As thousands of people line the streets across the globe in protest of systematic racism and police brutality, the Criterion Collection has shown their support with a celebration of black filmmakers.
“Dear Criterion community,” a statement began from the platform. “This has been powerfully emotional time. The disproportionate toll that COVID-19 has taken on communities of colour; the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and Tony McDade; and the casually lethal racism of the Central Park dog walker who called for the cops on bird-watcher Christian Cooper have once again thrown into sharp focus the inescapable reality of systematic racism in our society and the many kinds of violence it inflicts on black Americans every day.
“Black Lives Matter. The anguish and fury unleashed all across the country are rooted in the centuries of dehumanization and death. This pattern must stop. We support the protesters who have taken to the streets to demand justice, and we share their hopes. We are committed to fighting systemic racism. We’ve met as a company and a community to talk openly about the work we need to do to build a better, more equitable, more diverse Criterion, beginning with education and training for our ownership and our staff. We are also committed to examine the role we play in the idea of canon formation, whose voices get elevated, and who get to decide what stories get told.”
Criterion added: “We are establishing an employee-guided fund with a $25,000 initial contribution and an ongoing $5,000 month commitment to support organisations fighting racism in America, including bail funds, and advocacy groups that address police reform.”
The foundation has also marked their commitment by using their channel to stream pictures that focus on black lives. With the work by creatives such as Oscar Micheaux, Maya Angelou, Julie Dash, Kathleen Collins, Charles Burnett and more. All of the films have been made available for free.
All the films can be viewed for free, here.