August 23, 2019

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Award-winning Actress Taraji P. Henson, Producer Dominique Telson, & Director Robin Bissell "Best of Friends" Live Stream @ Commonwealth Club
March 26, 2019

News Courtesy of Riki Rafner, Public Relations and Media Relations Director, San Francisco Commonwealth Club~~~

Press please note this program will be livestreamed at :


Please feel free to use excerpts from this  livestream crediting The Commonwealth Club of California.

Taraji P. Henson: The Best of Enemies



Taraji P. Henson, Actress; Author, Around the Way Girl

Robin Bissell, Director, The Best of Enemies; Producer, The Hunger Games; Producer, Seabiscuit

Dominique Telson, Senior Vice President of Development and Production, Astute Films


Taraji P. Henson: The Best of Enemies


Tuesday, March 26, 2019


5:30 p.m. check-in, 6:30 p.m. program


Commonwealth Club, 110 The Embarcadero, San Francisco, CA 94105


Members $20, Non-Members $35; Premium (includes  seating in the first few rows): Members $35, Non-Members $50; Students $10 (with valid I.D.)



Riki Rafner, Director of Media and Public Relations, (415) 597-6712, Media interested in attending should please RSVP or to Marisa Levine, INFORUM Director (415) 597-6719


Golden Globe-winning actress Taraji P. Henson, director Robin Bissell and producer Dominique Telson join INFORUM for a powerful conversation about the civil rights era and their new film, The Best of Enemies.


While the 1960s in the United States were rife with violent racial tensions, Durham, North Carolina is a crucial anchor in the history of the civil rights movement. From hosting the country’s first sit-in to various visits from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, the city is the birthplace of many unsung heroes in the movement, including Ann Atwater.


In 1971, civil rights activist Ann Atwater teamed up with an unlikely ally, KKK member C.P. Ellis, after a decade-long feud. Together, they shared a goal to reduce school violence and ensure peaceful desegregation.


Atwater’s story and her friendship with Ellis is finally being told for audiences around the world in the upcoming film The Best of Enemies, starring Taraji P. Henson. Henson rose to fame with powerful roles in the television show “Empire” and the films Hidden Figures and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. She, alongside director Robin Bissell (The Hunger Games, Seabiscuit) and producer Dominique Telson (SVP of Development and Production at Astute Films) will visit the Commonwealth Club to discuss the making of the film, Atwater’s incredible life and the immense power of finding a common ground with everyone.

ABOUT TARAJI P. HENSON: Taraji P. Henson is an Academy Award®-nominated and Golden Globe-winning actor, writer and producer, quickly rose to fame after her breakout performance in the critically acclaimed Hustle & Flow. Nominated for the Screen Actors Guild Award for “Outstanding Performance by a Cast,” the film also brought Henson BET’s “Best Actress” award.

Henson currently stars as Cookie Lyon in Fox Television’s hit musical drama “Empire,” which has brought her three Emmy nominations, a Golden Globe Award, a Critic’s Choice Award and three BET Awards. Prior to “Empire,” Henson had recurring roles on “Person of Interest,” “Boston Legal” and “The Division.” In 2017, Henson portrayed NASA mathematician Katherine G. Johnson in the Academy Award®-nominated film Hidden Figures. Henson and her fellow actors received the Screen Actors Guild Award for “Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture.” A Washington, D.C. native, Henson currently resides in Chicago.


ABOUT ROBIN BISSELL: Robin Bissell makes his debut as a screenwriter and feature film director after more than 20 years as a film producer. Bissell was based at Universal Pictures for 12 years as producer for writer-director Gary Ross. The filmmakers’ collaboration began before they settled in at the studio, with the Oscar®-nominated 1998 film Pleasantville, starring Tobey Maguire, Joan Allen and William H. Macy, and continued after they left with the release of Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games, starring Jennifer Lawrence in 2012. Bissell executive produced the 2003 Depression-era drama Seabiscuit for Ross, alongside Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall. Bissell came to Los Angeles in 1991 to pursue a career as a singer-songwriter and toured and recorded with his band for four years. He began singing at an early age and started writing songs while studying at the University of Maryland. He also spent a summer semester at Oxford University, studying English and theater. Raised near Philadelphia, he attended Germantown Academy, and was a member and president of The Belfry Club, the oldest high school dramatic society in the U.S. Bradley Cooper is also an alum of The Belfry Club at G.A.


ABOUT DOMINIQUE TELSON: Dominique Telson is a producer and SVP of Development and Production at Astute Films, LLC, the privately-funded motion picture financing and production company based in Los Angeles. The first project produced by Telson under the Astute Films banner is The Best of Enemies, starring Academy Award®-nominee Taraji P. Henson and Academy Award®-winner Sam Rockwell. Prior to joining Astute Films in 2015, Telson served as a consultant for Canadian producers Chesler/Perlmutter Productions. Prior to being an independent producer, Telson was the longtime Vice President of Original Programming for Showtime Networks where she oversaw the development and production of various award-winning and critically acclaimed Original Movies and Series featuring top talent including Robert Redford, Jamie Foxx, Dustin Hoffman, Mimi Rogers, Bernadette Peters, Michael Clarke Duncan, Ally Sheedy, Ed Harris and Ryan Gosling among others. Danny Glover’s Daytime Emmy Nominated directorial debut “Just a Dream” was guided by Telson. Telson was instrumental in the creation of Showtime’s Black Filmmaker Showcase, which featured short films from several previously unknown filmmakers such as Malcolm Lee, director of breakout hit Girl’s Trip starring Tiffany Haddish. In 2003, Telson received Multichannel News’ prestigious “Wonder Woman of the Year” award in recognition of her outstanding achievements as a leader in the television industry.


ABOUT INFORUM: Founded in 2000, the INFORUM division of The Commonwealth Club produces Bay Area events where attendees meet thought leaders in entertainment, tech, food, design, pop culture and politics. INFORUM produces individually curated events designed to provide their audience members with cutting-edge content and a hands-on educational experience. The organization hosts dozens of events each year, including headline interviews, happy hours, public forums, debate discussions, and post-program socials. Events typically sell out – from 250 person talks to keynote speakers who draw over 2,500 people. INFORUM was named San Francisco Magazine’s 2015 “Best of SF - Speaker Series.”


INFORUM’s Director Marisa Levine notes, “INFORUM audiences include some of the most interesting, inquisitive and connected young professionals in the Bay Area. Stay smart and current. Get off work and engage your brain for an hour before going out or going home.”


INFORUM VIP access goes beyond the Q&A’s and book signings to include exclusive receptions, dinners, demonstrations, games and prizes for many events.

For more information, visit



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