I’m writing to solicit your help with a time-sensitive matter: As of July 2017, Indiana University’s Media School has drastically decreased the operating the budget of the Black Film Center/Archive (BFC/A). Established in 1981, the center/archive has been an incredible and important resource for the preservation and study of the tradition of filmmaking and new media in the African Diaspora. Dr. Michael Martin, the director of the BFA/C, who also produces the center’s scholarly journal Black Camera, An International Journal, has resigned as a result of the budget cuts, which include the total dissolution of funding for the journal.
In addition to these facts, the following BFC/A programs and services are likely on the line:
- The acquisition and preservation of collections. The BFC/A’s current holdings include:
Joseph Gugler African and Middle Eastern Film Collection, FESPACO Poster Collection, Mary Perry Smith Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame Archive Collection, William Greaves Collection, and Warrington Hudlin Collection.
- The continued promotion of a vast array of black filmmakers. Included among the BFC/A’s most recent guests are: Renee Baker, Julie Dash, Deborah Riley Draper, Ja’Tovia Gary, Danny Glover, Dany Laferrière, Stefani Saintonge and Abderrahmane Sissako.
- Further investment in interdisciplinary collaborations with campus units. Past BFC/A events have been co-sponsored with the following programs and institutions: IU Cinema, Cinema and Media Studies, Institute for Advanced Study, Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies, African Studies Program, to name a few.
For these reasons, I ask that you Sign your name on this Google form urging the University to reverse these cuts and preserve the integrity of the Center. I’ve signed the list, along with many other artists, curators, and scholars. As the list grows, it has become important to accrue names that point to the reach of the center and its impact, and how this type of de-funding effects both negatively effects the profile of IU, as well as the wider community committed to the study of the media production of the African Diaspora.
Finally, on a personal note, the BFC/A has been an incredible source of community, programming, and resources for my own research and my classes/students, even within just my first year of being in Bloomington. If you feel so moved, please sign your name in support of reversing the university’s decision to cut funding for the BFA/C, and spread this google form among your networks. Thanks so much!
Faye R. Gleisser
Assistant Professor of Contemporary Art
Indiana University Art History
Radio/TV Building 333
1229 E. Seventh St.
Bloomington, IN 47405