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Coffee Talks

SVFF-2021-SVFI-Img-1

THE CROWN JEWEL OF THE FESTIVAL

Featuring SVFF honorees.  Some of the best and brightest in the industry.

STREAMING IN 2021

Coffee Talks are moderated one hour conversations with top industry talent sharing war stories about their journey and their craft. This year they stream on SVFF Streaming for the duration of the Festival.

2021 GUESTS

Vision Award Recipient

The Vision Award, pays tribute to industry icons who have provided the keen insight, influence and initiative needed to see their creative visions come to fruition.

Photo by Jason Bell

Gal Gadot

GAL GADOT serves as executive producer of National Geographic’s upcoming short-form documentary series IMPACT with Gal Gadot, which follows the powerful stories of six resilient young women around the globe who overcome obstacles and do extraordinary things.

Gadot is rapidly emerging as one of Hollywood’s most engaging and sought-after talents.  She debuted as Diana/Wonder Woman in the blockbuster “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice,” and in 2017, she starred again in the role in the first-ever “Wonder Woman” feature, which was the highest-grossing film of the season, taking in more than $820 million worldwide. 

For her role as Diana/Wonder Woman, Gadot won the Rising Star Award at the Palm Springs International Film Festival and the 2018 #SeeHer Award at the Broadcast Film Critics Association Awards. She also won the 2018 MTV Movie + TV Award for Best Fight and the 2017 Teen Choice Award for Choice Movie Actress: Action. “Wonder Woman” was honored with the spotlight award at the 2017 National Board of Review.

It was just announced that Gadot will star as Cleopatra in an upcoming film for Paramount Motion Pictures. The film will be produced by Atlas Entertainment’s Charles Roven, Patty Jenkins, Gadot and her Pilot Wave Motion Pictures partner, Jaron Varsano. It was also recently announced that Gadot is set to star in “Heart of Stone,” an espionage thriller developed by Skydance Media and directed by Tom Harper. Netflix has acquired worldwide rights to the film.  

In December, Gadot starred in and produced the highly anticipated sequel, “Wonder Woman 1984,” for Warner Bros. She will next be seen in Fox’s remake of “Death on the Nile” alongside Kenneth Branagh releasing on Sept. 17, 2021. She recently wrapped production on the Netflix action thriller “Red Notice,” in which she will star opposite Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Ryan Reynolds. The film will release in fall 2021. 

Gadot is set to produce “My Dearest Fidel” alongside Sue Kroll and Jaron Varsano. She is also in talks to star in the film which follows the untold story of how ABC journalist Lisa Howard became one of Fidel Castro’s leading American confidants. She will also star in and executive produce a Showtime series based on the life and career of Hedy Lamarr.

In 2019, it was announced that Gadot has formed a production company, alongside her husband, Jaron Varsano, titled Pilot Wave. The company will produce the historical thriller “Irena Sendler” in which she will star as the title character for Warner Bros. Additionally, Pilot Wave is developing a U.S. version of the hit Israeli series “Queens” with Endemol Shine North America. 

Training Day (Academy Award & SAG nominations); Before the Devil Knows You’re DeadBoyhood (Academy Award, Golden Globe, SAG, BAFTA nominations); Born to Be Blue; Maudie; Richard Linklater’s trilogy Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight (for which he received two Academy Award nominations as co-screenwriter); and 2018’s First Reformed, for which he won ‘Best Actor’ prizes from the Independent Spirit Awards, the New York Film Critics Circle, Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and Gotham Awards, among countless accolades. As a filmmaker, he most recently directed, co-wrote and produced the IFC Films’ Blaze, inspired by the life of Blaze Foley; and made his documentary filmmaking debut with Seymour: An Introduction, based on the legendary pianist and teacher Seymour Bernstein.

