Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Rich Raddon, Director of LA Film Fest, Steps down After Yes on Prop 8 Donation

Film Independent's Los Angeles Film Festival's director, Rich Raddon was revealed to have donated $1,500 to the YES ON PROP 8 campaign and what followed was a huge barrage of letters and emails from the progressive, independent film making world to the festival's managing organizations Film Independent and the non-profit FIND LA.

Raddon gave his resignation last week, but the organization's board denied it. More letters and emails came from prominent film makers which motivated the organization to finally accept his resignation after a special board meeting Monday night.

Any independent film festival tends to lend itself to showcasing and celebrating non-studio and independent-minded films that encompass a variety of international and local issues as well as depicting the human condition of many minorities and cultures. The idea that the man at the helm was giving money to take away rights to a group of people was unacceptable.

I have met a multitude of Mormons - both gay and straight - that do not discriminate and will not accept their church's doctrine to vigorously pursue removing rights and spreading hateful rhetoric against the LGBT community. By donating money, Raddon showed he is not one of them.

Greg Araki - who is considered to be one of the creators of new queer cinema and has been hugely involved in Film Independent over the years - was quoted in the Los Angeles Times as saying Raddon should step down. "I don't think he should be forcibly removed. The bottom line is if he contributed money to a hateful campaign against black people, or against Jewish people, or any other minority group, there would be much less excusing of him. The terrible irony is that he runs a film festival that is intended to promote tolerance and equality."

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