Glitterati Celebrate Jennifer Siebel Newsom Film at Graff SF

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Robert Atkinson, Seth Semilof, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Jennifer Siebel Newsom

Graff San Francisco sparkled more than usual during a Valentine’s cocktail celebration for the Sundance premiere of the Jennifer Siebel Newsom film The Mask You Live In on Feb. 11. The filmmaker and her husband, Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, were among the glitterati on hand, along with Haute Living publisher Seth Semilof, Graff San Francisco manager Robert Atkinson, Willie Brown, Sonya Molodetskaya, Todd Traina, Dr. Alan Malouf, Karen Kubin, Barbara Brown, Lorre Erlick, Elisabeth Thieriot, Peter Lago, Rosemary Baker and Brad Murray.

The Mask You Live In looks at the boy crisis in America and how we’re failing our boys,” Siebel Newsom told the group. She wrote, directed and produced the film that follows boys and young men as they struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating America’s narrow definition of masculinity.

“What our goal with the film is really about is expanding what it is to be a man for our boys, helping better model healthy, whole, positive masculinity for our boys and also helping our boys not to suppress their emotions and stay true to themselves,” she said.

During her speech, just as Siebel Newsom asked for staff members to raise their hands, her husband popped through the door and announced, “I’m staff as well.”

He certainly was last month at Sundance, where all five screenings sold out and received standing ovations.

“Gavin came with us to Sundance,” Siebel Newsom said, beaming. “Obviously he’s been a big supporter of our work. He conducted an incredible panel for us post the premiere of The Mask You Live In. You were awesome babe. It’s just been great to work with so many men who get that we have to make changes in society and who value women. Thank you honey. You’ve always been my biggest champion and my biggest researcher. I really appreciate that.”

Earlier this week, Siebel Newsom was in Chicago for a screening of her film. “From Sundance to the Chicago screening, the response has been really beautiful,” she said. “The film is very deep. It’s raw. it’s painful for some but it’s inspiring really because it’s a call to action that we’re all in this together.”

Maria Shriver signed on last week as executive producer and the film will premiere in the Bay Area in March. The filmmaker is in talks with ESPN about a partnership and in the fall plans to team up with youth leaders, ambassadors and organizations. Siebel Newsom is hopeful the flick to travel a similar path as her 2011 Sundance documentary Miss Representation, which explores how the media’s misrepresentations of women contribute to the underrepresentation of women in positions of power and influence. That film was sold to the Oprah Winfrey Network and has been in all 50 states as well as 50 countries.

The women’s advocate is founder of The Representation Project, a call-to-action campaign and media organization established to shift people’s consciousness, inspire individual and community action and ultimately transform culture so everyone, regardless of gender, age or circumstance can fulfill their potential.

“If you watched the Super Bowl recently,” she said, “we’ve been very successful with our ‘Not Buying It’ campaign and we’ve actually been credited for transforming the representations of women in advertising during the Super Bowl.”

In her newest campaign, Ask Her More, actresses such as Jennifer Aniston, Julianne Moore and Nicole Kidman are “standing up to media personalities on the red carpet and saying, ‘I’m not just a pretty face. There’s more than what I look like. I’m a fully-realized human being.’ And it’s great. We’re in the business of awakening people’s consciousness, shifting the brain and ultimately transforming culture. You do that by getting to the root of what is holding people back and what is putting people into strait jackets that they’re conforming to these societal norms that aren’t necessarily healthy.”


 Photos: Drew Altizer Photography and Kelly E. Carter

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