51Fest Kicks Off Opening Night with Kathy Griffin
51Fest, a partnership between Women in the World and IFC Center, opened their inaugural event last night with the New York premiere of Kathy Griffin: A Hell of a Story. Griffin was joined by Tina Brown, Founder and CEO of Tina Brown Live Media/Women in the World, for a post-screening conversation.
The film chronicles the life and career of award-winning comedian, actress, and author Kathy Griffin following the controversy in 2017 when an infamous photo of her holding a mask with President Trump's likeness went viral on a global scale. Within days, Griffin was fired, abandoned by friends, and soon became the subject of two federal investigations, ultimately having to defend herself under oath. Unbowed, Griffin created a new stand-up act, captured in this new docu-comedy, out of her life-rattling experience as a First Amendment warrior while she defiantly (and hilariously) represents all Americans in defending her right to free speech.
Following the premiere at SVA, Brown joined Griffin on stage for a post-screening conversation where they were greeted by the audience with a standing ovation. The women then participated in a lively discussion about the film, current political topics, and Griffin's personal growth.
Griffin shared: "That's why I'm grateful that through this experience, I am actually able to fold sort of like a different level of topics into my act and I've sort of become a political comedian but I've been a political junkie my whole life."
Brown noted that it took Griffin courage to stand up to the President, who Griffin now calls "rump." Griffin explained that "it's really easy" to punch back: "I've actually figured out after all this time, and I've known him for a long time off and on, and he is a typical bully in that when you step up to him he backs down like the bitch he is." She added: "Last time I saw him in person he actually hired me to roast him as an Apprentice challenge and as I was walking toward him he was going 'Uh oh, here she comes, I'm scared of her, don't be too tough on the hair' and I was like 'your nest will be fine.'"
This premiere marks the Opening Night for the first-ever 51Fest, a partnership between Women in the World and IFC Center. 51Fest is a festival celebrating THE VOICE and vision of the female majority through screenings and conversations, all by or about women. The result is compelling and original entertainment for everyone. Women make up more than half of our population, and 51Fest puts women where they belong: at the center of the story.