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Rethinking The Annual Shadow & Act Black Filmmakers To Watch List (FYI)...

by Tambay A. Obenson
August 31, 2012 1:25 PM
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Poster: "The Realization of a Negro's Ambition" (1916)

It's exciting to know that there's a lot of interest in the annual Shadow & Act Black Filmmakers To Watch list I created in 2009, if correspondence I've received (especially recently) is of any indication.

And all the attention encouraged me to rethink how we approach the list in 2012 and forward. So, starting this year, two key changes that you all need to be aware of:

- First, say goodbye to the once-every-12-months list of 10 to 20 filmmakers, and say hello to what will be an ongoing series, profiling black filmmakers who we feel deserve individual spotlights. Each week, we're introduced to the works of black filmmakers (and we're considering the entire diaspora, not just black American filmmakers) that impress us enough, suggesting the idea that something continuous, throughout the year, makes more sense, than publishing a single list annualy. We want to highlight as many filmmakers as we can, especially in this climate that sees only a handful of *black films* every year that enjoy anything close to broad awareness; and also, in part, to combat the notion that there isn't enough variety in what stories we can tell, and how we choose to tell them. I think we get so distracted and depressed about what we don't have, that we tend to forget to appreciate those who are toiling away in creative silence/obscurity. And I realize it's best to show who/what else is out there that we don't already know about en masse, or that we do know about, but, for one reason or another, aren't paying as much attention to, as we probably should.

- Second, unlike previous years, our emphasis will be on relatively unknown filmmakers; our goal is to highlight those filmmakers who are producing work (whether still in film school, making short films, or veterans who've been making films for years, and everything between), but just haven't quite yet been *discovered* if you will (of course that's a loaded word, because it could mean any number of things, to any number of people; but instead of listing specific criteria, I'll just let the posts speak for themselves); but, essentially, filmmakers we believe are creating interesting work, who haven't received much attention, and who we believe you all should definitely know about (if you don't already). There's a reason why I've repeatedly requested that filmmakers we haven't covered, contact us, and introduce themselves and their work; it's so that we can get to know you, and your work, for this purpose (and others). I continue to encourage that STRONGLY! As I've said before, we try to stay as connected and informed as we can; however, we don't know of every single black filmmaker and every single black film in circulation, every year. We rely on you folks to assist in providing some of that knowledge as well.

That's it! The two key changes to the S&A Black Filmmakers To Watch List.

So now you know. 

Starting next week, look for these individual "Black Filmmaker To Watch" profiles, and hopefully you'll learn about black filmmakers from all over the world you didn't already know about, that we think you should know about, or filmmakers you do already know about, but we want to make sure you don't forget.

Again, I encourage filmmakers to contact us, introduce yourselves if you haven't already; let us know who you are, and let's see some of your work.

Happy weekend!

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  • Tiffany | September 10, 2012 11:54 PMReply

    This is GREAT! I LOVE this site. It always keeps me informed about filmmakers all over the world across the diaspora. I checked out an NYU exhibit on Black Women Writers and came across this filmmaker "Dominga Martin" I think she's one to watch. Are you familiar with her work? She's getting ready to direct her first feature film. I always get excited for women directors because there's not many of them! Her music video with The Floacist & Musiq Soulchild is DOPE! I think her Director introduction is FIRE! Very inspiring. Hope to see her on your pages soon!!! Wish there were enough Girl Directors that you can just have a featured section. Maybe Women's History Month!!!

  • Tracee | September 4, 2012 11:50 AMReply

    Are you familiar with CaribbeanTales, the distributor for Caribbean films and filmmakers? I think I remember reading something about one of their films' "The Story of Lovers Rock" on this site. They're having a film festival in Toronto from Sept 4-15, I'd love to read your reviews on some Caribbean centered films!

  • Adam Scott Thompson | September 4, 2012 10:00 AMReply

    Thanks, Tambay.

  • Chico Colvard | September 2, 2012 8:57 AMReply

    I think an exciting resource for cultivating emerging and established black filmmakers is Firelight Media headed up by Stanley Nelson. Also see (if you haven't already) the multi-talented Terence Nance and his terrifically smart and entertaining film, "An Oversimplification of Her Beauty."

  • Jasmin | September 4, 2012 10:51 AM

    Thanks Chico, we're very aware of Terence and the Firelight Media filmmakers. If you check out some of our previous posts you'll find that we've written extensively on both. Cheers

  • Ali | September 1, 2012 6:25 PMReply

    Already sent an email, introducing myself and links ot my work hope they are pleased. Strive to be a legend at your craft.

  • Giotto | August 31, 2012 11:23 PMReply

    This is Great Tambay, Excited about the "Shadowed Storytellers" out there...As as programmer there's only so much we can showcase but TALENT is out there & it's imperative to cast that light of awareness to their work. I just hope you keep to your word and don't just showcase/mention a few folks then let the topic die out... Please Please Keep at it!!

  • WHOCARES | August 31, 2012 6:23 PMReply

    Good idea. Lookin forward to the new format.

  • justsaying | August 31, 2012 2:11 PMReply

    I like this idea of weekly filmmakers to watch because it is something your readers can anticipate and follow. I am a bit nervous lol when you say you will introduce black filmmakers that impress you enough...I still feel there is a strong chance some filmmakers may be overlooked if we hold to specific to remove that filter. I look forward to reading these posts.

  • justsaying | August 31, 2012 7:46 PM

    @WC, keep it moving. @CareyCarey, attack really? I wasn't hoping it to be viewed as such...I know there are countless people who consider themselves filmmakers and submit their work. But my focus remains on films that impress him vs all the films that can potentially make an impact or interest some of the readers here... So the "specific taste" I'm talking about is *his taste* not trying to spoil anything, but that room for wonder does tickle my nerves. Like I said, I look forward to reading these posts.

  • CareyCarey | August 31, 2012 6:59 PM

    @ Justsaying, I don't know what's behind your frequent coughattackscough of Tambay, but you have to understand or consider the fact that there's probably hundreds of individuals who consider themselves as filmmakers. And thus, it's safe to say they all have products that they would like to promote. However, it's only natural... and incumbent upon Tambay, that he use his time and resources the best HE knows how. I am suggesting that it's inconceivable (not to mention unproductive) to believe he can post every damn film, short, documentary or whatever. So quite natural he has to use HIS filter to discern which films he considers to be worthy of inclusion. And, if you open your mind and move away from your kneejerk reactions, I believe he DID NOT say anything about a "specific taste" or "genre". Even if he did, that's his right and his job. Now, show us that you are man enough to concede (that you understand) any parts of my (and other's) problems with your comment and that your concerns... your "nervousness" are not the actions of a fly wiggling around in the ointment.

  • WHOCARES | August 31, 2012 6:22 PM

    here ya go again. THIS one. always trying to spout superiority and nonsense. no one gives a damn what makes you nervous. if you want to remove a filter - MAKE YOUR OWN DAMN SITE YOU HATER. you BUG. seriously get a life.

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