My earlier post on black film festivals certainly generated quite a lot of comments, as well as private emails sent to me. Who knew it would be such a radioactive topic? I certainly didn't! So, reading all your comments and emails was refreshing and revealing.
As I stated in the original post, my intent was to generate discussion on the subject, and exalt those black film festivals that I thought were performing at a higher level than their counterparts. I didn't single out any individual festival for its failures and deficiencies.
However, that certainly didn't stop certain festival organizers, who shall still remain nameless, from sending me emails threatening to blacklist me from the industry, simply because they didn't care for my stance, or approach on the matter of the shortcomings of some of our black film festivals.
I initially planned on ignoring this festival organizer and their email, leaving them to continue living in the bubble that they've apparently tucked themselves comfortably away in. But, after pondering some more, I've instead chosen to share their email with you all, so that you can see just how shortsighted one festival founder and organizer can be.
The appropriate response to my post shouldn't be to threaten me, the author; that certainly doesn't do either of us any good. Frankly it reflects quite poorly on the character of the sender than it does on me, and that's rather unfortunate.
So... here's an email I received this morning, from one founder and organizer of an American black film festival. I removed the person's name, as well as the name of the festival, and replaced them with an "XXX."
Here ya go:
I must say that I find this poll to be very disappointing. And coming from a black filmmaker it is even more troubling. As the founder of the XXX Black Film Festival, and friend to most of the other black film festivals around the world, I know that all of us work very hard to present the programs that we do to provide black filmmakers with a platform to be seen by the public and courted by the industry. With that in mind, why would you post a totally subjective poll, and allow people from all walks of life able to chime in and denigrate the good name of these film festivals? You have no idea what the motivation is behind the people who post to the poll. Now if it were a poll of distributors chiming in on which film festivals are most helpful to them in acquiring project, that would be cool. But this poll I find to be quite offensive.
I am deeply saddened by this “editorial” effort and see absolutely no rhyme or reason for it other than another case of black people dumping on one another, and worse than that, a black filmmaker dumping on the people who are out there working day and night, for little or no pay, on behalf of black filmmakers. Shame on you!!!
Finally, why put yourself out there like that? Because we all have strong studio and industry support and friends, why label yourself as the foe of black film festivals? That doesn’t seem like a smart career move, but that’s just my opinion.
I will certainly share this with all the black film festival directors, studio executives, producers, journaliists, et. Al. that I am in contact with and ask that they write to you as well.
There ya have it folks! I'm certainly all for constructive criticism and conversation; there's no need to be condescending, dismissive, sly and threatening. It serves no purpose, and helps no one.
I didn't respond to this email, but, I welcome the author to contact me; and if they would like, I'll have them as a guest on my podcast, for a proper discussion.