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Film Festival Programmers Launch Initiative to End Hollywood Bias at 2019 Sundance Film Festival

Sundance Film Festival–where contrary to norm, diversity is the order of the day in the programming room.

POC2 members at Sundance Film Festival (Photo Credit: Abraham Ferrer)

In their first public appearance, 85 members from a new collective of film festival programmers came together to form POC2, (Programmers of Colour Collective) last night in Utah.

Including the World to Film a More Diverse World

The purpose? To stimulate conversation around the underrepresentation of people of colour within film programming and international film festival staffing, but also to act as a catalyst for a transformative, diverse change towards a more inclusive international programming pool.

Those in attendance included founding members Paul Struthers (Director of Exhibition & Programming at Frameline), Hussain Currimbhoy (Programmer, Sundance) and Lucy Mukerjee (Senior Programmer, Tribeca), as well as other influential industry figures including Cameron Bailey (Artistic Director and Co-Head of Toronto International Film Festival), Loren Hammonds (Senior Programmer, Tribeca) and Gina Duncan (Associate Vice President – Cinema, Brooklyn Academy of Music).

This collective couldn’t come at a better time, as over the past year, we’ve seen the unfortunate dark nature of Hollywood, with many cases of (unconscious) bias in film festival selections that are gender-imbalanced, or a lack of representation of people of colour or else portraying them or other underrepresented groups in a way that is inauthentic or culturally appropriative.

“As a collective, we’re forward-looking and focused on connecting people with opportunities. Whilst we seek to diversify the current festival programming pool, we also want to create a network of new talent from all of our communities that feeds into those pools and creates its own programming activities. We want to be a portal where other collectives with similar interests can connect with us, offer advice and who we ourselves can advise on festivals, programmers and films. Essentially, we’re a new door into the industry for other POC groups and filmmakers.” 

-Founding Members (Struthers, Mukerjee, Currimbhoy, Bhebhe)