Why are white, “open-minded,” “intellectuals” usually the gatekeepers to art house or auteur cinema?
I’ve been a film student at a variety of schools. In a rural settings, in diverse city settings, and even in a different continent. Throughout my experiences in and out of film school and working in the industry I have gathered that 100% of the time you will meet an art house film fan and that almost 9 times out of 10, these art house ‘stans’ will be white peers.
And that is not to say that they are white all the time, or that I am generalizing all fans of this genre, but for the most part, the majority of the people I have met are typically white (as well as wish to live in a time thirty to forty years ago where the analog still exists).
But really I want to answer this question or even pose the question to a further audience,
why is it that gatekeepers to the avant-garde are usually white, “intellectuals”?
Like I’ve stated earlier, I’m speaking heavily from my own experiences, and many of my own experiences feeling un-welcomed and un-included in these avant-garde film spaces.
I’ve only felt welcomed and included by individuals of an older and less pretentious generation (regardless of race, class, education…etc). Additionally folk from older generations are also not against the progression of media and technology, but are open-minded about utilizing new methods of viewing and distributing film and media.
Let me rephrase my question then –
why are millennial peers perpetuating gate-keeping of the avant-garde?
Perhaps part of it has to do with the romanticization of the past. And that past is much less inclusive.
The art film space still feels like an unwelcome space to people of color.
And films of other cultures are still fetishized for being different and something unique to brag about seeing.
When will the niche categories of film (foreign or queer) be accepted together into the independent, avant-garde, or mainstream cinema-scape?
The close-minded and privileged “liberal” members of the millennial generation beg and applaud for diversity in film, yet still act as gate-keepers to the avant-garde with pretentiousness and a rebellion to modern media and technology.
These individuals, particularly those who are white, recognize they already have a leg up in the scope of the film world just by their own identity. Their gate-keeping of art house facts and films only secures their position further as being the most privileged to have the opportunity to explore those interests.
Their peers of color have multi-dimensional obstacles to overcome to succeed in the world of media. Thus many reasons why collectives form for many who feel unwelcome in a certain space. If these privileged millennial peers shared interest and promoted the work of their colleagues the gate-keeping would no longer exist.
Yet, that does not happen.
These gate-keepers typically want to feel better than their peers by harvesting all of their bizarre and cryptic knowledge of obscure films. And they are already in a position that is better than their peers. However, they do nothing to help their peers to end an un-inclusive cycle that they only tirelessly reprimand the older generations for creating.
Be interested in what your less-privileged peers are creating and promote them if you really care about seeing something unique and interesting, it is from a perspective other than your own.
Featured image: Populaire from the Houston Chronicle.