboot ideas to Fox executives. The studio will then choose one or more of the filmmakers to make their concepts into short films. The program allows participants to gain critical experience in the action and science fiction genres, in which female voices are often underrepresented, clearing the way for future work on large-scale studio productions.

The filmmakers will be able to add the projects to their portfolios and pitch Fox feature films unrelated to the shorts in the future.

“AFI believes that the future of this American art form is a true symphony of voices,” said Bob Gazzale, AFI President and CEO. “This landmark collaboration with Fox [will] impact the art and entertainment landscape in a profound way.”

The partnership with AFI continues a long tradition across 21st Century Fox entertainment businesses to support and develop the next generation of storytellers, particularly those from communities traditionally underrepresented in the film and television industry. The company has launched several programs to bring new voices to light in Hollywood, including the Global Directors Initiative and the FOX Writers Intensive, and is a key partner of Ghetto Film School, a nonprofit that teaches filmmaking to diverse young students in historically underserved communities in New York and Los Angeles.

Learn more about the Fox Filmmakers Lab, including the full list of AFI alumnae selected.


X Files Styrofoam UFO

On the latest episode of the GreenBiz 350 podcast, GreenBiz executive editor Joel Makower interviewed 21st Century Fox’s VP of Social Impact Vijay Sudan about the company’s efforts to green its film and television productions. Vijay spoke about the studio’s recent production achievements, such as 24: Live Another Day’s success at becoming the first TV series to use 100% FSC-certified lumber for set construction, as well as the company’s ongoing efforts to manage waste.

“There’s a baseline of behind-the-scenes work that has continued for decades,” he said. “As we move forward from looking at our energy and carbon issues, we’re really looking at what goes into a production and what the environmental impacts are... we’re looking at waste issues and how we responsibly dispose of those materials and reuse them.”

Listen to Vijay’s full interview, which includes looks at how The X-Files event series was able to recycle “dirty” Styrofoam, the wardrobe department’s reuse policy, and House’s donation of the doors from its hospital sets to Habitat for Humanity.


Liba Rubenstein

Corporate responsibility consultant and writer Susan McPherson spoke with industry leaders across multiple business sectors in a January 19 article for Forbes about the trends in CSR they see for the year ahead. Liba Rubenstein, 21CF's newly appointed SVP of Social Impact, was among those interviewed, and she discussed the business world's unique capacity to bring about social change, as well as the importance of clear, captivating storytelling to a successful CSR strategy:

"The world's most respected companies focus not only on doing meaningful, measurable work in their communities, but also on telling compelling, multidimensional stories about who they are and why Social Impact is core to their identity," she said. "They're also taking advantage of exciting mediums like virtual reality (VR) to increase empathy and understanding. A dry CSR report isn't going to move the needle anymore - we all have to be storytellers."

See more of Liba's interview, as well as insights from CEOs, CSOs, authors and more.