Today: S&A's Tambay Obenson On Race, Authorship, Authenticity In Cinema Tribeca Talks Panel

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by Tambay A. Obenson
April 19, 2013 10:34 AM
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It's one of several panels scheduled to take place during the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival (TFF), this month, all part of the festival's lineup for the 2013 Tribeca Talks panel series. 

This year’s programs include the “Tribeca Talks: Directors Series” sponsored by OppenheimerFunds; “Tribeca Talks: After the Movie;” “Tribeca Talks: After the Movie, Beyond the Screens: The Artist’s Angle,” sponsored by OppenheimerFunds; “Tribeca Talks: Industry;” and “Tribeca Talks: Pen to Paper, hosted by Barnes & Noble.”

The panel that I'll be on will fall under the "Tribeca Talks: Industry" program, with the title Look Who’s Talking, and it takes place this afternoon, Friday, April 19, at 2:30pm, at the SVA Theater 2333 W 23rd St, New York.

Here's how it's described:

... a conversation with film industry professionals about race, authorship and authenticity in today’s filmmaking scene. The panelists will explore the marked lack of diversity behind the camera in major box office hits and how the ethnicity of film artists and filmmakers play into public perception of a movie about people of color.  Panelists include critic and filmmaker Nelson George, actor and playwright Anna Deavere Smith, Indiewire's Shadow & Act Chief Editor Tambay Obenson, producer and Braven Films President and CEO Frida Torresblanco and filmmaker Terence Nance. Moderated by Executive Director of the Tribeca Film Institute Beth Janson.

I'm always honored when asked to participate in panels, or speak at events and such, and grateful for the opportunities when they come my way - especially when I don't seek them out. 

"Each year we seek to provide audiences with diverse opportunities to connect with some the most accomplished and innovative minds in film with the Tribeca Talks series," said Geoff Gilmore, Chief Creative Officer of Tribeca Enterprises. “We are excited to present this year’s lineup, featuring visionary industry leaders who are sure to engage audiences with thoughtful discussions on topics inspired by films and filmmakers participating in the Festival."

The full schedule for the 2013 Tribeca Talks series follows - many that I think you'll find interesting:

“Tribeca Talks: Directors Series”

Sponsored by OppenheimerFunds

Mira Nair with Bryce Dallas Howard

Acclaimed writer, director and producer Mira Nair (The NamesakeMonsoon Wedding) in conversation with actress Bryce Dallas Howard.
DATE: Saturday, April 20
TIME: 3:30 PM
LOCATION: SVA Theater 1

Jay Roach with Ben Stiller

Emmy Award®-winning director Jay Roach (“Game Change”) in conversation with actor Ben Stiller.

DATE: Sunday, April 21

TIME: 3:00 PM

LOCATION: BMCC

 

Richard Linklater with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy

Director and Academy Award®-nominated screenwriter Richard Linklater in conversation with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy about their Before Sunrise series collaboration and most recent installment, Before Midnight.

DATE: Monday, April 22
TIME: 3:30 PM
LOCATION: SVA Theater 1

 

Clint Eastwood
Academy Award®-winning director Clint Eastwood will be in conversation with Academy Award®-nomineeDarren Aronofsky following the world premiere of Eastwood Directs: The Untold Story

Eastwood Directs: The Untold Story

Directed by Richard Schickel. (USA) – World Premiere.

This unprecedented new film focuses on Eastwood’s directorial method thanks to producing partners and fellow actors sharing never-before-told stories of working with Clint.  It explores Eastwood’s signature style, dissecting the skills that have ensured his four decades of success.  Bringing together the insights of Martin Scorsese, Meryl Streep, Gene Hackman, Morgan Freeman and many others, the film creates the complete picture of the man, the colleague, the creator.  Courtesy of Warner Bros. © Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

DATE: Saturday, April 27
TIME: 2:30 PM
LOCATION: BMCC

 

“Tribeca Talks: After the Movie” 

Wadjda

Directed by Haifaa Al-Mansour.  (Saudi Arabia, Germany) – US Premiere.

