BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., Feb. 8, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- United Talent Agency (UTA) has cancelled its traditional Academy Awards party and will instead host a rally at its Los Angeles headquarters on the Friday afternoon of Oscar weekend. The gathering – "United Voices" – aims to express the creative community's growing concern with anti-immigrant sentiment in the United States and its potential chilling effect on the global exchange of ideas and freedom of expression. In addition to recasting its Oscar-related activities, UTA also announced it will donate $250,000 to the American Civil Liberties Union and the International Rescue Committee.
One of Hollywood's top talent agencies, UTA represents many of the world's most acclaimed figures in entertainment and media, across movies, television, digital, news, theater, video games, books, music and live entertainment.
The agency is witnessing the current controversy firsthand through the experiences of Academy Award-winning Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi, a UTA client. Although nominated for an Oscar again this year in the best foreign language film category for "The Salesman," Farhadi has announced he will forgo the trip to the United States for the ceremony due, in his words, to "the unjust circumstances" of the proposed U.S. travel ban from seven predominantly Muslim countries.
"This is a moment that demands our generosity, awareness and restlessness," wrote UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer in a letter to agency employees announcing the decision. "Our world is a better place for the free exchange of artists, ideas and creative expression. If our nation ceases to be the place where artists the world over can come to express themselves freely, then we cease, in my opinion, to be America."
The agency also launched a CrowdRise fundraising campaign to accept further contributions to the two groups from the broader creative community.
Zimmer noted the UTA board's unified enthusiasm and support. "When fear and division get the better of a society, artists are among the first to feel the impact—and to denounce the ill winds," Zimmer added. "With our words and our actions, the UTA family is speaking up for so many, including all artists and the vital global conversations they help lead."
UNITED VOICES RALLY
TIME: 3-5pm on Friday, February 24th (Oscar Weekend)
LOCATION: Outside UTA Headquarters
9336 Civic Center Drive
Beverly Hills, CA
PARTICIPANTS: Members of the Creative Community & Other Leading Voices
ABOUT UNITED TALENT AGENCY
United Talent Agency is a premier global talent and literary agency representing many of the world's most acclaimed figures in every current and emerging area of entertainment and media, including motion pictures, television, digital, broadcast news, legit theater, video games, books, music, and live entertainment. The agency is also globally recognized in the areas of film finance, film packaging, branding, licensing, endorsements and representation of production talent. UTA additionally provides corporate consulting, venture funding and strategic advisory services to companies ranging from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies. UTA operates the brand strategy agency UTA Brand Studio and owns market-leading broadcast news agency Bienstock.
SOURCE United Talent Agency