Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Open Letter to Tribeca Film Festival

Dear Robert DeNiro and Staff,
I attended the 10th anniversary of the Tribeca Film Festival this year for the first time since I began my indie filmmaking career. I was very impressed by the film selection, and yet, I couldn’t help but to observe the obvious omission from your selected film fare: African-American narrative films.
As a storyteller, I enjoy a good story well told. Yet, most films exhibited at festivals or released at box offices reflect a world devoid of people like me: African-American. I became a filmmaker to change that, and I know that there are many other filmmakers like me who decided the same. Yet, your festival seems to contribute to the perpetuity of films devoid of an African-American narrative. Is it the case that there were NO submissions of films reflective of an African-American experience? I find that truly hard to believe.
Of all the films created in our fair country, I am optimistic that a large percentage of them are created by African-Americans. We are a large population of these United States. I am even more optimistic that many of these films are of the caliber of excellence that your festival requires. Yet, here I am writing a letter calling attention to the fact that Tribeca Film Festival did not screen one African-American narrative film written and/or directed by an African-American filmmaker, and asking WHY?
I must say that, as an indie filmmaker, I am disappointed by my first Tribeca Film Festival experience. A film festival that was built from the ground up, only 200 miles from my hometown, failed to showcase films that reflect the world in which I live. Your film selection was garishly void of a narrative that includes people like me. It left me wondering if I should ever attend again, let alone submit my films.
Honestly, I would love to attend the Tribeca Film Festival again next year, and see a few films that not only move me but also include me. Make it happen.
Nia Malika Dixon
Independent Filmmaker

No comments: