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Dear Black Filmmakers... Help Us Help You!

by Tambay A. Obenson
February 22, 2012 11:26 AM
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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 ( 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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  • BKFILMS | March 1, 2012 9:22 AMReply

    There are many of us who have reached out and have not gotten a reply. My assumption was that the black film community needs to be validated by a "reputable" festival prior to S&A being interested as well, and oftentimes, even after this has happened, (as in with my films), there's still no reply. So after weeks and months of emailing you, and there not being a reply, what is one to do?

  • Anonymous | March 1, 2012 9:22 AMReply


  • Nina McAlpin | February 27, 2012 8:51 PMReply

    This is for every independent filmmaker who has a film and wants it to be seen. Use our platform to show your work to the world. At our goal is to empower the independent media community. It costs nothing to post your content on our site. Sure you can submit your film to the numerous independent film festivals and hope for the best. You can also post yout film with us and have a global audience instantly. It also gives Tambay another place to view even more films to review, if he wants. As he said. We want your hard work out there. ATTENTION ALL INDEPENDENT FILMMAKERS: SEND YOUR FILMS TO : For all the world, and Tambay to see.

  • Cyril | February 27, 2012 12:23 AMReply

    Tambay, I did send you an email a couple weeks ago...still waiting for a reply...

    You're right, we truly can only triumph as a community.

  • Cyber1 | February 26, 2012 3:25 PMReply

    Black movie goers should start supporting their own, Independent filmmakers like Dwayne Buckle and others who write, produce and distribute their own films that include other facets of the black cultural experience, not just relying on tyler Perry-esce scenarios as a benchmark of black culture.
    Filmmakers like Buckle often go unnoticed and unsupported because they operate outside of the Hollywood mainstream, coincidentally this is the only way we can control ownership of our history culture and future.

  • Clayton | February 24, 2012 2:07 PMReply

    "a shout-out goes to those folks - you know who you are; even though I may not respond at all" ... This is a joke, right? You're not serious here, are you?

  • Clayton | February 27, 2012 2:09 AM

    AMEN @ SMH!

  • SMH! | February 26, 2012 2:11 AM

    Exactly! I felt the same way. When we work together as a community, we respect each other. And that includes COMMUNICATION. If you could at least respond with "received" "will follow up" and push to maintain communication that would be productive. There is no time to create division or use petty deciding factors to weed people out.

    Also what type of filter are you using?
    Let's revisit the mission and work harder to achieve it and go beyond.
    Follow up = care= respect=better community.

  • Jon Lesane | February 22, 2012 2:14 PMReply

    Awesome! Great motivational post. Keep up the great work

  • Nadine | February 22, 2012 12:26 PMReply

    Tambay, good stuff. A good friend of mine has been pulling her hair out looking for good Black films - filmmakers. She wondered if some of the film fest. restrictions keep artists from posting their work publicly. I don't know, but you're doing a great service.

  • sharome jordon | February 22, 2012 12:03 PMReply

    Awesome good looking out man.

  • Jemma | February 22, 2012 12:00 PMReply

    Except if we email you a few times and do not hear back, we assume you are not interested and stop :). Very think line between persistence and stalking.

  • Cyril | February 27, 2012 12:24 AM

    Amen to that!

  • Clayton | February 24, 2012 2:08 PM


  • Donella | February 22, 2012 11:54 AMReply

    So good to us, Tambay. :-)

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