Meet Wadjda (Waad Mohammed), a feisty, funny and wholly unconventional ten-year-old girl determined to scrounge up enough money to buy a bicycle, despite the societal repercussions sure to follow.  The groundbreaking first feature film shot entirely in Saudi Arabia and the first by a female Saudi filmmaker,Wadjda offers a moving, rarely seen picture of everyday life in Riyadh: through the eyes of a girl unwilling to surrender what she wants.

After the Movie: Stay for a conversation with filmmaker Haifaa Al-Mansour and founder of Women for Women International Zainab Salbi to discuss the brave individuals and grassroots movements that are breaking gender boundaries and creating lasting change. Moderated by journalist and social and political activist Gloria Steinem.

DATE: Sunday, April 21

TIME: 5:30 PM

LOCATION: SVA Theater 2

 

I Got Somethin’ to Tell You

Directed by Whoopi Goldberg. (USA) – World Premiere.

Having broken racial and sexual boundaries as a pioneering comic talent, the late Moms Mabley has long been an icon in the comedy world. Now Whoopi Goldberg takes a deep dive into Mabley’s legacy via recently unearthed photography, rediscovered performance footage and the words of numerous celebrated comedians. A true passion project for Goldberg, I Got Somethin’ to Tell You shows Mabley’s profound influence as a performer vastly ahead of her time.

After the Movie: Stay for a conversation with Whoopi Goldberg, who will discuss her directorial debut.  She will explain, through the work of comedian Moms Mabley, why we laugh, who we think is funny and what comedy is really all about.  Moderated by The Hollywood Reporter’s David Rooney.  

SPECIAL EVENT exclusively for American Express® Cardmembers

DATE: Monday, April 22

TIME: 6:00 PM
LOCATION: SVA Theater 1

 

Tricked

Directed by Paul Verhoeven. (Netherlands) – North American Premiere.

Join acclaimed director Paul Verhoeven (Total RecallBasic Instinct) as he steps into the creative unknown to test a brand new style and structure of crowd-sourced filmmaking. Having established only the first four minutes of the script for a new feature, Verhoeven asks the public to complete the story. Tricked follows Verhoeven as he gathers ideas, hunts for an intriguing narrative and turns his craft into one of the more unlikely experiments in democratic art.

After the Movie: Stay for a conversation with director Paul Verhoeven as he takes us through the uncharted process of making an audience-created film – his ups, his downs and his unexpected creative breakthroughs. 

DATE: Tuesday, April 23

TIME: 6:30 PM
LOCATION: SVA Theater 1

 

How to Make Money Selling Drugs

Directed by Matthew Cooke. (USA) – US Premiere.

Moving from desperate street dealers to millionaire kingpins, from well-funded DEA agents to politicians who ensure reelection through egregious drug laws, Matthew Cooke’s debut feature is a captivating, shockingly candid guide to the entrenched, corrupt and violent drug industry in which these players each inhabit a vital role. 50 Cent, Eminem, Susan Sarandon, Woody Harrelson and a wealth of inside voices color this outstanding, detailed documentary.

After the Movie: Stay for a conversation with director Matthew Cooke, producers Adrian Grenier and Bert Marcus, executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition Neill Franklin, president of the Criminal Justice Policy Foundation Eric Sterling and the author of HIGH: Confessions of an International Drug Smuggler Brian O’Dea to discuss the grim underbelly of the oft-glamorized drug trade.. Moderated byHuffington Post contributor Keith Rushing.

DATE: Thursday, April 25

TIME: 6:00 PM

LOCATION: SVA Theater 1

 

And the Band Played On

Directed by Roger Spottiswoode. (USA).

Celebrating its twentieth anniversary, And the Band Played On aired at the height of the AIDS epidemic in the early ‘90s, examining the facts surrounding the deadly disease and debunking many of its myths.  The film won three Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Made for Television Movie. Topping the incredible ensemble cast is Matthew Modine, who received Emmy and Golden Globe-nominations for his poignant portrayal of a doctor who heads an American research team.  Sponsored by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

After the Movie: Exploring the Science of AIDS and the Arts.  Join us for a panel conversation featuring leading figures from film and science about the science of AIDS and the social politics surrounding the AIDS epidemic from the 1980s until now. The panel will explore how the AIDS crisis has activated a cross section of storytelling amongst scientists, artists and politicians. Moderated by filmmaker Tom Kalin.

