We’re proud to host more than 30 members of the Brown Girls Doc Mafia collective in a new partnership to bring an infusion of women filmmakers of color to the festival space.
Formed in 2015 by Iyabo Boyd, the Brown Girls Doc Mafia (BGDM) is a collective of filmmakers and industry representatives who identify as women and gender nonconforming people of color working in documentary film. The group currently boasts more than 1,400 members across the globe, building community online and in person to further members’ creative enrichment, to exchange resources and ideas, and to bolster professional growth and opportunity.
BGDM’s attendance at T/F is a crucial part of their aim to raise the attendance and visibility of women filmmakers of color at film festivals to encourage collaboration and to advance diversity and inclusion in the documentary field.
True/False will draw upon BGDM in a variety of ways that deeply integrate members of the collective into the festival fabric. Some members, such as Lyric Cabral ((T)error, T/F 2015), Farihah Zaman, Jaad Asante, and Boyd are returning guests of T/F. This year, they will be present to introduce films and to facilitate post-screening Q&As with directors.
Other members of the collective will mentor high school and college students and lead interactive workshops through T/F’s educational offerings such as DIY Day and the Student Symposium. For T/F programmer Abby Sun, incorporating BGDM members into education programs is of paramount importance: “How does it feel to be a young person of color aspiring to be an artist or a filmmaker to attend a film festival in which the directors and mentors they are most likely to encounter do not look like them? From experience, it can be demoralizing in the very space that is supposed to be inspiring.”
All BGDM members attending T/F 2018 will be welcomed as official festival guests, with the goal of integrating BGDM into T/F’s vibrant documentary community and giving industry attendees and other filmmakers access to the talent in the group.
“With our partnership with BGDM, T/F aims to continue the delicate, thorny work of introducing those who inhabit the world of documentary film as well as our own mid-Missouri communities to underrepresented voices, ultimately building towards a more inclusive, beautiful, and truthful depiction of the world,” says Sun.
Emphasizing the importance of diversifying all festival spaces, Boyd writes, “Being present at film festivals is crucial for a filmmaker to enrich their creative palette, to meet future collaborators, to showcase their work and be considered for opportunities, and to contribute their voice to the critical topics being discussed in our field. For women and gender nonconforming filmmakers of color, attendance and visibility also means breaking down the myth of the lack of filmmakers of color in our industry, and dismantling the curse of tokenism. We’re thrilled to be partnering with T/F in this initiative.”
Of the 40 feature films at T/F 2018, 45% are directed or co-directed by filmmakers who are women and 33% are directed or co-directed by filmmakers of color.
The partnership between True/False and BGDM is supported in part by JustFilms, the Ford Foundation’s social justice film fund.