THE BLOG

Variety's Purpose

06/15/2015 04:51 pm ET | Updated Jun 12, 2016

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Kirstin Wilder, Managing Editor, Variety

Q: What is the Purpose Summit about?
A: The Family Entertainment & Faith-Based Summit is dedicated to the growth of family entertainment and faith-based programming. It features leaders at studios, networks, digital media and brands who are succeeding in the family and faith-based entertainment space. Storytelling innovators also share what content is best connecting with today's audiences.

Q: Whose idea was it to start this?
A: It was the Variety team in conjunction with Rogers & Cowan who were brainstorming ways to work together. It wasn't a topic being addressed in the forefront of Hollywood and so we decided to change that. It is one of our consistently sold out events

Q: When people think of Hollywood, they don't usually think about films for the whole family. How are things changing in this regard?
A: As content distribution channels continue to proliferate, there is more and more content available for everyone. I think it is harder to parse through all the content to find the shows that fit an individual's critieria of "good content." I think TV and film have always had family friendly films available: think Walt Disney. I'm not sure we need thousands of choices, who has that kind of time to watch movies or TV? I just want to have quality, family-friendly projects to share with my kids that entertain as well as teach them the values I have in place for them.

Q: How many attendees are you expecting this year?
A: This is our 4th year for Purpose and we have 300 attendees which is a sellout at our venue the Four Seasons Beverly Hills at Los Angeles.

Q: What has been your role?
A: I have never shied away from proclaiming my faith and everyone at Variety knows I'm a Christian so I've always been the go-to church lady in the office. As managing editor of the newsroom, I'm able to add an editorial context to what is newsworthy when it comes to brainstorming our keynote speakers, deciding which panels to present and who should be invited to speak on the. Typically I'll moderate 1-2 panels on the day of the event. I'm very pleased that David Oyelowo agreed to be a keynote speaker this year, that was one of my ideas in our meetings early on.

Q: You are living out the values of this summit-you're from the Midwest. How did you end up in Hollywood?
A: Not sure you want to go down this path ... but I met a cute boy, got married and he wanted to move to LA, so we moved from Florida after stopping in Nebraska to get married. He left me after two years of marriage and we divorced three years after that. But I've stayed in Hollywood because of the job at Variety. I'm now happily married to a man I met at my church and we have two young daughters.

Q: Many perceive Hollywood to be an enemy of the values of the heartland. How do you feel about that? What kinds of changes would you like to see in Hollywood in the years ahead?
A: Hollywood is not the enemy. Hollywood is a powerful platform with incredible reach as well as responsibility to our society. I'd like to continue to see family-friendly films with positive messages perform well at the box office and in the ratings game so that Hollywood makes a concerted effort to continue making those projects. At the end of the day, it is all about the money.

Q: Do movies reflect the kinds of values you grew up around?
A: Certainly many of them do and those seem to be the films I'm drawn to most. However, I've learned a lot from watching movies that don't uphold those values. For me it is critical to watch all kinds of films to learn about the world around me and the people I don't come in contact with day to day.

Q: Why should somebody attend the Summit?
A: Someone should attend who wants to be able to take advantage of this growing entertainment genre - find out what types of content is breaking through, and learn more about the audiences that are attracted to faith-based and family programming.