DATE: Saturday, April 27
TIME: 3:30 PM
LOCATION: SVA Theater 1

 

Beyond: Two Souls

Directed by David Cage. (USA) – World Premiere.

From Quantic Dream and David Cage, visionary director of Heavy Rain, comes an emotionally charged interactive thriller starring Academy Award®-nominees Ellen Page and Willem Dafoe.  Jodie Holmes (Page) has always been a little different.  Aided by scientist Nathan Dawkins (Dafoe), she discovers a connection to a mysterious entity, setting off a thrilling, globe-spanning journey to discover the truth about who she is.  Join us for an exclusive look at this breathtaking gaming experience fused with a classical film style.  Beyond: Two Souls releases on October 8, 2013 and is made exclusively for the PlayStation 3® System.

After the Screening: Join game creator David Cage and actress Ellen Page for a behind-the-scenes look at this breakthrough in interactive storytelling.  Moderated by video game journalist Harold Goldberg.

DATE: Saturday, April 27

TIME: 7:00 PM
LOCATION: SVA Theater 1

 

Out of Print

Directed by Vivienne Roumani. (USA) – World Premiere.

Dive into the riveting debate over the future of ideas, as documentarian Vivienne Roumani tackles the questions confronting the modern word industry and proves that more is at stake than how quickly we can access the latest bestseller. Featuring interviews with Scott Turow, Ray Bradbury, Amazon.com founder and CEO Jeff Bezos and many more, Out of Print is a fascinating, in-depth look at publishing’s milestones and what it means to adapt that history to the information age.  Narrated by Meryl Streep.

After the Movie: Join president and CEO of the New York Public Library Tony Marx, CEO of Open Road Integrated Media Jane Friedman, filmmaker Vivienne Roumani and science writer Annie Murphy Paulfor an exploration of our shifting relationship with books and a glimpse into our future learning. Moderated by The New Yorker’s Ken Auletta.

DATE: Sunday, April 28
TIME: 1:30 PM

LOCATION: SVA Theater 2

 

Inequality for All

Directed by Jacob Kornbluth. (USA) – New York Premiere.

Robert Reich is your guide in this no-holds-barred assessment of the U.S. economy.  With winningly approachable finesse, the Clinton-era Labor secretary and current Berkeley professor covers the consolidation of wealth, the stagnation in wages and the elasticity of our economy.  Director Jacob Kornbluth builds a rigorous and engaging overview of where the economy stands and the risks that will become reality if we fail to act.

After the Movie: Stay for a conversation with producers Jen Chaiken and Sebastian Dungan as well as political economist, professor and author Robert Reich who will discuss the widening income gap and deterioration of the USA’s economic health.

DATE: Sunday, April 28

TIME: 4:30 PM

LOCATION: SVA Theater 2

 

“Tribeca Talks: After the Movie, Beyond the Screens: The Artist’s Angle” 

Sponsored by OppenheimerFunds

Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me

Directed by Chiemi Karasawa. (USA) – World Premiere.

Broadway legend Elaine Stritch remains in the spotlight at eighty-seven years old. Join the uncompromising Tony and Emmy Award-winner both on and off stage in this revealing documentary. With interviews from Tina Fey, Nathan Lane, Alec Baldwin and others, Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me blends rare archival footage and intimate cinema vérité to reach beyond Stritch’s brassy exterior, revealing a multi-dimensional portrait of a complex woman and an inspiring artist.

After the Movie: Stay for a fun and lively conversation with filmmaker Chiemi Karasawa and the high-kicking Elaine Stritch, who shares her stories, tricks of the trade and the industry dish that you just won’t want to miss.  Moderated by The New York Times’ Charles Isherwood.

DATE: Monday, April 22

TIME: 5:30 PM

LOCATION: SVA Theater 2

 

Richard Pryor: Omit the Logic

Directed by Marina Zenovich. (USA) – World Premiere.

This moving portrait of legendary comedian Richard Pryor chronicles his life from his troubled youth in Peoria, Illinois, to his meteoric rise as one of the most respected comic actors of the 20th century. Often misunderstood during the height of his celebrity, the late superstar has never been profiled this extensively. Marina Zenovich’s revealing and entertaining film lays bare the demons with which he struggled and reminds us just how daring and dangerous artistic freedom can be.

