Thursday, December 11, 2008

AAFCA Celebrates 5th Year

Organization Reaffirms Commitment to Diversity in Film Industry
by Kam Williams

The African-American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) has announced that Wilson Morales, guru of and film blogger for AOL BlackVoices, will serve as the organization’s President for 2009. Mr. Morales, a graduate of Cornell University, is a noted New York movie critic/celebrity interviewer with a wealth of knowledge and experience, having covered the industry from virtually every angle, as a writer, editor and/or producer for radio, television, print and online outlets.

Wilson was one of the original founders of AAFCA back in 2003, along with Shawn Edwards of Fox-TV, Mike Sargent of WBAI and outgoing President Gil Robertson, publisher of The Robertson Treatment. “One of my top priorities during my tenure will be to introduce programs and benefits that will attract new members and increase active participation among our members,” Morales said.

“Another priority,” he continued, “will be to increase awareness of the organization globally among filmmakers and connoisseurs of films about people of African descent. So, expect AAFCA to continue to pursue the founders’ vision of becoming more involved in helping filmmakers and actors of African descent get their projects wider media cover which might be beyond their reach.”

In discussing AAFCA’s origins, Robertson, who will remain with the group as Vice President, adds, “The organization sprang out of necessity... As a group of African-American journalists, we recognized a need for an association that could protect and safe-guard our positioning in the film media marketplace. Of course, there was also the goal of camaraderie and the personal and professional value that comes when journalists with similar goals unite for a common cause.”

As for AAFCA’s progress over its first five years, Gil concludes, “I think we've succeeded on many levels, but still have a long way to go in reaching our goals, which is to provide a real and tangible opportunity for working journalists and aspiring journalists to grow and fulfill their professional goals.” He also weighed in on the question of respect in the industry, observing, “It's been a gradual process but AAFCA has steadily gained a footing of support and acknowledgment from both our media peers and within the film industry. Like anything else it takes time, but I'm pleased about the forward direction our
group is heading.”

Like most other critics guilds, AAFCA will soon be convening to vote for its Ten Best films and favorite screen performances of the past year. An announcement of its winners for will be made sometime before Christmas.

Note: Kam Williams is a member of AAFCA

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