By Eric Greenberg
The Chairman and CEO of DreamWorks Studios will deliver the keynote speech at Friday night’s ninth annual Harvard-Westlake Film Festival.
Stacey Snider (Katie Jones ’15), who heads DreamWorks Studios with Steven Spielberg, has overseen such projects as the “Bourne” series, the “Fast and Furious” series, the “Mummy” series and several others.
“She is probably the most powerful woman in Hollywood,” said Visual Arts Department Chair Cheri Gaulke, who is the co-advisor of the film festival with Cinema Studies teacher Ted Walch. “We wanted her because she is such an amazing role model and will be able to provide insights for the filmmakers about what goes into bringing a film to audiences.”
Snider offered to help find a speaker for this year’s festival, but the committee assigned to find a speaker asked her to headline the event instead.
“This woman’s right at the heart of the business,” Walch said. “She has a reputation for really being able to get through a good talk.”
“Imagine if you were a young aspiring filmmaker and had someone like [Snider] sit in a theater and watch your film,” Gaulke said. “That’s an unbelievable opportunity for our young filmmakers.”
Each year, the festival features a guest speaker, who talks about his or her profession and achievements in the film industry.
Past speakers have included directors Paul Thomas Anderson, Jason Reitman ’95, Kathryn Bigelow and Guillermo Del Toro, and actors Tom Hanks (Chet ’09), Jake Gyllenhaal ’98 and Jamie Lee Curtis.
The festival will be held at the ArcLight Cinerama Dome in Hollywood and will feature a selection of films made by high school students all over California that were chosen by the festival committee.
The films are judged by a panel of professionals of the film industry, including actors Alfre Woodard, Peter Gallagher (Kathryn ’11) and Kevin Costner, who will choose the finalists and winners.
On Saturday, the Film Festival will host a “Day After,” which the filmmakers can attend a series of workshops taught by professionals in the movie business.
Gaulke said she is excited to have the opportunity to have Snider as their speaker.