Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Filmfest DC Director Tony Gittens Responds

There's been some criticism of Tony Gittens for being a part-time film festival director. "On Filmfest DC's opening night, I was knighted by the government of France for my work in the cultural community, especially for my success with the Washington, D.C., International Film Festival.... tens of thousands of people of all backgrounds from across the metropolitan area attended festival screenings and events." Read Tony Gittens Letter to The Editor in Sunday's Washington Post here.

1 comment:

  1. Who authorized Mr. Gittens to run a private 501(c) 3 corporation out of a government office, assigning a full-time staff person (no matter how excellent) to this task? Mayor Marion Barry, while he certainly has had extensive legal experience, had no such authority. Thomson points out that Filmfest has $500,000 in the bank, so it could run a 2008 festival without raising another penny. This is, to say the least, peculiar. Notice that Mr. Gittens' response does not deal with the conflict of interest issue at all.

    The arts commission is funded by the city and Federal (NEA) grants to support art and its creators in our city. DCCAH takes the combined place of the city, county, and state arts agencies found in other jurisdictions. In terms of film, for example this would mean grants for film makers, not film exhibitors. Although current DCCAH leadership has attracted public scorn for the trivial projects it funds with millions of discretionary (not peer-reviewed) public dollars, it is the neglect of the primary function of the agency that is the larger, heartbreaking issue, not the state of the film festival.