Chrysalis held its annual Butterfly Ball gala in Los Angeles on Saturday evening, honoring both Lionsgate Motion Picture Group chairman Joe Drake and president Nathan Kahane, as well as UTA co-head of talent Chris Hart. Just days after the writers’ strike ended, and with SAG-AFTRA still on strike, Ike Barinholtz was quick to poke fun at the current atmosphere as he presented Drake and Kahane with their honors.
“This is one of the first events in the city where we celebrate the end of the writers’ strike,” Barinholtz told the crowd at the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles to loud applause. “As a proud WGA member, I just want to say that I see a lot of people in this room who work at studios and streamers, and I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to you for the pickpocketing. It was a joke, just a big joke, and as I pitch TV shows and movies in the coming weeks and months, remember that I apologized tonight.”
Chrysalis is a nonprofit organization focused on services that resolve and prevent homelessness, offering a job readiness program, individualized support services and paid temporary employment to people facing barriers to employment. On a more serious note, Barinholtz praised Lionsgate executives for “giving so many people their first break in this business, and they always take risks with people and give them the help and support they need to succeed,” adding admits: “They are just as good people as they are film producers.”
Taking the stage after a video montage of virtual congratulations from Will Ferrell, Kerry Washington and Robert De Niro, Drake said: “Nathan and I have spent the past decade supporting organizations focused on creating lasting generational change down to one individual. at the same time. Like everyone in this room, we want to support organizations that give hardworking people a boost to improve their own lives, when circumstances make it almost impossible to do so – Chrysalis is one of those extraordinary organizations.”
Terry Crews, who served as emcee that evening, spoke about his own personal connection to the cause, as he struggled to land his next job in entertainment after retiring from the NFL. Eventually he signed up with a temporary employment agency, which sent him a job as a floor sweeper in a factory.
“I felt devastated, but something else happened that allowed me to reshape my thinking little by little,” Crews said. “At the end of the day I could put gas in the car and put food on the table. I went to sleep exhausted, but woke up ready to take charge of my life. Last year, more than 1,700 people worked in a transition job at Chrysalis.” One of the organization’s successful alumni, Stephanie Jeffcoat, received the John Dillon Award at the event.
One of the other big honorees of the evening was Hart, who received his award from longtime customer John Cho. “What set him apart from the very beginning was a strategic understanding of the bigger picture. As an actor, I tend to get bogged down in the details – some important, some trivial,” Cho said in his speech. ‘Chris, on the other hand, has the gift of rising above a given situation and making visible causes and consequences for outcomes that I have not yet thought about. Sometimes it feels like I have a handful of puzzle pieces in my hands, while he has the box with the whole picture on the front.”
“There’s a really big brain underneath that perfect haircut,” the actor teased, before showing a video with messages from Nick Jonas, Common, Queen Latifah, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Ryan Seacrest, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sebastian Maniscalco, Xolo Maridueña and several of UTA executives, including CEO Jeremy Zimmer.
Hart accepted his honor and talked about the sudden loss of his father when he was 21. “I was brand new to the entertainment world, working in the mailroom at this big talent agency, scared, unsure of myself, and unsure of what would come next. But I had a handful of people who really believed in me, people who gave me a chance and helped me grow into the person I am today,” Hart said. “Since then, I’ve thought a lot about who I wanted to be, and not just what I do for a living. I hope I will always be someone who pays it forward, someone who helps others grow in my workplace and contributes to organizations like Chrysalis.”