Several of us attended a panel at the Filmmaker Lodge on Main Street in Park City. From the Film Guide: “The African American experience is the subject of many of the documentaries in this year’s Festival. In this panel hosted by Elvis Mitchell (former film critic for the New York Times, 1998-2004, and producer of The Black List, a film I’ll discuss in my next posting), filmmakers, artists, and experts discuss the pivotal questions for African Americans today and talk about where the most progress is being made.”

Included on the panel were Orlando Bagwell, producer of Africans in America and Eyes on the Prize, Danny Glover, actor and chairman of the Board of Directors of transAfrica Forum, Melody Barnes, executive vice president of the Center for American Progress, Nick Cannon, actor, who is here promoting his new film American Son, and our cousin Katrina Browne.

The discussion lasted an hour and a half and focused primarily on the challenges faced by African Americans in film making, securing funding, confronting stereotypical attitudes, and celebrating success. It was interesting watching Katrina, the only white person on the stage, discussing her particular point of view in telling a story about a history white people have avoided for centuries. I enjoyed listening to Nick Cannon, the youngest panelist, talk about his work and how much different things are for him than they were just a couple decades ago for Danny Glover. And though attitudes and opportunities shift, we still have so far to go. As a white man I continue to be amazed at how much I have to learn about what it is like to be black in America that I’ve never known.