You will be redirected back to your article in seconds
Back to IndieWire

Rethinking The Annual Shadow & Act Black Filmmakers To Watch List (FYI)…

Rethinking The Annual Shadow & Act Black Filmmakers To Watch List (FYI)...

It’s exciting to know that there’s a lot of interest in the annual Shadow & Act Black Filmmakers To Watch list I created in 2009, if correspondence I’ve received (especially recently) is of any indication.

And all the attention encouraged me to rethink how we approach the list in 2012 and forward. So, starting this year, two key changes that you all need to be aware of:

– First, say goodbye to the once-every-12-months list of 10 to 20 filmmakers, and say hello to what will be an ongoing series, profiling black filmmakers who we feel deserve individual spotlights. Each week, we’re introduced to the works of black filmmakers (and we’re considering the entire diaspora, not just black American filmmakers) that impress us enough, suggesting the idea that something continuous, throughout the year, makes more sense, than publishing a single list annualy. We want to highlight as many filmmakers as we can, especially in this climate that sees only a handful of *black films* every year that enjoy anything close to broad awareness; and also, in part, to combat the notion that there isn’t enough variety in what stories we can tell, and how we choose to tell them. I think we get so distracted and depressed about what we don’t have, that we tend to forget to appreciate those who are toiling away in creative silence/obscurity. And I realize it’s best to show who/what else is out there that we don’t already know about en masse, or that we do know about, but, for one reason or another, aren’t paying as much attention to, as we probably should.

– Second, unlike previous years, our emphasis will be on relatively unknown filmmakers; our goal is to highlight those filmmakers who are producing work (whether still in film school, making short films, or veterans who’ve been making films for years, and everything between), but just haven’t quite yet been *discovered* if you will (of course that’s a loaded word, because it could mean any number of things, to any number of people; but instead of listing specific criteria, I’ll just let the posts speak for themselves); but, essentially, filmmakers we believe are creating interesting work, who haven’t received much attention, and who we believe you all should definitely know about (if you don’t already). There’s a reason why I’ve repeatedly requested that filmmakers we haven’t covered, contact us, and introduce themselves and their work; it’s so that we can get to know you, and your work, for this purpose (and others). I continue to encourage that STRONGLY! As I’ve said before, we try to stay as connected and informed as we can; however, we don’t know of every single black filmmaker and every single black film in circulation, every year. We rely on you folks to assist in providing some of that knowledge as well.

That’s it! The two key changes to the S&A Black Filmmakers To Watch List.

So now you know. 

Starting next week, look for these individual “Black Filmmaker To Watch” profiles, and hopefully you’ll learn about black filmmakers from all over the world you didn’t already know about, that we think you should know about, or filmmakers you do already know about, but we want to make sure you don’t forget.

Again, I encourage filmmakers to contact us, introduce yourselves if you haven’t already; let us know who you are, and let’s see some of your work.

Happy weekend!

This Article is related to: Features



This is GREAT! I LOVE this site. It always keeps me informed about filmmakers all over the world across the diaspora. I checked out an NYU exhibit on Black Women Writers and came across this filmmaker "Dominga Martin" I think she's one to watch. Are you familiar with her work? She's getting ready to direct her first feature film. I always get excited for women directors because there's not many of them! Her music video with The Floacist & Musiq Soulchild is DOPE! I think her Director introduction is FIRE! Very inspiring. Hope to see her on your pages soon!!! Wish there were enough Girl Directors that you can just have a featured section. Maybe Women's History Month!!!


Are you familiar with CaribbeanTales, the distributor for Caribbean films and filmmakers? I think I remember reading something about one of their films' "The Story of Lovers Rock" on this site. They're having a film festival in Toronto from Sept 4-15, I'd love to read your reviews on some Caribbean centered films!

Adam Scott Thompson

Thanks, Tambay.

Chico Colvard

I think an exciting resource for cultivating emerging and established black filmmakers is Firelight Media headed up by Stanley Nelson. Also see (if you haven't already) the multi-talented Terence Nance and his terrifically smart and entertaining film, "An Oversimplification of Her Beauty."


Already sent an email, introducing myself and links ot my work hope they are pleased. Strive to be a legend at your craft.


This is Great Tambay, Excited about the "Shadowed Storytellers" out there…As as programmer there's only so much we can showcase but TALENT is out there & it's imperative to cast that light of awareness to their work. I just hope you keep to your word and don't just showcase/mention a few folks then let the topic die out… Please Please Keep at it!!


Good idea. Lookin forward to the new format.


I like this idea of weekly filmmakers to watch because it is something your readers can anticipate and follow. I am a bit nervous lol when you say you will introduce black filmmakers that impress you enough…I still feel there is a strong chance some filmmakers may be overlooked if we hold to specific tastes…got to remove that filter. I look forward to reading these posts.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *