The controversy over city funding for an urban film festival takes a new turn.

Filmmaker Tanesha Morris has notified the city she will not accept money from the city to help pay expenses for the festival. Last week, the Shreveport Councilvoted 4-2 to provide $10,000 in funding for the Shreveport Urban Film Festival.

Voting for this measure were Stephanie Lynch, Jeff Everson, James Flurry, and Willi Bradford. Only Oliver Jenkins and Michael Corbin voted against the funding. Jerry Bowman did not vote on this measure.

The reason this has been so controversial is because the event seems to be ethnically exclusive. In fact, a flyer for this event says all the films will be by "emerging African American Writers and Directors." Many who are opposed to this funding want to know if it is even legal.

Shreveport City Code is very clear about these kinds of expenditures:

Sec. 26-53. - Donation of city funds; contracts.

The public funds or property of the city shall not be donated to any for-profit organization, business or venture. This provision shall not prevent the expenditure of funds or waiver of revenues for the following purposes:

The public funds or property of the city shall not be donated, loaned or pledged to any person, except for public purposes.

Sec. 26-54. - Prohibited use of city funds.

It shall be unlawful for any official, employee, department, agency or office of the city to authorize the use or expenditure of funds allocated to the city for the purpose of the creation, promotion, enhancement and/or support of any endeavor, organization, activity, etc., which discriminates against persons by reason of race, color, sex, national origin or religion.

The festival will go forward on July 28th without the help from the city.

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