Robert Townsend Joins Gentleman Jack and Actor Omari Hardwick as a Local Mentor For The Return of The 3rd Annual Real to Reel National Film Contest
In 2019 the topic of inclusivity is pressing as ever, however companies and individuals in the industry are doing their part to ensure growth. Actor, producer, and director Robert Townsend partnered with Jack Daniel’s Gentleman Jack and Codeblack Entertainment Wednesday, July 10 for an inspirational discussion on this issue. The event was part of Gentleman Jack’s third annual Real to Reel and hosted by Codeblack writer Anthony Rose.
We got the chance to catch up with Robert Townsend on his involvement!
IdentifyLA: Tell me about your involvement with Gentleman Jack's Real to Reel.
Robert Townsend: I am proud to be on a panel to discuss my body of work as an African American filmmaker using the Gentleman Jack platform to educate and inspire a new generation of filmmakers.
IDLA: What is the importance of supporting emerging filmmakers of color?
RT: If we don't support new filmmakers of color, real authentic voices will not be heard and truly powerful storytelling can only come from those that have lived the experience.
IDLA: Do you feel like it’s an underrepresented community? If yes, how so?
RT: I think the industry is growing for people of color, but there is always room for more and when I say more I mean across the board from showrunners to executives of color.
IDLA: You've been in the industry for a while. Have you noticed any changes on/off screen in Hollywood in terms of representation?
RT: I really think this is a beautiful moment now in Hollywood. More voices are emerging and being embraced than ever before. I truly believe that this is not just a trend.
IDLA: How do you/have you done your part to assist that filmmakers of color receive the recognition that is deserved?
RT: My life has been dedicated to elevating images of people of color from all the projects I have worked on, but more importantly, as one of the founding members of the American Black Film Festival, I have nurtured filmmakers for 25 plus years.
IDLA: Any words of wisdom/motivation for aspiring filmmakers of color?
RT: I simply say "Believe in yourself and be fearless." With new technology, there are no limitations to create content on any day. The only limitation will be what this generation of filmmakers put on themselves.
The national contest showcases the creativity and talent of up-and-coming Black filmmakers. The winner of the national competition will receive $10,000 and the opportunity to screen their short film at this year's American Black Film Festival in Miami to an exclusive audience of industry professionals.