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Advocacy Within The Film Community

America has proven that being a part of the Black and Latino community, or any other marginalized group, comes with a unique set of ups and downs. Being a Black or Latino filmmaker in America is no different. A clear issue within the film industry is diversity, and filmmakers, actors, and behind the scenes workers fight every day for inclusion. With women and people of color being underemployed as film directors, we are left to consider reasons for this.

Unfortunately, there are many reasons why there’s a lack of inclusion within the film industry, which makes it impossible to point the finger at one person. Although there isn’t a quick fix for this issue, people have been battling this diversity issue by approaching it from different angles. People have been fighting to provide childcare for mothers within the film industry which would allow more women to be employed in a business that is dominated by men. In New York, the community has been pushing for the TV Diversity Tax Credit Bill to be passed, which would give $5 million to companies that hire women or minority writers or directors. Although State Senator Marisol Alcantara and Assemblyman Marcos Crespo advocated for more diversity in the film industry, Governor Andrew Cuomo vetoed this historic opportunity. All is not lost and the fight must continue. The Black and Latino Filmmakers Coalition takes pride in advocating for these issues.

There is so much that needs to be done and now is the time to push for change. If you are interested in advocating for an important cause with the Black and Latino Filmmakers Coalition email advocacy@blackandlatinofilm.com. Join our Advocacy Committee or volunteer and become a part of something bigger.

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Member Spotlight

Making her way from Louisville, Kentucky, Toni Williams has pushed herself to pursue a promising film career in New York. This University of Michigan graduate earned a position at Con Edison as a Director of Corporate Affairs. Although Toni reached a level of success that everyone hopes to achieve, she still wanted more. Toni worked as an Adjunct Professor at St. Francis College which gave her the opportunity to launch Brooklyn Savvy.

Brooklyn Savvy is a show that inspires and informs the viewer about issues that are important to their lives. This series discusses topics that are rarely focused on in mainstream media, but deserve attention. Toni’s wanted Brooklyn Savvy to be a platform that levels the playing field. She realized that too often people of color don’t know what they need to know until it is too late, or never find out at all. She wanted to interrupt that inequity by sharing what she has learned through her various experiences and interactions.

Being a mother has only made Toni more committed to achieving all her goals. Since she knows that having a family to support requires a stable source of income she still has her position at Con Edison that provides security while also working on Brooklyn Savvy, still fulfilling her creative aspirations. Toni Williams plans to have her series distributed to major platforms and she plans to achieve that with BLFC’s help. After joining earlier this year, Toni won Best Unscripted Televisions Series at the Black and Latino Film Awards. She is also working with BLFC to get her series on Amazon and working towards a way to monetize her work. Keep an eye out for more projects from Toni Williams and visit brooklynsavvytv.com to find out more about her series.

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Benefit From BLFC

With summer around the corner, everyone is growing more excited for their unforgettable summer adventures. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the planning of summer trips. Everyone daydreams about vacationing and going out during those warm months, but no one remembers the headache of saving up money. Fortunately being a BLFC member can relieve the money issues. The Black and Latino Filmmakers Coalition offers plenty of discounts that can bring anyone’s vacation goals to life. Spend the day flying through the air at Six Flags Great Adventure. Rides like El Toro and Nitro will definitely give you that exhilarating adrenaline rush that makes waiting in those long lines worth it. You can save up to 40% using you BLFC membership. Want to do something that satisfies your artistic needs? Take a trip to Broadway and enjoy New York’s world-renowned theatre scene. Save $45 on Chicago, a musical that will leave you breathless. In the mood to laugh? Watch The Play That Goes Wrong, a comedy where things go from bad to terribly wrong. This play will leave you laughing even after the curtain closes. You can enjoy this experience for as low as $30, with discounts over 35%. Ready to reap the benefits of being a BLFC member? Email membership@blackandlatinofilm.com and take full advantage of your membership benefits.

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“Cut. Print. That’s A Wrap!” Now What?

Independent filmmakers and creative entrepreneurs dedicate their lives to create a story for the world to watch, but most don’t even question: “How will I get my film distributed?”.  Film distribution, is pivotal in the filmmaking process. In simple terms, distribution allows your film to be viewed by a larger audience. A film distributor, would determine the marketing strategy, the medium it will be exhibited on, set the release date and other matters. Securing a distribution deal with a distributor separates amateur from professional. Distributors are looking for ways they can make a sufficient return on their investment. How much money can your project bring in? This part of filmmaking can be very intimidating and because of this most shy away from pursuing distribution deals and settle for self-distributing services. With the ever-changing digital world, film distribution is conforming with tech trends. Companies like YouTube and Video Demand allow you to upload your work for free or for a premium subscription. Self-distributing your film sounds hopeful with the world at your fingertips, but how do you get the world to come watch what you put out? YouTube and Video Demand leave you stranded to come up with all marketing aspects of your film. On top of that, you must pass a viewing threshold, in order to start receiving monetary reward. Streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon, iTunes each come with set stipulations for distribution. However, overall all big named services encourage all independent filmmakers to be matched with established or approved distributors in order for your work to be considered. iTunes only accepts feature-length motion pictures or documentaries that were initially released in theaters or directly to video and short films of theatrical/DVD quality. Therefore, you need a reputable distributor in your corner.  Babatunde Odesanya, founder of Black and Latino Filmmakers Coalition (BLFC), has created African Studios, where BLFC members can make their vision turn into reality. Working in all stages of the filmmaking process, from development through distribution, African Studios is the brains behind your project. It was established in 2001 and since has worked their way to allowing filmmakers to distribute their films. African Studios is open to all filmmakers. African Studios has relationships with many screening outlets like Amazon, Lionsgate, Theaters, and much more. African Studios has a larger focus on Amazon because they have a great partnership, but their outlets are not limited to only Amazon. This company provides an opportunity for filmmakers to receive compensation for their work. A lot of outlets don’t measure up to Amazon’s earning potential, which is why African Studios uses Amazon’s platform more frequently. It is easy to forget that the goal is to get people to watch and enjoy your film. So be ahead of the game and have a distribution plan ready when pursuing your project.