All Articles Tagged "black directors"
So I am a bit of a cinephile. What’s that you ask?
Well according to Wiki, I am a person who has “a passionate interest in cinema.” In other words, I not only like watching films but I also like dissecting the plot elements and the cinematography. But occasionally I do…ahem…lower my high cinematic principles and indulge in the trivial and lowly.
I will admit to liking the SyFy network Mega Dinosaur versus Giant Crocodile movies of the week. And yes, I have tuned in to once or twice, okay several times for one of those Black gospel plays starring Vivica Fox or Ralph Tresvant or some other d-list celebrities. I admit that I really enjoy the rom-coms about the successful female journalist/bookstore owner/fashion magazine intern falling for the hot yet womanizing/self-absorbed/underemployed male, who doesn’t know that he is in love with the protagonist until a misunderstanding/breakup/seeing her without her eyeglasses and in a beautiful dress for the first time forces him to realize that he loves her too.
Oh did I mention that I absolutely love – with a capital “L” – those direct to video movies from Nigeria? Nollywood? Are you serious? Yes, very.
Yes I know, the clumsy and very low budget cinematography, almost as if it was filmed on a flip camera, the shoddy editing which looks like it was done on Windows Move Maker and the overly dramatic and exaggerated acting and facial expressions is enough to warrant me to lose whatever credibility I have as a person who claims to have discerning taste, especially in films. And while I might never be accused of being next the Siskel and Ebert, I do know what entertains me. And there is nothing better than curling up in a blanket on the couch with a bowl of popcorn, watching the tantalizing tomfoolery that is Nollywood films.
If you never seen a Nollywood production, imagine a BET movie of the week meets a Daytime soap opera – American, Spanish or otherwise. I’m talking about intrigue, plot twists, bad singing, car chases, gangsters, casual sex and juju, wrapped up into four of the most entertaining hours you will ever spend in front of the television. Yes, I said four hours because that is the average length of a Nollywood production. So grab plenty of popcorn because you are going to be there for a while.
Over the weekend, I found a YouTube channel called Nollywood Love, which host dozens of fairly recent films, mostly English-language films, from Nigeria. I started on late Friday night watching a movie called Beyonce and Rihanna,” a film about two singing rivals fighting each other over a chance at stardom – and a dude name Jay. You couldn’t make this up if you tried; however Nollywood can and did.
By Sunday morning I realized that I had spent the entire Easter Holiday weekend on films like African Queen, BlackBerry Babes, the Return of BlackBerry Babes, Jenifa, White Hunters and my personal favorite: The Return of White Hunters, a comedy about gold diggers on the hunt for white husbands, which features probably the most political incorrect theme songs ever made in history.
While the films might be classified as amateurish at best, these Nigerian directors have managed to take only a few thousand dollars, a digital camera, and a couple of local actresses and turn it into a film industry worth an estimated $236 million. In fact, Nigeria has the world’s second-largest film industry second only to Bollywood (India’s film industry). Yes that’s right, Nollywood produces more films than Hollywood in a single year. And with audiences growing beyond the continent of Africa into places like Europe, the Caribbean and the United States, the potential for growth might be enough to push Nollywood to the number one spot in terms of content creation.
Earlier this week The New York based hedge fund group Tiger Global, who is also an early investor in Facebook, has announced that it is investing in iROKO TV, a Nigerian version of Netflix, which has the largest licensee of Nollywood movies, with more than 3,000 titles in its library. It is YouTube’s largest African partner contributing content under its Nollywood Love account. While quality of film remains a concern, not everything coming out of Nollywood is low budget. Recently the New York Times profiled the Nigerian film industry and focused on a film called “The Figurine,” which they describe as an “aesthetic leap,” from what we normally associate with Nollywood films. In fact, critics have praised the film, which actually made it to theaters and is said to hold its own on the international arena of quality filmmaking.
While it is too early in Nollywood film history to declare the second coming of an Ousmane Sembene-type filmmaker coming out of Nigeria, the stories being produced right now provide the type of escapism from the heavier African tales of war and famine we regularly see of Hollywood. This ability to portray a more human and universal image of folks with dark skin – regardless of criticism over quality – might mean that the Black Hollywood that we longed to see in America has already been created and flourishing in the motherland.
More on Madame Noire!
- 7 Ways He Wants You To Be Better Than His Last Girlfriend
- The Simmons Family (Including Ex-Wife Valerie Vaughn) Pose For Ebony’s Mother’s Day Issue
- “Ask A Black Man” Episode 2: The Dating Episode
- Sheree’s $750K Salary Demand Likely Got Her Cut
- Stripper Vanity Wonder Writes Book On Undercover Butt Shots Culture
- Columnist Fired For Article On What White Parents Should Tell Kids About Blacks
- Am I Raising a Spoiled Brat?
- Beyonce, Jay-Z & Blue Ivy Head to St. Barts
Madame Noire caught up with singers Goapele, Leela James and Kenny Lattimore at the Eye on Black event in Los Angeles, which celebrated Black directors like Haile Gerima, Debbie Allen and Chris Robinson. The singers were there to provide musical inspiration and entertainment for the star studded event. Check out what they had to say about the state of Black cinema and also what they had to say about their own careers.
More on Madame Noire!
