Open Letter to Tribeca Film Festival

Dear Robert DeNiro and Staff,

I attended the 10th anniversary of the Tribeca Film Festival this year for the first time since I began my indie filmmaking career. I was very impressed by the film selection, and yet, I couldn’t help but to observe the obvious omission from your selected film fare: African-American narrative films.

As a storyteller, I enjoy a good story well told. Yet, most films exhibited at festivals or released at box offices reflect a world devoid of people like me: African-American. I became a filmmaker to change that, and I know that there are many other filmmakers like me who decided the same. Yet, your festival seems to contribute to the perpetuity of films devoid of an African-American narrative. Is it the case that there were NO submissions of films reflective of an African-American experience? I find that truly hard to believe.

Of all the films created in our fair country, I am optimistic that a large percentage of them are created by African-Americans. We are a large population of these United States. I am even more optimistic that many of these films are of the caliber of excellence that your festival requires. Yet, here I am writing a letter calling attention to the fact that Tribeca Film Festival did not screen one African-American narrative film written and/or directed by an African-American filmmaker, and asking WHY?

I must say that, as an indie filmmaker, I am disappointed by my first Tribeca Film Festival experience. A film festival that was built from the ground up, only 200 miles from my hometown, failed to showcase films that reflect the world in which I live. Your film selection was garishly void of a narrative that includes people like me. It left me wondering if I should ever attend again, let alone submit my films.

Honestly, I would love to attend the Tribeca Film Festival again next year, and see a few films that not only move me but also include me. Make it happen.

Nia Malika Dixon
Independent Filmmaker



3 Replies to “Open Letter to Tribeca Film Festival”

  1. This issue has been going on for years and the only way to get around it is to just keep making your films. And doing it well. People will see it if that is what they are really looking for. I don’t get upset about it anymore.

  2. Assalam Alaikum Queen Nia!

    Now this my dear sister is what we have to do. I totally applaude you! Continue to be bold, be fearless, be you! It just might be that perfect moment all ready written to happen. The moment when they just happen to decide to take your “voice” seriously and to heart. I love you more for this!! 🙂

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