Anti-Racist Filmmaking: Read & Listen

[This is PART I of the WMM Anti-Racist Filmmaking blog series. Visit 
wemakemovies.org/blog for the next FOUR parts.]
 



The following is by no means a complete list, but it is a place to start. 

  1. Me and White Supremacy: Combat Racism, Change the World, and Become a Good Ancestor, by Layla F. Saad
  2. White Fragility: Why It's So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, by Robin DiAngelo
  3. So You Want to Talk About Race, by Ijeoma Oluo
  4. Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, by Ibram X. Kendi
  5. The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, by Michelle Alexander
  6. How to Be an Antiracist, by Ibram X. Kendi
  7. Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
  8. Women, Race, & Class, by Angela Davis
  9. The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century, by Grace Lee Boggs
  10. Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-create Race in the Twenty-first Century, by Dorothy Roberts
  11. ...
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Anti-Racist Filmmaking: Watch List

[This is PART IV of the WMM Anti-Racist Filmmaking blog series. Visit
wemakemovies.org/blog for the other FOUR parts.]

Dear Filmmakers, it's time we refine our catalogue of films that detail the Black experience. The American collective knowledge of the film franchise, Friday, the seminal Boyz N The Hood, and the eminent Malcolm X just doesn't cut it. There are a plethora of films Black voices have offered up, and they beg to be consumed with as much enthusiasm and appreciation as any film from their White counterparts. 

There are films that were previously buried by the American ego, but have recently been resurrected in light of the BLM movement gaining a newfound audience in the past year. The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975, directed by Swedish filmmaker Göran Olsson, is one such film. Genre-busting content such as the racial revelation disguised as a superhero, sci-fi series Watchmen (created...

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Ethical Filmmaking 101

Please note that WMM NEVER wanted to become the arbiters of taste and decency for its community. We HATE censorship of any kind.  However, given the times we are living in, we also feel that artistic guidelines for the community that we want to have and participate in, are needed.

Above all, we feel if you operate with the golden rule of “Do unto others as you would like to have done unto yourself,” we want to think that you will never have a problem with a piece that you bring to We Make Movies. However, because everything in our world now needs to be spelled out, and mutual respect and decency are no longer givens in our society, here is our official policy on what is and is not acceptable in the We Make Movies community.

We Make Movies holds the following truths to be self evident:

  • You have a right to the freedom of speech and the freedom to explore challenging ideas and subject matter.
  • You have a right to develop your voice as a creator.
  • You have a right to...
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POV: Slamdance Premiere for WMMIntl Alum Skinner Myers

Welcome to the inaugural issue of our new profile series, POV, where we dive into the rich worlds filmmakers create through their stories and unique perspectives. Our first guest is spirited filmmaker, Skinner Myers, whose film, "Things Of Beauty Burn" screened at our WMMINTL Film Festival last September, and whose latest film, "The Sleeping Negro," premieres at Slamdance in less than two weeks. 
 
Myers is an award-winning filmmaker, actor, photographer, and Loyola Marymount University film professor. His body of film work includes writing and directed four short films ("Chimera," "The Last Supper," "Obscured," and "Nigger") while studying film at USC School of Cinematic Arts. His film, "La Tierra Del Exodo," screened in over 90 festivals worldwide and collected many awards, including Best Screenplay and Best Short Film. His next film, "Frank Embree," took home the Grand Jury Award at the 2018 Hollyshorts Film Festival, and his...
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WMM Smartphone Studio Is A Hit At SAG-AFTRA

Two weeks in a row, President of SAG-AFTRA, Gabrielle Carteris invited We Make Movies’ Smartphone Studio to present at her weekly PTEOE (President’s Task Force on Education, Outreach and Engagement) livestreams for the SAG-AFTRA community. In just under two short weeks, the videos have accumulated a combined view count of over 9K, and are only gaining momentum on the SAG-AFTRA YouTube channel. At the end of week two’s presentation, presenters Aubrey Mozino and Sam Mestman earned high praise from Carteris, who declared “Your program, what you have been offering is really something that has resonated with the members. And I want to say thank you for that,  because you are helping to empower. And we want everybody to feel empowered, particularly at a time when everybody feels very vulnerable. You’re really allowing people the ability to see their future."

