Friday, August 7, 2015

What to Watch This Weekend: 15 Short Films That Say #BlackLivesMatter

"Like most of you, I'm constantly, immensely frustrated by the overcoming helpless feeling that many of us experience each time the name of another black man or woman becomes a Twitter hashtag after his/her life has been taken by a police officer (usually white) with an itchy trigger finger; and, like you, I want to do something, but I'm not sure what exactly that should be. I can write, but I feel like there's only so much that words on a screen can do. Besides, many have already written wonderful volumes on the subject, and continue to do so - better than anything I've ever put on paper. My paragraph or 3 won't make any difference. Other than becoming the kind of vigilante we've all seen in movies, who goes on an avenging rampage - something that I'm obviously not going to do, nor am I suggesting that anyone should - one feels utterly impotent, which only frustrates even more.

I don't have all the answers, but I thought this would be one way for us to, for lack of a better word, deal with these issues - via the art that we create, even if only because this is a film blog. Art has the power to inspire and educate, both of which I think are necessary predecessors of actual change.

So, to keep this brief, I'm inviting filmmakers who have made films that, in some way, speak to the ongoing #BlackLivesMatter movement, so that I can share them here on this blog for others to watch. Obviously it means that the work needs to be online (you can always upload it to any number of video sharing platforms if it's not already), and will likely have to be short films (unless you have a feature film that's online, or you're willing to upload to the web for me to share here).

As I receive them, I'll update this post with the films. And in the end, after a period of time has passed, and there are a good number of films for you all to watch and consider, we will all vote on which one we love best and we believe really tackles the issue at hand, and the winner will receive a $500 cash award, courtesy of yours truly. I'm certainly not rich, otherwise I'd prefer to actually commission and finance films that speak to the #BlackLivesMatter movement. But I'm just one person, and this is what my available resources allow me to do, and so I'm doing it. But it's an open initiative, so if anyone reading this wants to join the effort, whether it's by contributing to the winning pot to make it even more attractive, or even if it's just spreading the word, helping elevate the contest to an even higher platform, so that it gets wider attention (meaning, even more films, and even more people will watch them; or the initiative attracts larger donors allowing for the financing of films on the subject), or even if you have some idea of how to better-organize something like this, be my guest. I'm not really one for speeches, or formalities. You can email me at obensont@gmail.com.

I'll give this several months, to ensure that there's enough time to let the news travel, and hopefully inspire some action on the part of filmmakers, audiences, potential partners, etc. So let's put a 3-month deadline on it. At the end of October, I will take an inventory of all that would've happened by then, and then decide whether to continue to solicit films, or end the contest and we vote on a winner, and that winner gets the award."--Tambay A. Obenson

Click here to read about the films presented: http://blogs.indiewire.com/shadowandact/watch-the-third-set-of-5-short-ffilms-for-the-s-a-blacklivesmatter-film-contest-20150807

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