KONNECT: Diversity in Film

On Saturday, April 22nd, Local 481 partnered with The Secret Society of Black Creatives (SSBC), SAG-AFTRA, the Massachusetts Production Coalition (MPC), the MA Film Office (MFO), and other IATSE Locals to hold its annual KONNECT, Diversity In Film event, and by all accounts, it was a resounding success. With 300 people registered, the event was well attended and highly engaging.

Located in the beautiful Bruce C. Bolling Municipal building in Roxbury, MA attendees were treated to a variety of Industry presentations including Chris O'Donnell (Local 481 Business Manager), Vladimir Minuty (President & Director of the SSBC), Jessica Maher (Executive Director, New England Local - SAG-AFTRA), John Alzapiedi (Assistant Director of the MA Film Office) Nerissa William Scott (Emcee & CEO TCGT Entertainment) and Lisa Simmons (Co-Founder, RoxFilm).

There were roundtable discussions, and activities designed to showcase various aspects of the world of film, behind and in-front of the camera. Attendees also utilized the opportunity to connect directly with local members and their resource tables who were generous in providing valuable information, inspiration, and support. The participants learned more about local unions and networked with Industry leaders, and other aspiring professionals.

Perhaps the most impressive aspect of the event was the level of engagement demonstrated by attendees. From the opening keynote to closing, participants were actively involved in the proceedings, seeking insight, sharing their thoughts, ideas, and experiences with us.

This level of engagement is a testament to the passion and dedication of all the members who volunteered and their commitment to advancing their crafts and making the local a welcoming place for everyone. It is also a reflection of the hard work and dedication of the organizers and presenters, who did an outstanding job of creating an engaging and inspiring event.

Overall, the KONNECT was a huge success, connecting individuals from underrepresented communities with Industry Leaders, familiarizing them with the New England film and television industry, while showcasing some of the very best in the Local film community, Union, and Vendor participants alike. With its vibrant energy, inspiring presentations, and enthusiastic attendees, it was a powerful reminder of the vital role that IATSE plays in supporting and advancing a diverse and inclusive community.

Local 481 is committed to community outreach and to advancing the overall diversity within our Local and our industry as a whole. We hope to organize more events like this in the near future, creating a more diverse and inclusive film industry for all.

A huge shout out to all of the Local 481 members who generously donated their time and efforts to this important event:

Cassie Jenness

Lisa Nagid

Setha Phongsavan

Natalia Rozengard

Stephen Hartman

Peter Gonzales

Shane O'Halloran

Ben Heald

Kody Fraser

Eli Stevens

Angelica Beato

Jez Insalaco

Margaret Codola

Kimberly Durkin

Aaron Bouchard

Kimmie Johnson

Luke Bellamy

Catrin Evans

Rob Dew

Sophia Parella

A big thank you to our fellow IATSE Locals and their members who volunteered as well:

IATSE Local USA829 (Scenic Artists)

Danielle Butler

Kevin Sciotto (N.E. Business Rep)

Athena Parella

IATSE Local 161 (Prod. & Account.)

Kimmie Johnson

Feifei Ling

Victor Rieman

Victoria Durst

Katrina Morgan

Jill Reurs

IATSE Local 798 (Hair & Makeup)

Joe Duluude

Irene Hartmann (Field Rep.)

Barbara Roman

IATSE Local 600 (Camera)

Anna Nowlan (Business Rep.)

Keisha Simmons

Jill Tufts

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IATSE Local 481
10 Tower Office Park Suite 218
Woburn, MA 01801

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