Reel Works 2019 Gala

April 2019. New York, Capitale

Empire recently partnered with again to produce their 2019 Gala, honoring the Change Makers whose accomplishments help young film and media makers envision a future where their voices are heard, and their stories matter. Reel Works is one of the nation’s leading media and filmmaking not for profits, matching teens 1:1 with professional filmmaker-mentors to help them build vital skills of literacy, leadership, and self-confidence.

This year's gala celebrated the passionate and diverse individuals pioneering change in the industry by honoring four Change Makers: comedian, actor, and television host of Netflix’s Patriot Act, Hasan Minhaj; Academy Award-winning costume designer for Black Panther, Ruth E. Carter; President of Will Packer Productions, James F. Lopez; and Worldwide CEO of Grey Group, Michael Houston. A special announcement also highlighted the support from Netflix and the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment to create diverse training programs for Reel Works students.

The evening began with a guest reception in the historic Capitale, adorned with Corinthian columns, Venetian glass, marble mosaic floors, and 65-foot vaulted ceilings. After guests enjoyed cocktails and passed hors d’oeuvres, they made their way into the ballroom for the program and dinner.

Empire managed the stage program working with Reel Works and the evening’s host, Nore Davis. Davis is a stand-up comedian and actor, who has appeared on Last Week Tonight, Conan, 2 Dope Queens, Inside Amy Schumer, and Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Together with moving testimonials by Reel Works students, and presenters such as Prashanth Venkataramanujam, Emmy-nominated writer and Executive Producer and Co-creator of Patriot Act; Da’Vine Randolph, Tony-nominated actress and singer; and Steve Pamon, President & COO of Parkwood Entertainment, we were able to highlight the work of honorees, Chair members, and students.

The enthusiastic Charles Antin took the stage as the live auctioneer, helping to raise more than $350,000. The evening wrapped with the F. John Outcalt Award for Outstanding Filmmaking winner announcement, awarding Faith Mora and her film, My Coming Out Story, out of 5 outstanding young finalists.

Event sponsors included Empire Entertainment, HBO, Viacom, Samsung, Will Packer Productions, Sloss Eckhouse Law, Netflix, Grey Advertising, and Bloomberg Philanthropies among others.

Empire is proud of our continued partnership with the Reel Works organization.

If you are interested in learning more about Reel Works, or would like to explore engaging Reel Works Productions for a project, please visit:

Newsletter Sign up