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With the Sale of Indiewire, What Happens Next for Shadow & Act? You Need to Read This…

With the Sale of Indiewire, What Happens Next for Shadow & Act? You Need to Read This...

As I’m sure a lot of you have already heard, Indiewire was purchased by Penske Media earlier this year (January); however, none of the individual blogs are part of the package. And so, in roughly 30 days, Shadow and Act (S&A) will no longer be a part of the Indiewire network. 

As several of you have asked me since news of the sale, what does this mean for the S&A blog? And it’s obviously time that I formerly address it here, and do so very frankly.

In short, I’m still vetting my options.

The longer story…

When I first launched the site in 2009, I had many big ideas for it – ideas that were never fully implemented, if only because of a lack of resources, notably money. It may appear that there’s an entire staff of employees working behind the scenes to keep this site up and running everyday, but, in reality, what many may not be aware of is that, Sergio (who’s been here since the beginning of it all) and myself are the only what you’d call full time employees of S&A. Everyone else who contributes does so on an independent contractor basis. No one is exclusive to S&A. And how often they contribute depends on how much I can pay out each month, which varies, as it’s all based on advertising revenue, which isn’t at all constant. I have to pay my writers. I don’t expect anyone to work for free. I value them and their contributions too much, and we all have to make a living.

I’m a filmmaker first and foremost, and it’s something that I essentially “left behind,” to focus entirely on S&A, because I simply couldn’t do both (while also working a 9-5 job I should mention; although I had to leave it eventually because I just couldn’t do all 3, with very little help). Running a blog in what has become a 24/7 news environment, fraught with challenges that come in the ongoing battle for eyeballs, with very little money and assistance, leaves you practically no time for anything else. And that actually took a toll on me psychologically and physically – the stress of it all specifically – when I had to be rushed to the hospital in 2014 to find out that there were some abnormalities with my heart, due to unchecked extended periods of high blood pressure, which was primarily due to the stress that came with running S&A, working a full-time job, and all the other things I was involved in simultaneously at the time.

My initial long term vision for S&A was to build a global brand – a massive online space where readers anywhere in the world could read/watch/hear about black cinema wherever it was happening. It would comprehensively cover black filmmaking/filmmakers globally, with writers who are informed and are experts in cinema (by and about people of African descent) in whatever country they live in, contributing with some regularity to the website. That was, in short, my initial design. And as time passed, the site would evolve beyond the usual news, interviews, reviews, essays, *think pieces*, etc, adding new features, like original video (scripted and otherwise) content, on-the-ground reporting globally, podcasts, and even eventually financing and producing its own films – the kind of work that we often champion on this blog, but that we are not getting enough of (or at all) from the dominant Hollywood studio system that has demonstrated it isn’t willing to take risks when it comes to content produced by and about people of color (although maybe that’s starting to change somewhat; but for how long, is anyone’s guess). I also envisioned S&A-branded live events, streamed, like round-table discussions, conversations with creatives at all levels (not just those who’ve *made it*), and ongoing screening series, in which we highlight films that may not have been widely-seen but we believe need to be, as well as community and educational spaces (on and offline) where creatives of African descent can network and learn, and so much more – all of it happening on a global scale.

In a nutshell, wherever what we call “black film” is happening, we will be there to cover it, and do so thoroughly.

Long-time readers of this blog will have seen glimpses of all of the above ideas introduced on the site, although just not fully committed efforts, because of, again, unavailable resources. So it’s really now come down to fully committing to the original dream (and the work that it takes to get there), or just letting this go altogether. I don’t like doing things half-assed, pardon the expression; and I feel like that’s essentially what running this blog has been like for the last year-and-a-half since I was hospitalized, as I was unsure of what to do with it, and my well-being suddenly became much more important to me, determined to spend whatever number of years I still have on this earth in the most pleasurable ways possible, and not waste precious minutes dispirited.

I’m not one to grumble, and asking for help or depending on the contributions of others is something of a last resort for me. You can call it both a personality strength, as well as a flaw. I’ve always been entirely dependent on myself, and, for the most part, that strategy has worked well. But I do understand the need for community, especially in this context.

Looking back over the last 6 years, I recognize that there are some things I could’ve done differently to better my situation, but I’m not one to dwell on mishaps and regrets. I’d rather learn and move forward wiser.

