By Erin Pollack
On May 25th, Greenwich International Film Festival hosted its Changemaker Gala at L’Escale, honoring Lin-Manuel Miranda for the positive impact he has made around the world as a brilliant artist and as a devoted humanitarian. Proceeds from the Gala supported the Miranda Family Fund at the Hispanic Federation, which works to support institutions focused on underserved populations by providing opportunities for artists of color, Puerto Rico relief and recovery efforts, voter engagement, voter support, voter education, and raising awareness to critical issues in the United States.
Due to unforeseen circumstances, Miranda was unable to attend the event. Instead his father, Luis Miranda, and friend and colleague, late night show host Jimmy Fallon, attended in his place. Jenna Bush Hager served as Emcee of the Gala, presenting the award to Fallon whose enthusiastic participation included a chair jump, a heartwarming speech about Miranda and an impromptu performance of “Wild Thing.”
The talented band, MOJO, performed throughout the evening. Other memorable performances included “Dear Theodosia” from Hamilton by actor Jessica Darrow (Luisa, Encanto), and a Sondheim Medley from Into the Woods, by Warren Egypt Franklin (LaFayette, Thomas Jefferson on the National Hamilton tour). The evening finale included a conversation between Luis Miranda and actor Renee Elise Goldsberry (Angelica Schuyler, Hamilton), after which Renee surprised the audience with an astonishing performance of her Hamilton character’s hit song “Satisfied.”
The Gala featured a champagne toast from Moët Hennessy, fine red wine from Don Melchor, and a three course meal from L’Escale.
Thank you to Jenna Bush Hager for officiating the ceremony. Thank you to Jimmy Fallon and his team at NBC, who went above and beyond with their participation on such short notice.
Thank you to the talented MOJO, Jessica Darrow and Warren Egypt Franklin. Thank you to Luis Miranda and Renee Elise Goldsberry for sharing such personal stories with our guests.
Shortly following the Gala, on June 9th, GIFF hosted a private VIP cocktail reception with Lin-Manuel Miranda, which featured a Meet&Greet, special performances by Blessing Offor and MOJO, floral arrangements by J Bella Favors, champagne from Moët Hennessy, red wine from Don Melchor, beverages from Val’s, and a memorable talk back between Miranda and Sara Elisa Miller, Director of Philanthropy and Special Projects, Miranda Family Fund.
We are grateful to Miranda and Miller for taking the time to meet our VIP members, and for participating in a Q&A discussion about some of Lin-Manuel’s most recent work and how he navigated the pandemic while creating Tick, Tick, Boom!
GIFF is proud to have raised over $100,000 for the Miranda Family Fund at the Hispanic Federation. To learn more about the Miranda Family Fund at the Hispanic Federation and other supported charities by Lin-Manuel Miranda, visit: https://www.linmanuel.com/advocacy/
Thank you to our sponsors for this event: Moët Hennessy, Val’s Putnam Wines & Liquors, Moffly Media, J Bella Favors, Compass, JP Morgan, and MOJO who helped bring both parts together.
Special thanks to those who donated fabulous items to our VIP gift bags. GIFF Changemaker Gala guests enjoyed a variety of great items including Bridgewater Chocolates, autographed copies of Ruby Falls, complimentary classes at Soul Cycle & Punch, gift certificates for Richards, Nichols MD & Eleventy, Connecticut Office for Film, Television, and Digital Media journals, Compass hats, Greenwich Magazines, a special offer from The Lion Brasserie, JP Morgan tote bags, and a selection of products from Antedotum. Thank you to Val’s Putnam Wines for helping to create a fabulous bar for the reception, and to J Bella Favors for the floral arrangements.
Until next year! Follow us on social media to stay up to date on all of GIFF’s events this summer. @ greenwichfilm