Filmmakers have always been on the front lines of change, and this cultural moment is no different. As the world reconsiders its perspectives on race, we can play a huge part in furthering that conversation through our own craft. We have the tools, so we may as well put them to good use.
Why do we make films? It would be so much easier not to. The poet Charles Simic said: “I write because I want every woman in the world to fall in love with me.” Whether or not we say it out loud (or even admit it to ourselves), recognition is always on our radar. As it should be.
Reinaldo Marcus Green was a lot of things before he was a filmmaker. Promising athlete, master’s level educator, family man. He worked on Wall Street before, during, and after the 2008 financial collapse. And only then did he decide to study film at NYU under the guidance of legends like Spike Lee and Todd Solondz. So you could say Reinaldo has seen some things. But, more importantly, he has something to say about it.
It’s easy to feel helpless when it comes to the lack of diversity and inclusion in filmmaking. How do you even begin to approach that conversation, much less start thinking about how to solve it? According to a 2018 report from the Directors Guild of America, only 9.7 percent of films were directed by minorities in 2018 and only 12.2 percent of films were directed by women.
We’ve spent more than four years of talking with some of the best filmmakers in the world, and there are a few questions we haven’t asked. What had these filmmakers been totally wrong about when they first started? And what was the very best thing they did for their careers? We thought these two questions could help calibrate the navigation system — give us all a sense of what we should be moving toward, and what we should be moving away from. So we sent out a bunch of emails. The responses we got back were wonderful and surprising. Some were personal (Eliot Rausch’s sobriety; Reinaldo Green meeting his wife). Some were professional (Joel Edward’s disillusionment with the industry; MINDCASTLE’s belief in director’s cuts). But they all had one thing in common: these lessons were learned painstakingly and firsthand.