Chaz Ebert introduced me to the 2019 Sundance Ebert Fellows Niani Scott, Whitney A. Spencer, and Tiffany Walden via Instagram as they were on their way to Park City, Utah, to cover Sundance Film Festival. I read up on these intelligent and extremely talented women, and I was so inspired by their drive and past experience. During our interview in March, we talked about their Sundance experiences, their favorite films from the festival, and the importance of having diverse voices in film criticism.
“This past season, GLAAD did their report, and there’s been an increase of trans actors in series, but a lot of that is because of “Pose” (2018). So it would be nice to see more trans actors taking on roles. But I’d like to see, not so much because of the story, but casting directors being like, “Hey, you don’t necessarily need to write this character as cis; it can be a trans person.” “The Sisters Brothers” (2018) and “Colette” (2018) both had trans actors playing cisgender characters.”
“We made history doing that [‘The Black Experience on Film’ for Turner Classic Movies]. Turner Classic Movies had never done anything like that before. Because my love of film was fostered by my mother, to be able to have her watch me hosting Turner Classic Movies was everything.”
I met film critic Pamela Powell through Twitter. She had taken a video of actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw’s Q&A after the screening of her film “Fast Color” (directed by Julia Hart) at the Chicago Critics Film Festival. Her praise for Gugu drew me to her as a critic. I retweeted her post, and the rest is history. Months later, I’m so happy to get the opportunity to interview her and share her story.