Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora

EMAIL - One Response To My "Black Film Festivals" Post

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.

In light,


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.



  1. Jeremiah said...

    Wow! I must say that I find this email very disturbing. So, now we cannot even post comments without people getting upset. I think it is a known fact that most of the Black film festivals are not that great. Instead of being upset about it how about just make the festival better.

  2. Anonymous said...

    dang ob i didn't know you were that famous.

    well i hope the criticism sheds some light on these film festivals. maybe they needed some input like that.

  3. Geniusbastard said...

    "In light"...?


    It's so sad that this individual seems determined to squelch any discussion of this important topic.

    And it is so offensive that this person saw fit to threaten Tambay for opening up dialogue. The spirit of Bush/Cheney lives on....

    This individual could've offered a thoughtful response to these comments, or contributed to the discussion, but instead they resort to threats and equate anything short of cheerleading as destructive.

    We can only grow by having these discussions, reflecting on them and acting upon that reflection.

    Shameful. However, this kind of reaction ultimately serves to explain why so many of these festivals aren't improving. The author of the email is proving their detractors' points and doesn't even realize it.

  4. SolShine7 said...

    Wow, I had no idea that the response to your post would be that. Your blog has been very informative in helping me find several great black films that I wouldn't have heard of otherwise. You are by no means an "enemy to black film" or whatever that person said. How rude! What's ironic is that you are actually helping the movement by spreading the word about emerging black filmmakers. You'd think that black film festival coordinators would be courting you instead of insulting your forum. It's saddening.

    Well, at least they know who you are. Anyhow, keep up the good work. I enjoy your site!

  5. The Wendilicious Wonder said...

    "In light"


    They might want to enter the light by actually hearing what "people from all walks of life" have to say and swallowing the truth, no matter how bitter it might be.

    Seems to me the emperor needs to wake up and realise they're actually parading around naked.

  6. The Sujewa said...

    Don't worry about the critics Tambay, go on with your good-intentioned reform mission - I am sure thousands of filmmakers & festival goers will thank you.

  7. Invisible Woman said...

    I agree with genius bastard..."in light"? I LMAO when I saw that. I think someone might want to employ the use of a dictionary!

  8. Invisible Hand said...

    How did I miss all this?

    Went to the HBFF a couple years ago. Seemed like more light than heat to me. And as someone who earns his living in television and film out here in L.A. I can say that in my experience no one on the business side of things cares about the black film festivals. The sad corollary, of course, is that no one cares about independent movies on the whole, but that's just the way it is.

    I really hope you get to continue this discussion on a podcast. That'd be great to see.


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