After the Movie: Stay for a conversation with Emmy Award®-winning director Marina Zenovich, authorWalter Mosley and comedian Wyatt Cenac to discuss the making of the documentary and the impact of one of Hollywood’s most controversial comedians.

DATE: Wednesday, April 24

TIME: 6:00 PM

LOCATION: SVA Theater 1

 

“Tribeca Talks: Industry” (Free event: Reserve tickets in advance at http://www.tribecafilm.com/filmguide)

Look Who’s Talking

Now celebrating its tenth anniversary, the Tribeca Film Institute's Tribeca All Access® program has supported several projects whose crews included at least one writer or director from a community statistically underrepresented in the film industry. When it comes to major box office hits, narratives featuring a diversity of characters on screen are finding increased success despite a marked lack of diversity behind the camera. Join our film industry professionals for a dynamic debate on race, authorship and authenticity in today's filmmaking scene.  Panelists include author, critic and filmmaker Nelson George, actor and playwright Anna Deavere Smith, Indiewire's Shadow & Act Chief Editor Tambay Obenson, producer and Braven Films President and CEO Frida Torresblanco and filmmaker Terence Nance.  Moderated by Tribeca Film Institute Executive Director Beth Janson.

DATE: Friday, April 19

TIME: 2:30 PM

LOCATION: SVA Theater 2

 

Brand New Studios

What happens to film when brands become producers? Filmmakers and brand managers are uniting like never before to make everything from shorts to feature-length films to episodic series.  The results of these partnerships are stretching the traditional sponsor role and creating new opportunities for filmmakers.  Hear from successful brands that are vying to take on the role of producer.  Panelists include ESPN Films Director of Development Dan Silver; GE Executive Director of Global Digital Marketing Linda Boff; VICE Media, Inc. Executive Creative Director Danny Gabai and Red Bull Media House Head of Distribution Greg Jacobs.  Moderated by strategic consultant Nancy Schafer.

DATE: Sunday, April 21

TIME: 2:30 PM

LOCATION: SVA Theater 2

 

The Business of Entertainment: Truth, Persuasion and Bias in Documentaries

Sponsored by Bloomberg. Documentarians, like journalists, make use of a full range of storytelling conventions. Some prefer to observe and report events as they happen, while others gravitate more toward opinion, commentary or in-depth personal narrative. How do filmmakers navigate between journalistic precision and creative nonfiction - and are these choices shaped by financial demands in the business of entertainment? Hear from leading voices in the documentary world to examine choices of style and approach to telling their stories. Panelists include Executive Vice President American Documentary | POV Cynthia López and leading documentary filmmakers Dan Krauss (The Kill TeamMorgan Spurlock, Kristi Jacobson and Shola Lynch. Moderated by Bloomberg Chief Content Officer Norman Pearlstine.

DATE: Monday, April 22

TIME: 2:30 PM

LOCATION: SVA Theater 2

 

Big Data and the Movies

Sponsored by SAP. Big Data presents new methods for testing the production and distribution of films both big and small.  Join our panel of industry experts to consider the effect and implications of strategically developed content and social sentiment to explore the latest ways audience data analysts and distributors are retooling the what, when and how of filmgoing.  Whether you are creating or consuming film on small screens or in IMAX theaters, learn what Big Data will mean to you.  Panelists include Rentrak CEO Bill Livek, FilmTrack Co-Founder and CEO Jason Kassin, MoviePass Co-Founder and CEO Stacy Spikes, Mashable's Senior Tech Analyst Christina Warren and Director of Digital Strategy at Film Society of Lincoln CenterEugene Hernandez.  Moderated by SAP Labs SVP/GM of Media Industry Solutions Richard Whittington.

DATE: Tuesday, April 23

TIME: 2:30 PM

LOCATION: SVA Theater 2

 

New Filmmakers in the Digital Age

Sponsored by Panavision.  Learn from doing.  With expanding options in digital cameras and lens combinations, along with a transparency of production workflow strategies and processes, directors, producers and cinematographers are learning more from each other than ever before.  Panavision’s New Filmmaker Program supports filmmakers by providing grants for camera packages.  Come and hear from new filmmakers on how they navigated the world of digital filmmaking.  Panelists include director Lance Edmands (Bluebird), filmmaker/actor Alex Karpovsky, director Jenée LaMarque (The Pretty One), directorRob Meyer (A Birder's Guide to Everything) and producer Tamara Anghie (Run and Jump).  Moderated by Panavision’s Peter Brogna.

