NOTE: This one-night event takes place on Tuesday, February 2 at 5:00pm PST / 7:00pm CST / 8:00pm EST. It is an interactive event that will be hosted virtually via Zoom and have closed captions through Rev. See all of our Sundance panels here.
The independent film industry continues to grapple with long-standing inequities that exclude BIPOC and LGBTQ+ filmmakers from telling their stories, including access to film financing and feasible ways to make a living as a filmmaker. This 90-minute, participatory session will center on dismantling industry gatekeeping, disrupting independent film distribution, and empowering BIPOC/LGBTQ+ creators to tell their stories.
The session will begin with a brief discussion using case studies drawn from Northwest Film Forum (Seattle), Full Spectrum Features (Chicago), the Luminal Theater (New York), and their touring short film collection and mentorship program, Our Right To Gaze: Black Film Identities.
Participants will then move into breakout rooms for facilitated conversations around shared challenges, collective empowerment, and coalition building within different artistic communities. This session requires active listening and engagement, as participants will be challenged to find common ground and share ideas to inspire future individual and collective action plans.
Eugene Sun Park
Full Spectrum Features
Eugene is a filmmaker and producer working in scripted narrative and experimental forms. His films have screened at over 400 festivals, micro-cinemas, museums, and alternative screening venues around the world, including SXSW, BAMcinemafest, Outfest, Frameline, Chicago International, Cleveland International, Chicago Underground, Athens International Film + Video Festival, and Antimatter. His feature-length script Michael’s Story won the screenplay competition at the 37th Asian American International Film Festival in New York. Eugene is also the founder and executive director of Full Spectrum Features, a nonprofit committed to driving equity in the independent film industry.
Curtis Caesar John
The Luminal Theater
Curtis Caesar John is an arts manager, advocate, and filmmaker. He believes in cinema as the most powerful means of sharing life's stories and furthering our understanding of one another, even within our own cultures. He is the Founder and Executive Director of The Luminal Theater, a nomadic microcinema that brings Black independent films directly to Black communities and audiences, as well as to general audiences invested in Black cinematic voices.
Vivian Hua 華婷婷
Northwest Film Forum
Vivian Hua (華婷婷) is a writer, filmmaker, and organizer with semi-nomadic tendencies. As the Executive Director of Northwest Film Forum in Seattle, a Co-Founder of the civil rights film series, The Seventh Art Stand, and Editor-in-Chief of the interdisciplinary arts publication, REDEFINE, much of her work unifies her metaphysical interests with her belief that art can positively transform the self and society. In 2018, she released her narrative short film, Searching Skies–which touches on the controversial topic of Syrian refugee resettlement in the United States–and in 2020, she will begin production on a comedic Asian-American series entitled Reckless Spirits. She is passionate about researching efforts to preserve cultural space and finding ways to covertly and overtly disrupt oppressive structures.
In this collection of six shorts, filmmakers gaze at themselves and their world, attempting to make sense of what they see reflected back. From gripping drama to heart-warming comedy, Our Right to Gaze: Black Film Identities features timely stories from Black artists that take us outside of the ordinary.
Full Spectrum Features (Chicago), Northwest Film Forum (Seattle), The Luminal Theater (NYC), and Circle Collective (NYC) seek to champion Our Right to Gaze as a means of addressing systemic inequity within the film industry, through the disruption of existing film distribution models and attitudes towards artist services and support. The program is also designed to support the participating filmmakers first and foremost – structured so that they receive adequate compensation for their work, have the option to participate in a mentorship cohort, and have the collective support of the cross-country coalition of media partners. Through a mission-driven desire to highlight unseen voices and present a program that steps outside of impersonal plug-and-play virtual distribution models, the collection will rely on the film exhibition and distribution expertise of the participating organizations to engage a broad constituency of exhibitors and mentors via grassroots outreach, personal relationships, and direct conversation with the artists.
Please note: this collection of films will NOT be screening during this Sundance panel, but will be available on-demand via Northwest Film Forum starting February 14th, 2021. Stay tuned for viewing details!