And empowerment is indeed the goal of Mozino and Mestman, who  developed the...
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WMM Life Hack: Mental Health Tips For Filmmakers

The downtime in between projects tends to leave creatives in the indie film world in a bit of dispirited suspension. The quest for the foolproof script, barriers of financing, procurement and scheduling of cast and crew, and a plethora of other variables can warrant long periods of time without stepping foot on set. Then there are external circumstances, such as an indefinite moratorium on the industry as a whole (you know, our past year in a nutshell), that spawn insecurity in every sense of the word. Thankfully, there are many things a filmmaker can do to stay sharp and geared up for the next opportunity to be on set. Think of the following as a self-care kit for the filmmaker.
 
There are the basics of self-care, to ensure a healthy mental, emotional, and physical state of being. These apply to everyone. Hydrate. Nourish your body with proper food that enables you to sustain energy, while agreeing with your system....
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WMM Life Hack: Get Organized With Color

We are a simple google search away from being able to access libraries of information about any topic. Filmmakers looking to discover the latest gadget to accompany their smartphone camera, find a DIY method to achieve a high end look for their film, or simply brush up on a technique via a tutorial, need look no further than industry-centric sites like ours. Yet, when it comes to the simple question of how to have a productive day (when not on set), creative professionals commonly struggle with how to manage their schedules, succeed with maximum efficiency, and strike that evasive life-work balance. In an industry where multi-hyphenates have become the norm, this struggle is reeeeal.

The more hats a creative multi-hyphenate wears, the more complex the schedules, priorities, obligations, and workflows seem to become. For a certain elite pack, a personal assistant can curb some of this stress, but at the end of the day, the day can only be lived by the person...

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WMM Smartphone Studio Inspires Chicago

As part of our eARTh Project series, we have highlighted the impact of purposeful video literacy. Demographics that lacked the resources and opportunities to learn about content creation, were gifted with an education in how to effectively and efficiently tell stories, bringing them one step closer to being marketable in the work force at large. What they didn't count on though, was the education in real life skills, that can only be learned experientially.  

Twenty five teens in Chicago convened for the Untold Stories project, where they honed in on critical life skills, such as time management, scheduling, and the basic structure of writing. Adaptability became a central focus point, as they navigated circumstances and had to learn to "mold the interview to fit the script, or mold the script to fit the interview," as one student eloquently put it. They learned that sometimes the most important question is "what stories do we want to tell?" and...

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WMM Smartphone Studio Inspires St. Louis

We Make Movies teamed up with Apple Distinguished Educator, Don Goble, who then partnered with the St. Louis Cardinals and Mercy Hospital to bring the St. Louis Summer Stories program to a dozen rising seniors with little to no journalism or video production experience. The free, two week, immersive mobile journalism, video storytelling program focused around social and community development, and the teens were invited to learn how to operate the various donated Apple and OWC  gear to tell the stories of their communities. However, the equipment, software, and education they received was only part of the equation. The teens could not have asked for a more heightened experience, as they witnessed history in the making against the backdrop of the BLM movement and a global health crisis. 
 
With the world already adapting to a virtual way of life due to the pandemic, the skills of communication, problem solving, and media literacy have never been more...
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We Make Movies and eARTh Project Chicago Summer Stories Inspires Next Generation of Storytellers

Following the success of the eARTh Project in Compton, CA, We Make Movies partnered up with Apple and the Kerry Wood Foundation to bring the program to Chicago, IL. The third installment of the Summer Stories was helmed by Steve Douglass, an Apple Distinguished Educator. Twelve students from various socio-economic backgrounds and neighborhoods of both suburban and inner city Chicago, came together to get a crash course in how to make a movie with iPhones.
 
Without the fuss of navigating complex gear, the kids learned to tell their stories with the portable, lightweight, and easy to use filmmaking tools totaling less than $300. The program instead, "emphasised iteration, practical knowledge, critical thinking, and collaboration," an intentional design of Sam Mestman, CEO of WMM and LumaForge. His hope is that the next generation of storytellers will walk away with "situational awareness, presence, resilience, communication skills, and adaptability to new...
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