On the heels of the Sundance Institute’s Artist Demographics in Submissions & Acceptances diversity report comes the announcement of the formation of a new collective of film festival programmers comprising people of color, women and LGBTQ people, named POC2 (Programmers of Colour Collective). Currently boasting 85 members from around the world, its stated mission is to stimulate conversation that would lead to a greater representation of diversity within film programming and international film festival staffing.
Appearing together for the first time last night at the Sundance Film Festival, the organization, whose members span five continents and hail from a wide range of film festival programs, also aims to act as a catalyst for transformative change towards a more inclusive international programming pool.
Founding members include Paul Struthers (Director of Exhibition & Programming at Frameline), Hussain Currimbhoy (Programmer, Sundance) Lucy Mukerjee (Senior Programmer, Tribeca), and Themba Bhebhe (EFM Diversity & Inclusion), three of whom who were in attendance during the announcement. They were joined by other influential industry figures like 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).
It’s an initiative that was inspired by years of bias in film festival selections that are demonstrably non-diverse nor inclusive.