Since the 2014 incident, I’ve had other health-related setbacks, which have all put me in an increasingly disheartened state. Then news of the Indiewire sale a couple of months ago, meant that I had to make a very quick decision on what happens next with S&A. So I’ve been in something of a whirlwind since then, considering all my available options, the pros and cons of each, as well as what I really want for myself regardless of everything else. 

And that’s where I currently am.

At least I’ve crossed off most of my available options as I consider each of them individually, and I’m down to a much more manageable few.

I really believe that there’s a need and public want for a web presence the likes of which I summarized above, and that it could be very successful if properly run; especially in a time when issues like “diversity” are cause célèbre here in the USA specifically; although, as we’ve covered on this blog, you’ll find very similar conversations being had across countries in Europe, countries in South America and continental Africa, as well as our neighbors up north, Canada – regions all over the world where people of color are still unfortunately woefully underrepresented in cinema (in front of and behind the camera), and effectively marginalized. If relaunched, it could be a well-run global brand accessible to anyone with an internet connection, anywhere in the world, that we can all be proud of, and will be extremely pleased to know exists.

And if I’m going to do this, I want to do it right and go all the way with it, or not do it at all, which, again, takes hard work, people and of course money to build something of real value. 

In the next week or 2 (at most), I will have reached an answer on what comes next – at least in the short term – and, of course, I will share with you all here. However, a decision on the longer term life of S&A will take a bit more time to reach for a number of reasons – like detailing what it would take to get where I want to go with it, and what resources I have immediate access to.

But you’ll definitely hear from me again on this subject by April 15th at the latest. The only thing I can say with certainty right now is that, at the end of this month (April), there will no longer be an Indiewire network of blogs.

In the meantime, if you’re in the business of ad sales, fundraising, grant writing, sponsorship-seeking, and the like (or you know somebody who is), please email me at obensont@gmail.com. Your expertise would be extremely useful here. Let’s talk.

Thanks to everyone who’s made the site what it’s been thus far (all the writers who’ve contributed over the years, and YOU, the readers)!

This Article is related to: News and tagged


Comments

IG-88

Go too medium like women and hollywood

Lawrence Pratt

i believe a gofundme / indiegogo would work much better than a kickstarter

Floyd Webb

Where do I donate financially? How can I help materially?

.

Patreon? Would someone explain?

Tausif Khan

I definitely agree with Stephany, a Patreon for Shadow and Act would be amazing. It not only allows for funding but builds a community for the blog. Please consider a Patreon for Shadow and Act.

Long Time Reader

After adsorbing the initial shock of the dismantling of their neighborhood, the inhabitants of the unique hub of filmmakers and movie enthusiasts stopped by to pay respect and give their condolences. Although they’ve accepted their fate, many are still understandably pissed-off. One is heard yelling "gentrification is a bit*h who I’d like to choke to death." Another shouts "now I know why Mookie threw that FKing trash can through Sal’s Pizzeria window." It’s interesting to note that Spike Lee, the director of Do The Right Thing said, only white people ever asked him that question? Hmmmmmm, the frustrated victims of the Shadow and Act neighborhood knows why and has seen it far too often. Now they’re left to wonder why, this time, and what can they do to prevent a recurrence? Well, it has been said that if one does the same thing over and over again, they’ll likely get the same results, over and over again. In this case, the opened-minded folks at Shadow and Act are wondering, pondering, questioning where they may have made the wrong turn? One reader suggested a similarity between Shadow and Act’s present predicament to that of the "victims" in the movie "Cadillac Records". That movie centered around a white businessman who "backed" early recording artist. He could be called a white savior. Well, although the artists gained some "popularity", the savior owned EVERYTHING! Additional, the artist had contractual agreements with the boss man which prevented them from shopping their talents to someone else. Speaking of offering one’s talents to a prospective buyer and how it relates to "Shadow and Act", a reader said… "Whenever, I typed in S&A, I was always routed to Indiewire then I was routed back to S&A. Guess who got those clicks?" Well, I am left to wonder, what does the blog S&A (not Indiewire) have to offer advertisers? In fact, moving forward, S&A’s future is filled with a land mind of serious questions and issues which must be addressed before moving forward. First, and arguably the most important truth is, Tambay cannot continue doing this by his-self. I’ve said this many times, I don’t know how in the hell he maintained this wonderful neighborhood all by himself?! Those who write know the difficulties of researching and writing commentary for ONE issue or film, let alone upwards of 7-10 a day! He is the hardest working man in the blogosphere who, unfortunately, has shared that it’s killing him, slowly. Granted, his road dog, Sergio, his ride or die partner has his back, but the bulk of the heavy lifting (I assume) rests at Tambay’s feet. All the above to say, as Jim Brown said to his friend Richarad Prior, when Richard was "up against it", what ya gonna do now? The knock is at the door with a note in it’s hand. NOTICE: "Shadow and Act, I think ya better call Tyrone! (Call Him) and tell him come on, help you get your sh*t." So what are we gonna do now. I say "we" because just as in the real world, when someone passes away, folks stop by with get-well cards, fond memories and suggests they will be there if you need them. Well, it’s time. However, some folks are down for the fun (great memories) but are not down for the fight. Borrowing from the World War II poster "Uncle Sam Needs You", Shadow and Act and Tambay needs "US".