- Is It Okay to NOT Shampoo Your Hair? And 6 Foods That Make Great Conditioners
- Run That Back!:10 Albums That Shaped Me
- Let it Go, Let it Flow: 7 People You Should Pick Your Battles With
- Love & Life Lessons I Learned From “Love & Basketball”
- 6 Ratchet Behaviors Ig’nant People Should Give Up for Lent
- Sweet or Needy: Which Are You?
- Missing Teen Featured on ‘The View’ Found Hours After Broadcast
- Show Off Your Shape! Style Tips To Flatter Your Body
Instead of waiting for Hollywood’s permission — and dollars — these artists are giving themselves the green light to produce their own online series.
When filmmaker and actress Hannelore Williams decided it was time to put her many talents to use and make ‘Queen Hussy,’ a coming-of-age film that would hopefully open doors, she enlisted her fellow NYU film school alum Pete Chatmon. She and Chatmon, who had previously directed Zoe Saldana in the movie ‘Premium,’ went to sunny Los Angeles earlier this year – but not to pitch the project to movie studios. They went to Hollywood to shoot an original web series.
Leaving behind “development hell” – an industry term for having your project wait in the wings for an executive to approve it – black producers like these are instead using unique web-based projects to “green light” themselves. The implications are profound. They are building audiences, sharpening their skills and finding their voices.
Off the set, Chatmon runs Double 7 Images, a full-service multimedia company that helps small and large businesses build their brands online. When Williams and Chatmon wrap production on ‘Queen Hussy,’ they will promote the series through his company. Their goal, he tells The Atlanta Post, is to “get eyeballs” or large numbers of viewers. “The web is less a place where you end up and more a place you can design content for. It is not a wasteland of cute kitten videos. If [a content producer] is smart, you can position your work for fully-customized web delivery.”
For black content producers, the potential to reach audiences via the web grows daily. The 2010 Pew Internet & American Life report “Teens and Mobile Phones” notes that African-American teens are accessing the web by mobile phone at twice the rate of their white peers. Across all races, roughly a third of teens use their mobile phones to share videos and go online. With these shifts, diverse populations of users will expect Internet content to reflect their interests.
(Eurweb) — The movie, “Mooz-Lum,” hit selected theaters across the country this past February and since then has taken on a life of its own, enjoying a huge following on social media sites like Facebook. The film, directed by neophyte Qasim Basir, stars Evan Ross, Nia Long, Roger Guenveur Smith, Dorian Missick and Danny Glover. It was released on DVD June 14. Pulled between his strict Muslim upbringing by his father (Roger Guenever Smith) and the normal social life he’s never had, Tariq Mahdi (Evan Ross) enters college in a state of confusion. New relationships with Muslims and non-Muslims alike challenges his already shaken ideals, and the estrangement with his mother (Nia Long) and sister troubles him. Slowly, he begins to find himself with the help of new friends, family and mentors, but when the attacks of 9/11 happen without warning, he is forced to face the past and make the biggest decisions of his life.
(Eurweb) — Award-winning filmmaker, Keith Beauchamp found his calling while making his first documentary about Emmett Louis Till, the 14-year-old black boy who was abducted and tortured to death in August of 1955 for allegedly whistling at a white woman. The suspects subsequently arrested for the lynching were all acquitted by an all white jury. That heart-wrenching story of a young boy, beaten, shot, and thrown in a river, ignited the early civil rights movement. Decades later, the case was re-opened by the FBI because Keith Beauchamp uncovered new information in the course of his research for The Untold Story of Emmett Louis Till. Bolstered by his ability to connect with potential witnesses who otherwise might not come forward in communities where such Civil Rights crimes have occurred, Beauchamp has become a passionate advocate for survivors seeking justice for victims and has assisted the FBI by developing new leads for some of the still unsolved cases from this shameful troubled chapter in American history.
(The Loop 21) — When you think of black directors, Spike Lee automatically comes to mind. A “Spike Lee Joint” was guaranteed to have unique story lines, powerful use of black and white cinematography and that floating affect he does when it seems like the world is rushing in on an actor. It’s classic Lee. His hometown Brooklyn-based production company 40 Acres and a Mule has produced over 35 films in the past 28 years including cult classics “She’s Gotta Have It”, “School Daze” and “Malcolm X.” At one time, Lee was a force in Hollywood and an inspiration to black directors in the U.S.
He seemed to spark a 1990s black renaissance in Hollywood where directors such as Robert Townsend, Keenan Ivory Wayans and F. Gary Gray were considered tinsel town’s titans. But now that just seems like a cultural coincidence. While some directors went mainstream, producing films that no longer celebrate the black experience, others have ventured into smaller screens or even Broadway.
When John Singleton made “Boyz n the Hood” in 1991, he helped lay the groundwork for a new black genre of film that focused on the gritty, forgotten moments in our inner cities. He even made history, becoming the first African-American to earn an Oscar nod for Best Director. But for a man who helped carve out many opportunities for black actors with movies like “Poetic Justice”, “Higher Learning” and “Baby Boy,” the new Singleton has gone mainstream. His 2005 film “Four Brothers” and the upcoming “Abduction” to be released this September aren’t focused on the African-American experience like his previous works.
She is the sista that makes you laugh, sob and shout at your TV screen. She’s not your favorite actress, but she definitely plays a leading role. You may not know her name and you may never see her face. She works behind the scenes as the writer, director, and producer of some of our favorite shows, music videos, and films. Here are a five sistas the create the moments we love behind the scenes: