Ava DuVernay and AFFRM

Ever since I’ve been blogging I’ve made it a point to blog/bitch about the lack of diversity in Hollywood. After making a little progress in the 80’s and 90’s Hollywood seemed to go into reverse by the late 90’s and thru much of the 2000’s when it came to seeing black actors and actresses in tv and film. In the past few years progress seems to be improving in television thanks to Shonda Rhimes with Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy. And now with Empire, Blackish, How to Get Away with Murder and Being Mary Jane things seem to be improving again. The upcoming 2015/2016 television season might see even more faces of color. But feature films are another story.

When it comes to blacks folks starring in films we’re lucky if we see 2-4 feature films a year. Then we wonder when award season comes around why there aren’t any black Oscar nominees.  I’m saying this because I recently joined a group I found out about through Twitter called the African American Film Festival Releasing Movement (AFFRM).

AFFRM was started by Golden Globe nominated director Ava DuVernay.  Ava directed the Oscar nominated film Selma and she wrote and directed Middle of Nowhere and I Will Follow.

ava_duvernay

Just before that, in 2011, DuVernay started the African American Film Festival Releasing Movement with the goals of empowering black, independent filmmakers with theatrical and multi-platform distribution through Array Releasing. Yesterday marked the beginning of the second annual membership drive for AFFRM (African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement), which is broadening its reach to include filmmakers of color and women.

Right now they are having their second annual membership drive for AFFRM. Members don’t have to be in the filmmaking business. You can be a film fan like myself.

AFFRM’s member program was started last year because, since its inception, AFFRM was financed out of DuVernay’s own pocket. With no sponsors and no grants, AFFRM is run by a 30-person volunteer staff with the help of organizations and museums from around the country. Last year, the organization turned to the community and began its “Rebel” member program where fellow filmmakers, actors or simply fans can donate, becoming either a “Digital Rebel” for $40 or a “Full Rebel” for $100. Last year they hoped for 500 members and got about 750. This year their goal is 1000.

ava_duvernay2

To learn more about AFFRM check out the website.  You can read more about Ava at IndieWire.

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