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Fast Foreword: The Editor's Column, Spring 2021

By Tom White

Dear Readers,

Spring summons the clichéd trickle of hope and reemergence, but the 2021 edition is coming on with the potential of a righteous, mighty stream. With a new US Presidential administration, a reconstituted Senate, a massive COVID relief package, a rollout of vaccines and an amplified reckoning with racial injustice, the nation may still be divided but the drive for a true democracy is in high gear. 

In our documentary community, we carry forward the spirit of Getting Real ‘20, building a more robust and representative world of stakeholders. The loosely defined collection of features in this issue addresses a range of intentionality and purpose as we consider the parameters of a post-COVID world. 

Maida Lynn wrote a piece for us four years ago, about her shift from philanthropist to producer. In the intervening years, she produced a number of well-received docs—but she never completely abandoned her philanthropist role. The hyper-disruption of COVID compelled her to transition back to funding; she discusses her journey here.

One of the more compelling sessions at Getting Real ’20 addressed ethics and accountability. Yi Chen checks in with participants from that session, as well as with filmmaker Sophia Nahli Allison, whose bold short A Love Song for Latasha signals a new direction in authorship and collaboration.

The Undocumented Filmmaker Collective (UFC) also convened at Getting Real. Kristal Sotomayor speaks to several key members of that dynamic new cohort about how they've worked together to elevate their cause and educate gatekeepers about supporting their work.

Filmmaker/activist Bhawin Suchak has been on the frontlines for over a decade. His work with Youth FX and NeXt Doc has helped empower the upcoming generation of filmmakers. Here, Suchak contemplates the post-pandemic possibilities of a more just and equitable doc field.

Yours in actuality,
Tom White