Kennedy's most recent film "Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton" will kick off the Sarasota Film Festival this evening at the Sarasota Opera House.
The foyer at the Sarasota Yacht Club was packed March 31 as guests awaited a familiar face before the At Lunch with Rory Kennedy event.
"This is becoming a habit," Creative Director of the Sarasota Film Festival Michael Dunaway joked as he greeted Rory Kennedy before the Q&A portion of the luncheon.
Kennedy's most recent film "Take Every Wave: The Life of Laird Hamilton" will kick off the festival at 5:30 p.m. at the Sarasota Opera House tonight.
The two-time Oscar nominee and Primetime Emmy winner added another award to her list of accolades as she accepted the 2017 Impact Award from the Unites States National Committee for U.N. Women at the luncheon.
"I always have somewhat of a lens toward women in my films," Kennedy said.
Kennedy said after graduating from Brown University with a degree in Women's Studies, she was struck by the dearth of mechanisms to advocate for women.
"Doing it through storytelling was probably the best way," Kennedy said she concluded.
She went on to commend fellow filmmaker and Sarasota Film Festival attendee, Barbara Kopple, for the example she set with her Oscar-winning documentary "Harlan County U.S.A."
Kennedy said that film inspired her first documentary "American Hollow," which followed a woman and her 13 children living in Appalachia. The film was a raw analysis of poverty and incorporated issues such as domestic violence within the context of this Appalachian family — issues Kennedy said have compelled her throughout her life.
"(Women's) issues have been important to me my entire life," Kennedy said. "In fact, it's really why I got into filmmaking."