Never Let You Go: The Year Movies Embraced Everyone

By  · Published on December 20th, 2016

A heartfelt montage of 2016’s best films and filmmakers.

Movies are for all of us. They’re not just for white people, rich people, male people, straight people, old people, young people, good-looking people, thin people, nice people, or any other exclusionary designation. Movie are for all of us.

Yet if aliens were to land on the planet and use our most popular movies to learn about the kind of people we are, a lot of folks would be left out. Or they would have been before 2016.

After one of the most blatantly-exclusionary years in Hollywood history – yeah, I’m looking square at you 2015–this year filmmakers got mad as hell and decided not to take it anymore, and the result was a complete flip of the script (pardon the pun but kinda literally) and one of the most diverse years – if not the most – mainstream cinema has ever known. Bold new voices from unlit corners of our cultural landscape fought their way into the spotlight, and the general moviegoing public responded like gangbusters, championing indie films over tentpoles and embracing the new perspectives.

Of course, there were some nasty spots, like all the grossly-unnecessary Ghostbusters hate and the controversies surrounding Nate Parker and Casey Affleck, but the film industry is, like everything else, run by and made up of people, so hate, ignorance, and heinous behavior will always exist. But if we’re looking at things from a purely artistic and binary point of view, this year was a nice, big, fat check mark in the “win” column.

Personally, I believe movies are the most powerful artistic medium ever created. They move us, educate us, and represent us like nothing else can, and to exclude anyone from the mosaic of life movies are supposed to reflect does our entire global society a huge disservice. The advent of more-prevalent and less-expensive technology over the last decade has totally opened up the field of filmmaking to people who might never have had an opportunity to realize their dreams in the industry as it was, and 2016 was the year we first saw, in droves at least, those types of unheralded voices emerge as professional, award-worthy, inspiring and successful purveyors of art.

It is in this spirit that our own Fernando Andres has made the following heartfelt look at the year behind us for our FSR #2016Rewind. It is a collection of all the new faces, new stories, new perspectives, and new voices – along with the more traditional films – that made the last 12 months at the movies so riveting, so enthralling, and so uplifting. With everything that tried to undermine positivity this year, thank god we could count on the movies to reflect what we actually want from ourselves and the world we live in: hope, love, and inclusion for all. Let’s hope 2016 isn’t a standout, but rather the start of new, necessary act for film.

Novelist, Screenwriter, Video Essayist