I attended this afternoon's Sundance Film Festival press conference, with Robert Redford coming out to briefly introduce the bigwigs of the festival. He seemed rather unexcited and I felt like he just wanted to say his speech and quickly get offstage. However, his presence, as always, was magisterial, a walking legend, now in his mid 80s, but still looking mighty fine.
However, it was exec director Keri Putnam, before introducing the panel, that shook the tide up a bit, to say the least, by saying that organizers had noticed “a disturbing blind spot” in the festival's history of giving out press credentials: “Diversity isn’t about who is making the films,” Putnam said. “It’s about how they enter the world.” She said, adding that they were admitting “mostly white male critics.” Which, consequentially influenced the kind of films that were being championed by these 'mostly white male critics'.
“This lack of inclusion has real-world implications,” Putnam remarked. “So we decided to do something about it.” She said that organizers re-shaped the credential process as a result. “63% of the press is from underrepresented groups this year,” Putnam said.
This is how I see it. People who have different life experiences to you will see art in a different way from you. Black people will see Black Panther differently from you. Asian people will see Crazy Rich Asians differently from you. Gay people will see Bohemian Rhapsody differently from you. However, a shit movie is still a shit movie. A good movie is a good movie is a good movie.
It's well-intention-ed on the part of Sundance to do something like this and I have seen and met today plenty of new film critics walking down Main Street excited to have finally been accredited by the festival, but denying a qualified white man his press pass to cover the festival just because he is who he is, thanks to his mom and dad, is a major disservice to the very important task of importing race and gender quotas.
Racism and sexism aren't going away if we keep drawing lines between our races and genders. Racism and sexism go away when nobody cares about each other's race and gender and we just treat each other equally.