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Manager who makes stars turn to a cause

His day job is to manage a crop of Hollywood stars. Jonathan Rubinstein, however, believes in doing more than just that. He also involves them in a number of humanitarian causes.

Jonathan is presently in the city to speak at a conclave on raising awareness against trafficking. Organised by the American Center, the Trafficking in Persons conclave on Friday and Saturday seeks to address ways to prevent the menace. Jonathan will speak about celebrity participation and how it provides a massive leg-up to the cause.

Few people, perhaps, are better qualified than him to speak on the subject. He was responsible for getting America Ferrera, the star of the Ugly Betty TV series, involved in the fight against trafficking and prostitution.

He even brought the Golden Globe-winning actress to quietly camp in Calcutta for one-and-a-half weeks last May for a hands-on learning experience and to interact with children of sex workers in Kalighat.

“We were also filming one of the six segments of Half The Sky here,” said Jonathan.

Half The Sky is a book written by the husband-wife journalist duo of Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn about the oppression of women and girls in the developing world.

America and Jonathan came for the four-hour-long television series that is being made on the book.

“That [the section that was being filmed in May] is the section which will be screened at Mohor Kunj on Saturday evening. Kristof was here with us too,” said Rubinstein, who owns Authentic Talent and Literary Management and helps the celebs espouse various causes.

So what prompted America’s trip to Calcutta?

“Three years ago, when America was starting to get very well known in the US, I asked her, ‘What can we go out and do to make a positive impact?’” said Rubinstein. “She had started getting involved in politics and we also started working with the organisation Save The Children. We worked in the US, then toured West Africa and learnt how Save The Children was making a difference in the world of education there. She helped raise funds for a school through Facebook and Twitter. We raised $44,000 in an auction and a very small village in southern Mali has become a regional hub for education and made a difference to hundreds of children. America is interested in kids and women’s issues. So when my friend Jamie Gordon called to tell me she was producing a television film on Half The Sky, I knew America would want to do this.”

Jonathan has also involved, among others, Meg Ryan, Michael C. Hall (of Dexter), Peter Saarsgard (Dead Man Walking), Vera Farmiga (The Departed), Tom Hiddleston (The Avengers) in a host of causes — ranging from women and child issues to the fight against cancer.

“When we started in 2005, I wanted a nice place where people wanted to work and feel they’re making an impact. But it was only in 2008 that I could articulate that if the company was organised around that principle, we could make a much bigger difference,” said Jonathan, a dedicated supporter of the organisations Peace First, Save the Children, Landmark Education and New Light in Calcutta.