Empower hosts Mattel producer


Printed with permission of Ella Jacobs

EMPOWERMENT IN ENTERTAINMENT: Mattel Executive producer Robbie Brenner poses with Empower leaders Eliza Koblentz ’23, Lauren LaPorta ’23, Illi Kreiz ’24 and Ella Jacobs ’24 after the panel.

Sara Segil

HW EMPOWER, a female advocacy club, hosted Academy Award-nominated filmmaker Robbie Brenner for a panel Dec. 8.

Brenner produced “Dallas Buyers Club” in 2013, which earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Picture. Since joining Mattel Films in 2018, she has worked on films such as “Call Jane” and is currently working on “Barbie,” set to be released in July 2023.

Brenner shared her career progression and gave advice on how to develop a career in the industry.

Brenner said this newest iteration of Barbie has become more inclusive.

“Barbie unpacks her own agenda with not being the stereotypical beautiful Barbie doll,” Brenner said.  “But the movie debunks all of [those stereotypes] and it’s very satisfying.”

Brenner said Mattel Films hired a strong team, including director Greta Gerwig, who is known for her work on Little Women and Ladybird, and helped develop and grow the film’s concept.

“We could’ve made a predictable, warm version of Barbie, but that’s not what we wanted to see,” Brenner said. “If you can’t make fun of yourself and be unapologetic, what are you making art for?”

EMPOWER leader Eliza Koblentz ’23 said the panel was an exciting opportunity to learn more about the film industry through a female perspective.

“She has made a large mark on the filmmaking industry, and is a perfect example of a strong female leader,” Koblentz said. “She is an inspiration to not only filmmakers, but also people who hope to use their careers as an opportunity to make an impact.”

Tiffany Wang ’25 said she expected the panel to just be about “Barbie,” but it contained much more powerful messages.

“Brenner’s story of rising in her industry despite challenges was really aspirational,” Wang said.