Today, Variety is running a special tribute for the African American Film Critics Association, or AAFCA, in celebration of the 15th anniversary of the organization. The group has become a popular critics group during its run and continues to have a strong influence on the industry. Since their founding, there has undeniably been a push to increase diverse voices in the industry. Members, like our own Clayton Davis, continue to grow a profile in the mainstream through their collaborations with the organization. The tribute promotes diverse voices in film criticism.
Part of the AAFCA’s profile includes their annual awards. The AAFCA Awards have been a good predictor of awards season success for films. The organization has also brought limited time screenings to cities across America. These screenings help recognize the importance of films developed, made, and starring African-Americans within the industry. Some films, potentially written off for their original “popcorn” status, have proven influential in ways unappreciated in their time. The 25th Anniversary screening of “Poetic Justice” serves as just one example.
The AAFCA is much more than their awards show. They also help sponsor academic programs, film festivals, workshops and increase the outreach of film critics. This month, Turner Classic Movies runs the AAFCA curated “The Black Experience on Film” film series. Throughout September, you can view films introduced and discussed by members of the organization. On September 11, Clayton and Jasmine Simpkins will discuss “Sounder,” and “Bright Road” as part of a four-film coming-of-age event. The rest of the films shown during the event can be read here, beginning tonight with co-founder Gil Robertson & cultural critic Ronda Racha Penrice discussing the black identity in film dating back to the 1920s.