When I first was contacted by the Indigenous Image Awards to submit our feature film Rez Bomb for potential nomination I was excited to see what seemed an exciting new development of people within indigenous communities celebrating those taking charge of their own advancement and promotion in the entertainment industry that is so heavily prejudice towards these communities when it comes to giving them a fair shake of the stick. Also I was excited that my supporting cast from Pine Ridge Indian Reservation might have a chance of being honored, particularly Russell Means who has a formidable presence in his supporting role in our film.
But I was very disappointed when the organizers of the awards notified me that they wanted $50 for every person submitted to the awards. To me this is truly extraordinary as for any awards to have any validity they need to be a true meritocracy where the best of the best in peer groups run next to each other. Because of this I refused to submit our film or any of the cast on principle.
So it was to my great surprise to see that Rez Bomb was nominated in the best film category. I am most concerned that either the organizers never even saw the film before nomination since I refused to send them through a copy or they managed to get a copy that was not distributed for that purpose. The film is being released in a month or so and the only way people can see the film is via illegal download unless they have managed to finagle a copy from the office of a film festival or suchlike. What concerns me also about this is that although I’m happy the film is nominated anywhere it means nothing if the jury can’t even see the film since I did not submit it.
But also because the film is nominated it makes it look like the rest of the cast would have also been in contention and their lack of a nomination is a reflection of their work. The reality is however that they were not even in contention because I refused to pay money for the privilege.
Imagine if the winner of the Oscars won because say Daniel Day Lewis’s agent refused to pay a fee for him to be in contention as well. Nobody would take it seriously.
As I said at the beginning it is great to see endeavors like these awards popping up but for me this time around they have really shot themselves in the foot as they have pushed away very credible film makers like myself from their process rather than gaining our support and encouragement.
I wish congratulate all the winners and certainly there is some great work represented. But if they were told that a chunk of their potential competition were barred from the competition due to not paying for the privilege I’m sure it would take a great deal of gloss of the glory and that is not fair.
Anyway we’re preparing the DVD and a wealth of original extra features (new documentaries etc) to be released on the 25th if May. Anyone who wants on the mailing list for the release can email email@example.com
Visit www.rezbomb.com for more information.