Hawke is a Tony-nominated stage actor, having appeared on Broadway five times, most recently in Sam Shepard’s True West; Tom Stoppard’s The Coast of Utopia; the title role in Macbeth; Henry IV; and The Seagull.  He has also appeared and directed Off-Broadway and regionally at BAM, the Steppenwolf, and many others.

Also a best-selling author, this year he released his first novel in 20 years, A Bright Ray of Darkness, published by Knopf in February 2021. His written works include the novels The Hottest State and Ash Wednesday, the children’s book Rules for a Knight, and the graphic novel Indeh. He will release his second graphic novel, Meadowlark, this summer.

Vision Award Recipient

The Vision Award, pays tribute to industry icons who have provided the keen insight, influence and initiative needed to see their creative visions come to fruition.

Photo by Sam Jones

Ethan Hawke

Ethan Hawke is a 4-time Academy Award-nominated actor, writer, and director whose career spans over three decades.

Most recently, Hawke made his television debut with the Showtime limited series, The Good Lord Bird, based on the National Book Award-winning novel of the same name by James McBride. He co-wrote, executive-produced and starred as abolitionist John Brown in the seven-part series, for which he has received Golden Globe, Screen Actors Guild Award, and Writers Guild Award nominations, as well as a citation from the AFI Awards as one of the ‘Television Programs of the Year’.

Hawke’s prolific filmography includes Dead Poets SocietyReality BitesGattacaTraining Day (Academy Award & SAG nominations); Before the Devil Knows You’re DeadBoyhood (Academy Award, Golden Globe, SAG, BAFTA nominations); Born to Be Blue; Maudie; Richard Linklater’s trilogy Before Sunrise, Before Sunset and Before Midnight (for which he received two Academy Award nominations as co-screenwriter); and 2018’s First Reformed, for which he won ‘Best Actor’ prizes from the Independent Spirit Awards, the New York Film Critics Circle, Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and Gotham Awards, among countless accolades. As a filmmaker, he most recently directed, co-wrote and produced the IFC Films’ Blaze, inspired by the life of Blaze Foley; and made his documentary filmmaking debut with Seymour: An Introduction, based on the legendary pianist and teacher Seymour Bernstein.

Hawke is a Tony-nominated stage actor, having appeared on Broadway five times, most recently in Sam Shepard’s True West; Tom Stoppard’s The Coast of Utopia; the title role in Macbeth; Henry IV; and The Seagull.  He has also appeared and directed Off-Broadway and regionally at BAM, the Steppenwolf, and many others.

Also a best-selling author, this year he released his first novel in 20 years, A Bright Ray of Darkness, published by Knopf in February 2021. His written works include the novels The Hottest State and Ash Wednesday, the children’s book Rules for a Knight, and the graphic novel Indeh. He will release his second graphic novel, Meadowlark, this summer.

Pioneer Award Recipient

The Pioneer Award, presented by Variety, is given in recognition of an industry innovator: one whose work on-screen or behind the camera embodies the trailblazing spirit.

Photo by Parris Whittingham

Shaka King

Shaka King is an auteur filmmaker with a body of work that spans the film and television arenas. King is the director, co-writer and producer behind the Oscar-nominated feature JUDAS AND THE BLACK MESSIAH, starring Lakeith Stanfield and Daniel Kaluuya. The film, which marks his studio feature directorial debut, centers on Illinois Black Panther Party Chairman Fred Hampton and his fateful betrayal by FBI informant William O’Neal. The feature was nominated for six Academy Awards, including specific nods for King for Best Original Screenplay, and a momentous Best Picture nomination – marking the first time an all-Black producing team has been recognized in this category. King and his co-writers were selected to receive WGA’s coveted Paul Selvin Award this year on behalf of their critically-acclaimed screenplay.  This historic win, which marked the first time the award has been given to screenwriters of color, recognizes the writers whose script best embodies the spirit of the constitutional and civil rights and liberties that are indispensable to the survival of free writers everywhere. King was also nominated for a PGA Award, as well as a WGA Award for Original Screenplay on behalf of the film, and Kaluuya won the Golden Globe Award and the Critics’ Choice Award for his performance. For television, King has directed multiple episodes of SHRILL for Hulu, and before that, was a writer and co-director on RANDOM ACTS OF FLYNESS for HBO. Previously, he directed multiple episodes of PEOPLE OF EARTH for TBS, as well as HIGH MAINTENANCE for HBO. He is the writer and director who won the coveted “Someone to Watch” honor at the Independent Spirit Awards on behalf of his feature directorial debut, NEWLYWEEDS, which premiered at Sundance in 2013. King currently resides in New York.

