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

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act August 31, 2012 at 1:25PM

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.
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Poster: "The Realization of a Negro's Ambition" (1916)
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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