Roundtable: Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in French and American Cinema

Saturday, October 2, 2021
Livestreamed In Person and Online • In English
FIAF Tinker Auditorium

In this roundtable discussion, a panel of French and American filmmakers, producers, and talent managers will discuss diversity, equity, and inclusion in the film industries of both countries.

Co-presented with Collectif 50/50 (France).
Moderated by Claire Diao.


  • Laurence Lascary – Producer and Co-President of Collectif 50/50
  • Melissa Silverstein – Founder of Women and Hollywood
  • Yasmina F. Edwards – Founder of EGM NY
  • Yassine Qnia – Filmmaker (A Brighter Tomorrow)

Coffee, tea, and cookies will be served during the roundtable.

Duration: 60 minutes

Watch the Roundtable

About Claire Diao

Claire Diao is a French-Burkinabè film journalist and film critic.

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    • She founded the short film festival Quartiers Lointains in 2013, co-founded the Pan-African film critic magazine AWOTELE in 2015, and has been the CEO of the film distribution company Sudu Connexion since 2016. In 2018, Diao received the Beaumarchais Medal from the French Society of Dramatic Authors and Composers for her essay Double Vague, le nouveau souffle du cinéma français (Au Diable Vauvert, ed. 2017). She has appeared on the television channel Canal+ as the host of Ciné Le Mag and as a contributor to Le Cercle. Claire Diao is a member of selection committees for the Directors’ Fortnight Festival, the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival, Durban Talents (South Africa), and the short film category of the César Awards.

About Laurence Lascary

Producer and film executive Laurence Lascary gained industry experience at StudioCanal and UniFrance before launching her own production company in 2008.

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    • De L’Autre Côté Du Périph is dedicated to telling stories from working-class neighborhoods and underserved populations—contributions to French cinema that led to her being named Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite in 2018. Lascary also serves as co-president of the Collectif 50/50, which works to promote equality within the audiovisual industry; recently joined the Equality Committee of the French Ministry of Culture; and serves as administrator of the Foundation for the Memory of Slavery. Over 13 years, Lascary has produced 40 short films, five documentaries, and two feature films.

About Melissa Silverstein

Melissa Silverstein is the founder and publisher of Women and Hollywood, an initiative and website that educates, advocates, and agitates for gender diversity and inclusion in Hollywood and the global film industry.

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    • She is a speaker and consultant with extensive expertise in the area of women and Hollywood. She is the artistic director and co-founder of the Athena Film Festival at Barnard College which is a weekend of inspiring films that tell the extraordinary stories of fierce and fearless female leaders. In 2020, she launched the Girls Club – a community for women creatives, culture changers and storytellers to connect, create, network, advocate, support and redefine entertainment among one another.

About Yasmina F. Edwards

A French native of African descent who is passionate about the advancement of Africa, her experience defines her as a cross-cultural translator, brand and strategic partnerships expert, and capital raising adviser.

    • There is nothing conventional about Yasmina F. Edwards. A French native of African descent who is passionate about the advancement of Africa, her experience defines her as a cross-cultural translator, brand and strategic partnerships expert, and capital raising adviser. After graduating from Business School in Valence, France, she moved to New York, and worked with luxury brands for 15 years before founding EGMNY, a brand consulting firm active in creative strategy, talent management and production. Since EGMNY’s founding, Edwards has built a roster of award-winning, international talents, including musicians, film directors, and actors. She currently resides between New York, Los Angeles, Paris and Lagos, cities where she is developing a variety of original media projects, including a biopic and a TV series.

About Yassine Qnia

Yassine Qnia grew up in Aubervilliers, in the Parisian suburbs. A surveyor and topographer by trade, he discovered cinema in his local youth club.

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    • His short films Fais croquer, Molii, and F430 were selected for numerous French and international festivals, receiving several audience awards. He has continued his work on construction sites even as his career as a filmmaker and educator has taken off.