Vichus

Well, onto the next step. Thank you for the articles, and the inspiration for conversation. I don’t hate indiewire, but I don’t like the site- the design of it. If S&A goes on (or if it’s becomes something else under a different name) I hope it looks as best as it can.

Jo

Meant to write, "keep us updated on any kickstarters."

Jo

This site is so valuable and important. It saddens me to read this and hear about your health problems. Wishing you a speedy recovery and of course, your health comes first. But do know that you have a dedicated following and we want to save this site. Keep us updated on any following. Also, do advertise if you need freelance writers or any form of assistance. Even if the readers can’t help, I’m sure we know someone who can. We are a community and will work together to ensure that this gem of a site stays relevant and can set out to achieve the goals you envisioned. Stay blessed.

Mary

Please let it be known if there is an indiego/kickstarter/whatever campaign. You’re doing great, important work & I’d happily contribute to keep it going.

flubsurfer

I agree with Ms.Stone. Lets do a kickstarter. This website is important.

Shay

I agree, a Kickstarter – I’ll donate. Stay independent. At least give yourself a little breathing space – even if you decide to apply for grants etc – that can ages.

Nadine Patterson

If you and Sergio ran a subscription service, I would pay for it! Shadow & Act is needed. We will stand with you. Just ask.

A Strachan

Sorry to hear about your ill health. Many things go behind the scenes we don’t know about. Happy to pay to use site as very useful.

Lon Haber

I have been such a fan of yours and "Shadow and Act" for so many years … The content, always interesting, intriguing, and often groundbreaking. I will be so sad to see it go as I will so many people, I assume, I have worked with and admired over the years. You have our support always.

Joyce & Julie

When I first discovered this blog, I visited it so much I eventually made it my homepage. I’ve shared so many articles with friends and family. I’ve shown many of your shorts at the Black History Month events at my job. My sister and I especially love the global film selections you review. We are at a lose. However, I believe you will take this blog to an even greater level. Good luck!

EQ

Firstly, your health comes FIRST. PLEASE make sure you are doing whatever needs to be done to get your health in order.

Secondly, this is one of two blogs/twitter accounts I actually turned on notifications for. This has been an INVALUABLE resource for me as an artist of color, so much rich content! You have done so much for us already THANK YOU! Whichever way you decide I’ll definitely support (though admittedly I selfishly want more S&A lol)!!

Rocket

Tambay, Thanks for all you have done with this blog. It is a great contribution to our otherwise vapid media marketplace. I have supported many projects thanks to this blog. And I am willing to contribute to any campaign you put together. Lastly, please take take care of yourself.

Timothy Holloway

I’m sorry to read this. As a black filmmaker and avid reader of S&A, I’m very aware of the equity this blog has for the community it serves. With that said, I have some ideas on how you could take it to the next level instead of it disappearing all together (think visual media). With the exposure you’ve garnered and the dedicated following, I’m sure what I’m suggesting is not only doable, but profitable. Shoot me an email and let’s talk more. Be well and stay encouraged.

dee

So Sorry to hear the news. I lIVE for S&A content. I have been a reader/member for years now. Sometimes a door may close, because there is something bigger and better in store. You need to your blog on your own platform. I will support!