DATE: Thursday, April 25

TIME: 2:30 PM

LOCATION: SVA Theater 2

 

“Tribeca Talks: Pen to Paper” (Free)

Hosted by Barnes & Noble

New Chick Flicks

From sports films to comedies, action flicks to war documentaries, female filmmakers, writers and actors are challenging traditional associations of what makes a movie for or by women. Join us for this dynamic exploration why being a female in the film industry requires re-writing the typecast model.  Panelists include producer of the ESPN Nine for IX series Libby Geist, director Rachel Boynton (Big Men), producerTanya Ager Meillier (Alias Ruby Blade) and writer/producer Laura Goode (Farah Goes Bang). Moderated by producer Abigail Disney.

DATE: Friday, April 19

TIME: 1:00 PM
LOCATION: Barnes & Noble 33 E 17th Street at Union Square

 

Putting the “I” in “Film”

“Write what you know” has always been a mantra, but “film what you know”? How can direct personal experiences translate to audience-friendly, relatable pieces on screen? How much of our “all” should we bare? Hear from filmmakers, writers and actors who have written more than a piece of themselves into the filmmaking process.  Panelists include director Banker White (The Genius of Marian), director Tom Berninger (Mistaken for Strangers), writer/actress Amy Grantham (Lily), director Josh Fox (Gasland Part II).  Moderated by Screen International’s Mark Adams.

DATE: Saturday, April 20

TIME: 1:00 PM
LOCATION: Barnes & Noble 33 E 17th Street at Union Square

 

Whose Credit is it Anyway?

Documentaries continue to evolve over the years into ever more complex, multi-format storytelling features. One recent development is a new credit: the writer. As filmmakers embrace or fight this controversial title, our panelists discuss when taking the credit is appropriate. Panelists include writer/director Fahad Mustafa(Powerless), writer/director Warwick Ross (Red Obsession), director Jason Osder (Let the Fire Burn), editorNels Bangerter (Let the Fire Burn) and director Sean Dunne (Oxyana).  Moderated by director Julia Bacha(Budrus).

DATE: Sunday, April 21

TIME: 1:00 PM
LOCATION: Barnes & Noble 33 E 17th Street at Union Square

 

Special “Tribeca Talks” Events

 

A Special Shorts Event: The Battle of amfAR

Directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman.  (USA) – New York Premiere.

In the darkest days of the AIDS pandemic, two women from very different walks of life unite to take a stand.  Two-time Academy Award®-winner Rob Epstein and his longtime collaborator Jeffrey Friedman, the creative forces behind The Celluloid Closet, tell the story of the extraordinary moment when Dr. Mathilde Krim and Hollywood icon Elizabeth Taylor launched the country’s first AIDS research foundation.  The fight against HIV/AIDS would never be the same.  An HBO Documentary Films release.

After the Screening: Stay for a conversation with special guests Dr. Mathilde Krim, global health consultant and activist Regan Hofmann and amfAR CEO Kevin Robert Frost to discuss the new strides medicine has taken in AIDS research development.  Moderated by amfAR chairman Kenneth Cole.

DATE: Wednesday, April 24

TIME: 5:30 PM
LOCATION: SVA Theater 2


Panelists and moderators are subject to change. For the most updated schedule, visit www.tribecafilm.com

Tickets for the 2013 Festival: Advance selection ticket packages and passes, as well as discount ticket packages are now on sale. All Festival packages and passes can be purchased online at www.tribecafilm.com/festival, or by telephone at (646) 502-5296 or toll free at (866) 941-FEST (3378).

 

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9 Comments

  • jeanette's daughter | April 24, 2013 12:53 PMReply

    It's not cynicism to recognize what lies ahead if you want to write, produce and direct a film that tells a 'black' story and features black actors. You may stretch black to whatever definition you embrace, but the importance will be in the story and how the talent makes it live on screen and in our heads afterwards. Money is a big issue simply because of the expense involved in film making, but we also have the money -- depends on what you consider the "we." Unfortunately, some of our filmmakers are too far ahead of us. Here's what I mean by that: Daryll makes his case (below) but a strong film community cannot coexist with a weak overall community and that is really what is lacking, in my opinion: a strong, healthy, vital business and black arts loving community. Here in Atlanta, whenever I go see black films and documentaries, I stand a chance of being one of maybe five people in the theatre. It wasn't always so in this town and others where we live in great numbers. That is what needs to change -- the audience. TP (and QT) right now are the only ones who can fill a theatre when the subjects are us, and that's on us. Good luck out there in Hollywood! You are David to the giant Goliath.

  • Jennifer I | April 22, 2013 11:10 PMReply

    It was a fantastic panel. Tambay provided excellent insight and even stuck around after to give some of us seeking to break in some more specific thoughts. I only wish I could have spoken to him (and Nelson and Frida and TERENCE**) more.

    But Tambay, if you read this, get at me, we have more to discuss. I know you and most others feel there is no room for people of color in Hollywood but I simply don't agree. Call me biased because I'm in LA, but there is BLACK ART to be made here, and throwing up our hands and giving in to frustrations of the past does nothing. Read up on the LA Rebellion. That's just begging to happen again (not just in LA but country-wide with social networking) if Black folks will get off their cynicism!

  • Daryl | April 19, 2013 12:34 PMReply

    Every year or couple of months it's panels like this about race and hollywood. If people don't realize there is no room in hollywood for a lot of people of color they are blind. Hollywood has had a 100 years to get it's act togther and all we have gotten is these same conversations year in and year out of lack of diversity. Hollwood is only important bacause we make them important by lusting after their fame and stardom. When we start cutting them off then they will change because they will have no choice to or go out of business. I'm going to say it again when independent black filmmakers, writers, actors, and musicians start coming together along with the audience supporting them, these conversations end, but as long as we continue to buy what hollywood is selling and doing everything we can to be part of the hollywood establishment because that's the only way we feel like we made it is to get their approval of fame and fortune , instead of it being about the work, we are going to continuously get let down. A side note: Will Smith is the biggest box office star in hollywood but has never had a black director direct any of his movies or black writers write screenplays for him. This is why we have to do for self and just ignore the gatekeepers and the black celebs that are knee deep in hollywood shucking and jiving for their studio exec masters because they are about self and doing their part in keeping things the same, if we do pay attention, it should be on how to beat them. So this what we got to ask ourselves are we sick and tired of this and want to do something about it or do we just like hearing ourselves talk about the problems with no solutions and satisfied with a couple of tokens that got paid telling you things are changing when that is far from the reality. Shadow and Act got the resources and the reach to bring artists together, this is a suggestion why not add a film community to this website where independent filmmkers, actors, writers, and musicians of color can meet up and connect with each other to work on projects together, ya'll got the ability to organize something like this on a major level that would change things because it would give the artists that want that change and be able to tell their own stories a place to meet up and connect and get their films made the way they want too, instead of having to compromise because they can find enough artists that share that viewpoint to get a film made with little resources that can be better than overblown studio fiilms that are not about nothing. It's not about the money it's about the dedication of artists to get their stories told. This is why black films have not change that much because their artist that want the change can't find enough people to make those films or actors can't find those stories so a lot of them compromise and just do stories that are sterotypes to get their foot in the door but if we had a strong film community where you could connect this would be a problem no more.

  • anonymous | March 21, 2013 9:28 PMReply

    It says you can reserve a spot, but the link is broken. Do you know when that will become fully available? Tribeca is my adult spring break trip this year.

  • anonymous | March 22, 2013 11:42 PM

    Thank you , Nadia. The link worked, but I'm still not finding where to actually reserve the tickets.

  • Nadia | March 21, 2013 10:11 PM

    Try this link: tribecafilm.com/filmguide

  • Jug | March 21, 2013 7:48 PMReply

    Indeed, Congratz Tambay!

  • JANA SANTE | March 21, 2013 7:44 PMReply

    Great Tambay. And what a well-timed panel topic, in light of 2013 being touted as 'the year of the slavery-themed film' (atleast according to The Daily Beast). Await the panels views with baited breath.

  • James Madison | March 21, 2013 6:11 PMReply

    Should be a very interesting panel. If I can, I will try and make it.

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