Sunday, April 29, 2007

Washington Post article wonders why Filmfest DC is not bigger & more famous

Read it here.

Some people in DC want the fest to be famous like Sundance or SXSW, the fest's director Tony Gittens is happy with how things are.

Filmfest DC is 20 years old, has a budget of about $410,000, and the '06 version of the fest reported attendance by 34,000 people.

Check out the long & informative article here.

- Sujewa

1 comment:

mikelicht said...

Thomson is a film critic, and emphasizes what this decade-old conflict-of-interest means for film exhibition in DC. But the impact of the issue is much wider. It is about the fair and effective use of the public's money in support of the arts.

First, who authorized Mr. Gittens to run a private nonprofit corporation out of a government office, assigning a full-time DC employee (a very talented one) to this task? Mayor Marion Barry has had extensive legal experience, but he had no such authority.

Second, under current leadership, much of the funding provided by the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities has not been awarded through peer-review panels, the recognized Best Practice in public (and foundation) arts funding. Terms like “Staff recommendation” and “Commissioner approval” cannot disguise noncompetitive grants.

Third, the Commission stages events that compete with those of the organizations that form its constituency, and uses public money to do so. That is not considered good public policy.

The arts commission is given a substantial Federal (NEA) grant each year to support art and its creators in our city, not for the importation and consumption of art (other agencies support that). For film, this would mean grants for film makers rather than film exhibitors. DCCAH takes the combined place of the city, county and state arts agencies in other jurisdictions. It is the sole source for local arts funding. Although current DCCAH leadership has attracted public scorn for the trivial projects it funds with millions of discretionary (not peer-reviewed) public dollars, it is the neglect of the primary function of the agency that is the larger, heartbreaking issue.

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