Ayo

Wishing you all the best– your blog is so valuable– we need it!

VDN

Just reached out to you via email. Hope you feeling better famo!!!

NaLah

Bless you, the writers and staff over the years. I’m sure there will be a solution that benefits all involved. S&A is such a valuable resource in itself! I thank you and would definitely be open to contribute. I’m sure you’ve thought of a subscription-based service. (Hey, many of your readers support Netflix/Hulu, etc. Why not?) I know that may not be the answer but I really want to see this platform last. Thank you again for all you do.

jonflores

I get so much great info from S&A! Hope you/we figure out how to keep it going!

MIchael

Hello, I tried to send a message with an idea for you to check out, but I got a message that said ‘Your comment seems to be spammy’, which it wasn’t. In any event, best of luck. S&A is a daily ‘go to’ for me and I hope you come up with a great new opportunity to grow and thrive in.

Donna White

Your work and your vision definitely have value; however, if you wreck your health in the process…well, DON’T. Nothing would be worth that. Do what you need to…but put your health first.

dizziblue

thank you so much for the work you have done here; I don’t remember how I came across this website but it has been a needed window into black cinema (as I’ve logged on from my posts in west Africa, Central Europe, and now the UK). I look forward to hearing about and supporting your next steps.

kai azor

So sad to see this. I’m down to pay for a subscription.

Sehar

You are too valuable to loose. Will support any fundraiser you put forth

Nicole

I know exactly what you went through with your health issues stemming from juggling a bunch of things. I pray for the best for you and thank you for the information you have shared. I will support your efforts wherever God’s grace takes you.

Dan Mann

I can assure you there are over 2000 Black film enthusiasts who would love to contribute articles and reviews to Shadow and Act in the diaspora. S&A has become a very essential part of our lives as filmmakers, consumers and critics. I think you should have a few new commercial sections i.e critics, production tips & Gear, business, Pr, News, guest posts, festivals, Paid PR, etc. Most importantly is getting the contributions from others

Frank Holder

What’s really sad is the amount of industry folks who have already this article and who can help and who are probably still going to sit there and do nothing while one of the best websites in the business is on the verge of closing down.

Gigi Young

I’ve been reading S&A for at least four years. I hope to be reading it in the future. Whatever happens, you all have my full support.

Dave R

You and Sergio have both encountered these health issues, and I wish you both sustained good health.

I’m a big fan of S & A, and Indiewire itself. I pretty much check the site daily these days. In previous years I would only visit every once in a while.

Listen, a lot of people are proposing the crowdfunding angle, but let me put it out there; maybe scaling back for a while to get a grasp on things is ok too. Clearly you folks have issues on your mind so you want to express things on a daily basis, but if it takes operating on smaller scale for a while don’t be afraid to go that way. Or even letting the readers play a bigger role by building out. It’s not hard to setup wordpress and configure for user content. Not to mention the forum model; yes it’s "old" but I know forums that are super large (and make tons of money).

To recap; the future S & A doesn’t have to look and operate like the current one. You gone be a’ight bruh!

SIMONE

I’am really sad to hear this news, we need to support each other. The idea of African American Culture in general need to survive. It’s not a dream, it’s a legitimate affirmation of what we are, in connection of a long history of discrimination. We need to fight for ourselves, no one will do that for us. Your have my entire support since the first time ans it’s be continued regardless what will your ultimate decision. I think crowdfunding is a good thing. Respect for accomplishment, i’m grateful to read you every time. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I’m speechless and hope some solutions will be find.

Jamie Walker

This was very disheartening to read, however, I am eager to support and to hear updates on Shadow and Act’s future direction. I’m sure that we all know how valuable Shadow and Act has been — not just to Black cinema but to WORLD cinema. It has given voice, perspective, and a unique lens on cinema throughout the Black diaspora, which is often excluded, undervalued, and/or marginalized by the mainstream. More importantly, it has documented new and established independent Black filmmakers as well as producers, directors, media and change makers. I am certainly here to help in any capacity and am so very grateful for your chronicling my own work and film projects via Shadow and Act. Thank you for keeping us updated, attuned, and alert to Shadow and Act’s future direction. We simply will not abandon this precious resource that has been vital to ALL filmmakers — regardless of gender, race, background, or orientation. It is essential to the world of independent film and a valuable resource for agents, acquisition directors, and distributors.

