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December 2003
African American Critics Association Formed

African American Critics Association Formed

Click here to view the AAFCA Top Ten List

Los Angeles - (December 19, 2003) - Film critics and journalists who cover the movie industry have founded the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA). AAFCA has a two-fold purpose. The organization will honor excellence in cinema by creating awareness for films with universal appeal to the black communities, while emphasizing films about the black experience, and those produced, written, directed and starring people of color. The association will actively review the quality and standards of black talent, content and media coverage. AAFCA will also support the development of future black film critics and filmmakers.

AAFCA holds the distinction of being the only organization developed by and catering to the needs of African American media professionals who critique movies and cover the film industry.

Founded in 2003, AAFCA's board members represent a geographically diverse cross section of media covering the cinematic arts. Founding members include the following media professionals:

  • Shawn Edwards - film critic for FOX-TV (WDAF) based in Kansas City
  • Wilson Morales - chief film critic for Blackfilm.com
  • Gil Robertson, IV - national syndicated columnist and feature writer "The Robertson Treatment" based in Los Angeles and Atlanta
  • Stephanie Frederic - contributing correspondent for BET Nightly News based in Los Angeles
  • Karu F. Daniels - national syndicated columnist "The Ru Report" based in New York
  • Mike Sargent - chief film critic for WBAI Radio based in New York
  • Greg Russell - film critic for WB-TV (WDWB) based in Detroit

Shawn Edwards will serve as AAFCA's interim president. "We as colleagues came together to represent a united voice because we realize that we are often unheard," Edwards says. "Additionally, we will serve as a primary networking source for other black media professionals who share a love of cinema." As a launch initiative, the Association has released their top 10 movies of 2003. The Association has also announced the recipient of its "Achievement Honor" to the filmmaker who made the biggest impact in 2003.

"Black people represent a sizable portion of the filmgoing demographic and as entertainment critics who are a part of that community, we speak directly to that considerable ticket buying audience," adds Robertson who will serve as West Coast Vice President of the Association. "When the studios want to market a film to Black audiences they cater to us, but when a major film is being promoted we are more often than not treated the same way. We intend to challenge that disparity."

AAFCA will release a quarterly assessment on the production and marketing strategies of black movies as well as a calendar of major studio and independent films. In early 2004, AAFCA will launch its website, and plans to host regional forums and workshops aimed at delivering a better understanding of the film making process to audiences. The organization will also endorse movies throughout the year that deserve AAFCA's stamp of approval.

AAFCA is based in Los Angeles and facilitated by the founding board.

Contact: 323-969-4804

Mailing Address:
1335 N. La Brea
Los Angeles, CA 90028


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