After the recent Presidential election, I (Christina) was feeling a need to take action and contextualize my role as an artist in the coming battle against the normalization of hate in our country. I decided the best thing I could do right now would be to use my reach as a leader in the NY film community to create a space where local artists could get together face to face and really brainstorm ways we can use our individual and collective voices to make a difference. I reached out to Nicole Solomon and Sean Mannion of 4MileCircus about this idea, and they really brought it to life - helping organize the event itself and lend their voices to getting the conversation started. Ultimately, we wanted to create an organized but open forum for any artists to share their ideas and offer opportunities to collaborate for the cause.
Overall, we discussed the importance of representation and creating space for marginalized individuals to tell their own stories. We touched on making public commitments to inclusivity and holding each other accountable. For instance, in terms of freelancing, we discussed the power of saying no and of asking questions, and having expectations out of collaborators. That discussion largely revolved around defining your own line -- setting a personal standard and being transparent about that. There was discussion of union organizing, like if Trump were to be on the Jimmy Fallon show again, if the camera crew refused to work, that episode wouldn't happen. That branched off into exploring how we can use our collective power in big and small ways. And we ended talking quite a bit about various outreach opportunities going on.
Below is a video recap of some of the conversation. It was two hours that we turned into 12 minutes. We want to offer a look into what was discussed but also highlight the importance of being in the room and actually showing up, so we won't be releasing the full video.
We'd like to thank everyone who was able to make it and participate in the discussion. We tried to include a snippet from everyone who spoke. Unfortunately, two people weren't caught on camera due to our camera cutting out. We apologize to them. One person who is a union member discussed the importance of who you hire in your crew and making hard commitments to have diverse team members who can rise in their department. Another person spoke about partnering with organizations on an educational level. An example that came up was IndieWorks alum, Foster Care Film project.
Shout-out to CongestedCat team members Kelsey & Ryan for shooting the video and taking notes, and collaborator Kimberly Drew Whiten for editing it. And thank you again to everyone who's taking part in this fight.
If anyone who couldn't make it would like to be added to the listserv for updates about future gatherings or relevant projects that attendees are working on, please send us a message.