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Dear Black Filmmakers... Help Us Help You!

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act February 22, 2012 at 11:26AM

Dear black filmmakers - if I don't already know about you or your project, it certainly isn't because I'm not looking. Instead it's likely because you've never alerted me (whether via email or in person) to you or your work; or whoever is representing you isn't doing his/her job.
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Dear black filmmakers - if I don't already know about you or your project, it certainly isn't because I'm not looking. Instead it's likely because you've never alerted me (whether via email or in person) to you or your work; or whoever is representing you isn't doing his/her job.

So it's really in your best interest to contact me (obensont@gmail.com) to not only introduce yourselves, but to also make an effort to keep me abreast of your progress on whatever it is you're working on. I'll certainly do my part, and have done my part - I periodically make requests here, as well via S&A's social networking accounts on Facebook and Twitter, asking filmmakers to contact me if we've never covered them on this site. Does that mean I'm going to profile every single filmmaker and film I'm alerted to? Absolutely not. I still have to act as somewhat of a filter. However, at least, I'll be aware of you, and can add you to my "watch list." 

What inspired this post are the emails I get from time to time from filmmakers, or their producers, or reps, or filmmakers I meet in person during my travels, wondering why S&A hasn't written about them or their film(s). And more often than not, it's because we don't know about them or their films, and it's thus YOUR job to make sure that we do.

Assume nothing.

As an indie filmmaker in this century, you simply cannot afford to work in silence, hoping that your talent alone will suffice; doesn't work that way anymore (if it ever even did). There's still the business side of "show," and I'm glad to see that many of you are very well aware of that, and are utilzing the web (social networking sites especailly) to bring awareness to yourselves and your work.

Some of you are also relentless in ensuring that I'm kept abreast of your progress; a shout-out goes to those folks - you know who you are; even though I may not respond at all, or not respond right away, know that I'm paying attention and I'm aware, and I'm watching, so continue as you are.

A lot of work goes into discovering many of the new film projects you read about here, especially those that aren't in mainstream USA. You can really help that process by simply sending an email and introducing yourself and your work; that's it! 

Easy enough, right?

So why more of you don't do that is baffling to me. You certainly may have your reasons; BUT just don't email me, or approach me in person and question why I haven't covered you or your work on S&A. Or when I post my bi-annual S&A Black Filmmakers To Watch List, don't post a comment or email me *calling me out* for not including your name; Or when I post my Sundance 2013 predictions list later this year, don't email, telling me of a huge oversight on my part.

I have to know about you first! That's how it works, you see. And not only do I have to already know about you, but you need to keep me informed of your progress. I certainly reach out to some of you on occassion, asking for a status update on whatever it is you're working on, and some are forthcoming with the info, and others are not. C'est la vie. I do what I can with what I've got. I'm just asking that you help a brotha out. We're all in this together ya know

And contrary to popular belief, I don't bite... unless you ask me to :)

We cool?

I'll leave you with this video clip:

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