Also, there would be a lot more comments here but, unfortunately, a glitch on this website prevents supporters from hitting the submit button (a pop up tab on the far right appears that says "You May Also Like"), preventing folk from commenting because the pop up tab sits over the Submit Button for the Comment Box. :o

Wishing you every success!

Abundant Light,
Jamie Walker
Producer/Writer, Director, and Lecturer

Skinny Corleone

long live SHADOW & ACT !!!

Barbara

You’ve done an excellent job with this site. Your dream of making a global connection is what’s needed, and it will happen. I hope you will be the one to do it. If you do a Fund Me request, I will definitely contribute, and ask friends to do so as well. Keep us informed, and best of luck with your health.

Tarrell Childs

Disheartening. You should look into what Dr. Boyce Watkins is doing. He has a network of websites and affiliates that seem to be doing quite successful and are geared towards the same purposes as you and your creation, Shadow and Act. Good fortune and safe journey to you.

Bridgie James

So sad to hear the news. However, I will look forward to the future editions/articles of S&A in a new website or blog.

Davyjc

Thank you so much for sharing with your readership the personal and professional struggle to keep S&A alive. It is a thoughtful and wholly needed resource for the African Diaspora entertainment community. Being independent or part of a larger company, it’s clear the voice will remain the same. We are a strong community and we will support you and S&A. Nothing on the web is quite like it. Change may be good and it may be more profitable in the long run.

Reelblack

Kickstarter. It worked for Double Toasted. I’m down.

PhredG

Take good care of yourself FIRST (like the "When the oxygen mask drops . . ." on a plane analogy). S&A has always been my go-to site for info on POC in the visual entertainment industry. I can’t contribute a lot of fund$ but I’ll give what/when I can. Keep us posted. You are a treasure Tambay.

Darkan

You guys have done so much for black filmmakers the indie community and black cinema. Thank you Tambay and Sergio for all you have done for me and the many others you’ve helped!!! Get better Sergio and whatever decision you make Tambay we support you! Best to you!!!

Pedro Bermudez

Thank you for your dedicated efforts, and for championing our films. This is a vital space that must continue. Count on our support!

No

I’m more concerned about your physical health and wish Godspeed in it and recovery. That Penske msy not pick on Shadow & Act says a great deal about journalism regarding black and diaspora films. Yet it is mirrors what happens in Hollywood. Good night, and good luck.

Screen Nation Media

We stand with you. See you at the crossroads.

Troublemaker

I would like to add that maybe you could take a meeting with Black Enterprise and get some advice and feedback from them on how to proceed. Another suggestion, maybe you can take a meeting with UniWorld Group and discuss getting commercials on your own site. I don’t mind clicking on some commercials if it means that you can continue to maintain 100% control. If I had the money, I would just cut you a check because you’re so needed in this industry. Please stay healthy and just remember that you and this site have a lot of support behind you.

Joseph

Echoing many of the other sentiments — as I cut down the number of online sites I subscribed too there was no way I’d go without S&A. I also agree that you should challenge those of us who feel strongly about S&A to demonstrate our appreciation by responding to whatever campaign you design. I will certainly donate. But I join others in urging you to attend first to your health and think of ways to pull in other folks to help producing the great news and commentary that both satisfies me and others, and also pisses me off at times!!! The fact that I keep coming back means that I appreciate your work either way!!!!

Jason Pollard

I loved this site for years and have faithfully checked it everyday. Stay healthy and happy Tambay and let’s keep this site alive!!!

yes set up a patreon profile and do a kickstarter, this blog makes me feel relevant as a black filmmaker so do what it takes to keep it going, we'll help!

Mickael.N

Peggy

I think I know what heart problems you have because I have the same due to stress. I’ve decided the same to spend my time left working to make the African American presence in film its greatest. I wish you well.

Jason Gilmore

Hey Tambay,

Very sorry to hear about your health concerns. This website has been invaluable to me both as a filmmaker and a film fan and I agree with everyone who suggests a Kickstarter/Indiegogo/GoFundMe campaign would be a great idea and I’m willing to help as a donor and/or organizer as I do know a bit of what it entails.

