Tim Gordon, Film Critic, President of the Washington, DC Area Film Critics Association and Founder of the Black Reel Awards, has created a new venture: The Lakefront Film Festival. Gordon is taking 20+ years in the entertainment business and providing a forum to filmmakers of all backgrounds.  The 2018 season will be the inaugural session for the Lakefront Film Festival which will be held in Columbia, MD in July.

Why did you create the Lakefront Film Festival? 

I wanted a film festival with my imprint on it. It will be a user friendly festival where filmmakers come to this festival and feel validated. I want all filmmakers to know that we’re playing on a level playing field. I thought through a lot of the small touches in order to create a foundation and a culture. As a film critic, I’m uniquely built to do what we do with this festival: teaching and curating.

Why Columbia, Maryland to host the festival? 

The city was built on diversity and just celebrated its 50 year anniversary. I was able to get the local city government behind us and brought a lot of talented people to the mix. They have a huge facility here and we’ll use 13 venues in four days.

How will the Lakefront Film Festival be different from other festivals? 

There will be a strong presence of African American films and other ethnicities as well. We’re creating a good culture for the festival and I bring background and history. I want everything to be top shelf. I’m trying to cultivate different audiences and we may play a movie more than once.


What triggered your love of movies? 

My first mentor, my father, was a huge film fan. Being as young as 5 years old, I remember having plenty of conversations with my father around movies. I was never interested in movies as an actor or a director but I always saw movies as someone behind the scenes. When my father worked at the Newark Star Ledger, I would go into this room of old newspapers and I loved history and looking back.

I was in the military and I would go to the movies on dollar day. I was the guy who could always review the movies. I gained that reputation. People would say to me, “I know you saw the movie.”

Tim Gordon

Film Critic / Film Festival Founder, Lakefront Film Festival


Why have you been so vigilant in your support of black movies? 

I can’t really explain why I was so passionate about movies. But, I remember being 27 years old and reflecting about To Sleep With Anger with Danny Glover and also The Five Heartbeats movie. During that time, 1991, 1992, when the films came out neither of them made a lot of money at the box office. But I thought, ‘there has to be a way that someone can be a liaison between Hollywood and the community.’ That’s how my newsletter, The Renaissance Review, was born. And, I loved award shows as a kid. It always bothered me that strong black films were overlooked. I thought to myself, ‘we need to validate.’ So, I created the Reel Black Film Awards.

Gordon takes his passion and love for movies and creates MUCH NEEDED outlets for the community. The Lakefront Film Festival is currently accepting submissions. To learn more about Tim Gordon and his initiatives, please check out the sites: Lakefront Film Festival and Black Reel Awards, as well as his personal site: Film Gordon.