2020 Scheduled Guests

Eliza Hittman

Eliza Hittman is an award-winning filmmaker, born and based in Brooklyn, NY. Her latest film Never Rarely Sometimes Always premiered in the US Dramatic Competition section at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival where it received a special jury prize. The film had its international premiere in competition in the Berlin Film Festival and will be released by Focus Features this spring. Beach Rats, her second feature film, premiered in the US Dramatic Competition at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, where she won the Directing Award. It premiered internationally at Locarno in the Golden Leopard Competition and was the Centerpiece Film at New Directors / New Films. Beach Rats was released domestically by NEON Rated, and was a New York Times Critics’ Pick. It was the winner of the Artios Award for Outstanding Achievement in Casting, Outstanding Screenwriting in a U.S. Feature at Outfest, and the London Critics’ Circle Film Award for Young British/Irish Performer of the Year. In 2018, it was nominated for Best Cinematography and Best Male Lead at the Independent Spirit awards and a Breakthrough Actor Award for the Gothams Awards. Her micro-budget feature film It Felt Like Love premiered at Sundance in 2013 in NEXT and was a New York Times Critic’s Pick. She earned an MFA from California Institute of the Arts and is currently an Assistant Professor of Film/Video at Pratt Institute. She is the recipient of the Emerging Artist Award from Lincoln Center, and a 2018 Guggenheim Fellow.

Ford Pitch Fest and Producers Grant

SVFF and presenting sponsor Ford Motor Company are thrilled to announce a new grant to support the hardest working folks in the biz: producers. Three finalists will have the opportunity to pitch their film to a panel of award-winning producers, and one will walk away with a $25,000 Ford Producers Grant to take their project one big step closer to reality.

During this event, the three finalists will pitch their films before the Producers Panel, and SVFF audience. Attendees will get the chance to participate in this typically behind-the-scenes process, including a Q&A with both producers and finalists. The winner will be announced live at the end of the event.

2020 Producers Panel included Michael Burns, Heather Rae, Jim Burke, Effie T. Brown and will be hosted by Will McCormack.

Winston Duke

Winston Duke made his feature film debut in BLACK PANTHER, the highest-grossing film of 2018, as well as the third-highest-grossing film ever in the United States. Duke played the fan-favorite character M’Baku, leader of the Jabari Tribe and eventual valuable ally to King T’Challa.   

Later that year, Duke reprised his role as M’Baku in AVENGER’S: INFINITY WAR. 

Duke’s was most recently seen starring in Jordan Peele’s, US for he received an NAACP Image Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Motion Picture.

Duke’s upcoming projects include Peter Berg’s Netflix crime drama SPENCER CONFIDENTIAL, in which he costars with Mark Wahlberg.

Duke has received numerous accolades including the Breakout Award at the 2018 Savannah Film Festival and was highlighted as one of the top ten actors in Hollywood Reporter’s Next Generation issue.

Outside of acting, Duke is an advocate for the HeForShe movement and most recently issued a global call to action for gender equality during the United Nations HeForShe Impact Summit.

He also has joined the American Diabetes Association® to spark a national conversation about diabetes – a disease that impacts nearly half of the U.S. adult population.

A native of Trinidad and Tobago, Duke received his Bachelor of Arts in Theatre at the University at Buffalo and Master of Fine Arts at Yale School of Drama.