When I saw the news of the Penske sale, the future of Shadow & Act was my first (and only, honestly) thought. Thanks for giving us an update. Just know (as I often have to learn and relearn, being a similarly lone wolf-like creature) that you have more supporters than you realize.

Brian

I wonder if I were to give you some of my contacts in ad sales and grant writing would you even reply back ? Cause you never had replied back once to any of my colleagues emails for coverage. You pick and choose. We see. Have seen for some years now. Good luck

Dennis Doros

I want to say that as a distributor of "classic" indie black films that was rarely of interest to the mass media (or most programmers), S&A was the one place we could depend on to get the word out in an exacting and interesting manner. You’ve accomplished so much in these years and the ripples keep spreading out. Thank you!

dnwilliams

Patreon

ANGELA OKEY

Great Blog. It’s sad that such an invaluable, independent resource is ending…wish there was a way to help.

Jaye Daniels

Please let us know what we can do to help. I don’t mind donating to a Kickstarter page or something similar to it. I’m also here read, proofread, edit, research, if you need someone like that for free. :) I’m a teacher so I don’t mind reading papers haha.

M. Legend Brown

If you do a kickstarter I’ll donate or pledge as well to get the word out. We got you. Filmmakers like myself need your platform.

eric

I started coming here after Concrete Loop closed. It’s hard to find one place that has great news and information about blacks in tv/film. Articles with substance are usually buried beneath tons of trashy gossip – this blog has kept me from having to sift through websites like that. I would be very sorry to see S&A go, but health comes first.

Hugh Bouvier

WOW! Thank you for sharing. I’m sorry for the health and wealth problems. I am someone and/or probably know a few folks in the areas you need assistance. Send me an e-mail with your info.
Blessings
Hugh

Shondra L. Cooper

Hey! I’ve been a long-time reader of your blog. I don’t have much, but please keep me aware of any online giving campaigns. I’m happy to donate what I can and help with writing, editing, etc. I love this blog and what it brings.

Nicole

Thank you for your vision, effort, time and sacrifice. Also I appreciate your candor with regards to what is going on behind the scenes. Just want to reiterate how important this blog is to me and that I’d be willing to subscribe or contribute to it through indiegogo or Patreon. Shadow and Act is a vital resource and I look forward to reading it every day. Good Luck.

Eric

Get well soon. I love this blog and I would support any type of campaign you decide to do. Hopefully we can all come together and save S&A.

Ben je

Sorry to hear this. Wherever you go please let us know and in everything you do, put your health first.

Anonymous

First off, THANK YOU and Sergio for all that you do. I think this forum is more valuable than most people realize and has been HUGELY beneficial in uniting, exposing and promoting black film. There’s literally no place like it and I understand the incredibly hard work it takes to keep something like this going. I’m sure you’re already reviewing this, but don’t rule out another partnership. I can’t imagine with your reach and viewership another company wouldn’t jump at the chance of bringing you into their fold. The Root comes to mind immediately or a more creative partnership with another larger media entity. It takes a proposal and a lot of meetings but I can’t see someone not jumping on the chance to capitalize off of the incredible equity you’ve already created. There SHOULD be a Shadow and Act film festival. There SHOULD be a Shadow and Act online vhx media network. There SHOULD be a traveling Shadow and Act forum to discuss film. Getting to the resources is a journey but with your influence and connections within the media world at this point I can’t see that journey taking that long for you. Peace. Goodspeed. And Good Health brother. Thanks again for a job well done.

Troublemaker

I’m very sad to hear about the state of affairs & health of S&A and it’s owner. My advice is try to incorporate some daily exercises to help keep your stress levels down. If only for a half hour. About S&A blog, contact Moguldom and see if you guys can do a partnership.

ms.stone

Let’s do kick starter! Keep you independent. So many of us will support Shadow & Act! I know I will!

juliette

Thank you for sharing this. Your blog is a valuable resource. Whatever you do, we will support you!

Stephany Lowe

Sorry to hear about your health. I know how stress and can wreck your body and mind. I love this blog immensely. I want to see it continue. I think you should do an indiego fund and join Patreon. You have quite a bit of dedicated eyes. Whatever happens I am sure depending on how you spin it. Change is good.

Mark and Darla

Sorry to hear about your health problems, here to give what little I have.

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