Building Collaborative Startups: The Foundry Model - with Halle Berry
Academy Award-winning actress Halle Berry continues to break down barriers with a multitude of critically acclaimed, diverse roles and continued success at the box office. For her brilliant performance in MONSTER’S BALL, she won the Academy Award for Best Actress, as well as the SAG Award, the Berlin Silver Bear Award and was named Best Actress by the National Board of Review. No stranger to accolades, Berry earned the Emmy, Golden Globe, SAG and NAACP Image Award for her extraordinary performance in HBO’s telefilm, “Introducing Dorothy Dandridge,” which she also produced, and was nominated for a Golden Globe for “Best Actress” for her role in FRANKIE AND ALICE. Berry joined the prestigious list of actresses starring in the James Bond franchise with her role of “Jinx” in DIE ANOTHER DAY opposite Pierce Bronson, which also marked BOND’s 40th anniversary and one of the top five grossing BOND movies of all time.
Berry was recently seen in 20th Century Fox’s KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE starring alongside Taron Egerton, Channing Tatum, Colin Firth, Julianne Moore, Mark Strong and Jeff Bridges. The movie has made $401 million at the global box office to date. Last year, Berry also wrapped production on and starred in Deniz Gamze Erguven’s English-language directorial debut KINGS. The movie later premiered at the 2017 Toronto Film Festival and focuses on the 1992 Los Angeles riots that followed the acquittal of four police officers in the Rodney King case and is now set for a limited release on April 27, 2018.
Last summer, Berry starred in the Luis-Prieto directed thriller KIDNAP for Aviron Pictures. In the film, Berry, who also served as executive producer on the project along with her producing partner Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas for their production banner 606 Films, played a mother who will stop at nothing to save her abducted son.
In 2014, Berry reprised her role as ‘Storm’ in the summer blockbuster X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST. The film continued the franchise’s critical and commercial success, debuting at #1 at the box office. Berry also starred in the hit Sony Pictures thriller, THE CALL, in which she plays an emergency operator who must confront a killer from her past in order to save a girl’s life. Prior to that, she appeared in the Warner Bros. film CLOUD ATLAS alongside Tom Hanks, Susan Sarrandon, Hugh Grant, directed by Tom Tykwer and the Wachowski’s. The film, which earned Berry a 2013 NAACP Outstanding Actress nomination, follows six stories set in a different time and place that become intricately related to each other.
In 2007, Berry was seen in the drama THINGS WE LOST IN THE FIRE opposite Benicio Del Toro, for which she received critical praise for her portrayal of a widow who befriends her husband’s drug addicted, childhood friend after his untimely death. Also in 2007, Berry was seen starring opposite Bruce Willis in the box-office thriller, PERFECT STRANGER. In 2000, Berry appeared in the role of ‘Storm’ in the first installment of the X-MEN movie franchise. She later reprised the role for X2 in 2003 and X-MEN: THE LAST STAND in 2006.
Also in 2006, Berry received Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for her acting work in the Oprah Winfrey-produced movie THEIR EYES WERE WATCHING GOD, and as executive producer for the HBO telefilm “Lackawanna Blues.” In 2005, Berry also voiced the role of ‘Cappy’ in the 20th Century Fox animated hit, ROBOTS. She also starred in the psychological thriller GOTHIKA, which helped to cement her status as an international box office draw.
In her early years, Berry studied at The Second City in Chicago before continuing her acting education at The William Esper Studio in New York City. Critics and filmgoers first took notice of Berry in her feature film debut, Spike Lee’s JUNGLE FEVER. She went on to star opposite Warren Beatty in the socio-political comedy, BULWORTH. Her other film credits include LOSING ISAIAH opposite Jessica Lange, EXECUTIVE DECISION, the live-action version of THE FLINTSTONES, THE LAST BOY SCOUT, STRICTLY BUSINESS, BOOMERANG, opposite Eddie Murphy, and SWORDFISH with John Travolta and Hugh Jackman.
Other television credits include starring in and producing the Steven Spielberg produced ABC drama “Extant”, ABC mini-series, “Oprah Winfrey Presents: The Wedding,” directed by Charles Burnett, as well as the title role in Alex Haley’s mini-series, “Queen.” The latter performance earned Berry her first NAACP Image Award for Best Actress, as well as the Best Newcomer Award from the Hollywood Women’s Press Club. She also starred opposite Jimmy Smits in Showtime’s original telefilm, “Solomon and Sheba.”
Berry has garnered praise not only for her numerous leading roles, but for her work with a range of organizations. She is an active supporter and chair member of the Jenesse Center in Los Angeles. The Jenesse Center was founded in 1980 and assists victims of domestic violence and aims to change the pattern of abuse in the lives of women and children. She previously partnered with Michael Kors’ Watch Hunger Stop campaign and the United Nations World Food Programme to raise awareness for building a world with zero hunger. This partnership saw Watch Hunger Stop commit its global reach and resources to WFP’s goal of building “a world with zero hunger.” In support of this, Berry visited rural Nicaragua to raise awareness. Berry joined forces with Novo Nordisk and the Entertainment Industry Foundation to launch the Diabetes Aware Campaign and has supported a vast amount of charities and organizations such as, Revlon Run/Walk, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Afghanistan Relief Organization, Stand Up to Cancer, Love Our Children USA and Clothes Off Our Back.
Hamet Watt is a Board Partner at Upfront Ventures. He is also co-founder and Chairman of MoviePass, a subscription service for movies in theaters, as well as co-founder and former Chairman of bLife, a wellness innovation company acquired by Canary Health in 2015.
Previously, Hamet was an entrepreneur-in-residence at True Ventures, after exiting another company that he founded called NextMedium, which was acquired by Brand Affinity Technologies. Prior to founding NextMedium, Hamet advised Nielsen Media Research in the development of the first product placement measurement service for network and cable television. Hamet was also a General Partner in the New Africa Opportunity Fund — a $120 million venture capital fund, which was the first US-backed venture fund investing in post-apartheid South Africa.
A leader in both the Los Angeles and wider entrepreneurial communities, Hamet has received numerous awards for technology innovation and entrepreneurship — including a “Top 10 Black Innovators Award” — and was named by Business Insider Magazine one of 2014’s “46 Most Important African-Americans in Technology.” He is frequently noted in the national press for innovation in media and entrepreneurship and has been featured in publications including Entrepreneur, The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times and Forbes.