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9 questions re: race & indie film in America :: the shorter version/intro to Conversation About "Ethnic/"Racial" Diversity post

For the recent & longer post on this subject, go here.

Otherwise, check out these questions, offer your opinion, & please keep the tone of your comments professional or semi-pro. thanksalot!

9 Questions Regarding Race & Independent Film In America

(and by independent film i mean real independent film: outside of Hollywood/Indiewood, low budget, no-star stuff. mostly festival screened & self-distributed stuff. such as Mumblecore movies, DIY movies, etc.)

1 - Is the US indie film scene/industry "ethnically" & gender wise sufficiently diverse at this point?

2 - What exactly is sufficient diversity?

3 - I don't see a lot of minority & also female indie filmmakers getting a lot of press from indie film blogs & websites (besides mine :), & the occasional indieWIRE article) but is that just perception (as in my eyes only picking up certain stuff) or is there actually a huge lack of coverage on good indie films made by non-"white" US male filmmakers & "white" & other female filmmakers?

4 - Are there films as good as or better than Four Eyed Monsters, Mutual Appreciation, Dance Party USA, Quiet City, Cocaine Angel, LOL, Kissing On The Mouth, Hannah Takes The Stairs, Funny Ha Ha, etc. being made & screened & distributed on DVD right now in the US, by minority filmmakers, and not getting as much press as the ones that were mentioned mostly because the films were made by minority directors & feature minority actors in lead roles?

5 - Aside from writing about the films of our friends, do indie film bloggers have a societal obligation (in the interest of creating a more just & fair society) to seek out & write about, and even champion, films by female & minority filmmakers?

6 - What about sexual orientation diversity? How come Todd Verow (a gay DV filmmaker who makes low budget movies) is not getting as much press as the Mumblecore kids? Or is he? - maybe just not at the blogs & websites I visit.

7 - Is the US indie film scene softly racist & sexist? Or, favors "white" males over all others out of habit resulting from segregation, the nation's heritage of "race" relations, etc.?

8 - Do minority actors have a harder time getting lead roles in American indie & real indie films because the press pays a lot of attention to indie films by "white" directors featuring "white" actors? Does that media preference affect how new indie filmmakers cast their films (The thought, re: how "white" & non-"white" my cast should be, certainly did cross my mind when I was casting Date Number One).

9 - Would American indie films make more money if they featured minority actors in lead roles & thus appealed to several segments of the population? Would Mutual Appreciation have made more money at theaters if the lead character was African-American? How about a dark skinned Mexican-American actor?

- Sujewa


gabriel said…
Good questions. I am not sure of the answers. An example of the type of film you mention, Hadjii's somebodies played Sundance in '06 to much acclaim, but then had difficulty finding a distribution deal. I hear there is something brewing in the world of television for this project, so stay tuned. Also, I would be conscious about confusing hype/press/blogosphere (for films like Funny Ha Ha, or Hannah) with any legitimate box office returns.

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