As evidenced in interviews included in this volume, many African
American filmmakers consider themselves artists first, their
ethnicity being only part of what influences their work. This is
the first book by an African American on contemporary African
American filmmakers. Here directors and producers speak for
themselves, posing challenges to current thinking in the field.
Special emphasis is given to the filmmakers' productions and their
experiences. Essays on historic figures reveal the rich history of
the African American contribution to cinema. From Oscar Micheaux
and Spencer Williams to Neema Barnett and the team of George
Jackson and Doug McHenry, this revealing reference work will
enlighten scholars, students, and film buffs.
As early as 1899, African Americans were involved in the
filmmaking industry. Oscar Micheaux took directing, writing, and
producing to a higher level with the release of his first film in
1918; by 1948 he had made more than forty films. Currently, by
international world cinema standards, the African American
tradition rivals cinema from anywhere in the world, but these
filmmakers face a quandary: whether to make films through the
Hollywood system or follow an independent vision. This book
presents a cross-section of filmmakers from each camp and also
focuses on those who work in both arenas.
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