This is the Swanberg quote (from '06) that got me thinking critically about Mumblecore and minorities
From an interview at GreenCine:
Swanberg: "In a similar vein, I'm uncomfortable writing roles for women or minorities - I don't feel it's my place - and all the actresses in my films write their own material. I refuse to include a token minority simply because my characters are all white. It's not about seclusion, it's just a reflection of the white, hipster neighborhood I live in."
Read the whole interview here, so that there is more context - maybe.
I think that it is unfortunate for minority actors that Swanberg feels uncomfortable writing roles for minorities. Also I think it is unfortunate for minority actors that many of the Mumblecore directors - for one reason or another - have been unable or unwilling to cast minority actors or friends in their movies thus far. As an indie film consumer & a non-"white" person, I like movies that have multi-ethnic casting. And Mumblecore is now mainstream news, thus this complaint. Maybe things will change for the better, maybe not. And also, more minority indie filmmakers might start making more movies soon, & more mainstream media/fests/distributors/theater programmers will start working with them/raising their profile/getting them NYC runs at fine indie houses & arrange for NYTimes press - so this lack-of-diversity-in-indie-film issue might go away, maybe not, we'll see how things ago.