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12 June 2011

What Colour is Indie

Guest Post: Ava DuVernay “What Color is Indie?”
Back in January I heard of Ava DuVernay for the first time when the NYTimes ran a story on her new distro initiative. I thought “wow, there’s a good idea, that can be replicated in many forms.” It lifted my spirits, but then the assault of super-abundance of everything pulled my attention elsewhere. Recently, my attention got pulled back when a Twitter conversation turned it to the overtly white male dominance of the “indie scene”. Fortunately, I was put in touch with Ava, and she guest posts today with some of experiences in DIWO distribution.

My name is Ava DuVernay and I just completed a 7-week theatrical release of my film I WILL FOLLOW in 20 major US cities, including NY and LA, without studio or corporate backing and no formal P&A. The release was accomplished through AFFRM, a black film distribution collective that I founded. Have you heard of us?

I may incorrectly assume that most of Ted’s readers have never heard of AFFRM, or I WILL FOLLOW, or the excellent black film orgs that make up the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement—for which AFFRM stands.

Why do I think that? Because we haven’t cracked that American indie establishment circle. You know, the Tribeca-Indiewire-IFP-FilmIndependent-SXSW-Lincoln Center of it all. The gate-keepers to the mainstream indie treasures. We haven’t had their attention. So we might’ve slipped by you.

It’s weird. Some new group pulls off an $11,235 per screen full-run simultaneously in multiple cities with absolutely no formal P&A, no four-walling, no touring, no service deal on their first try, and enterprising filmmakers and film pros don’t want the skinny on how? Maybe you just hadn’t heard. We’ve had full features in NY Times, LA Times, CNN, NPR and USA Today, but not one inquiry from the many DIY, DIWO, new distribution panel programmers or experts? The circle is tight.

Read the rest here.

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