Bright Lights Film Journal

Independent Black Filmmakers Take on Hollywood: The Distribution of Black Films

Spike Lee (left) on the set of Do the Right Thing

For many black auteurs seeking distribution, working around the system has proven as rewarding – and necessary – as working within it

Since the popularity and commercial success of films by both Spike Lee (She’s Gotta Have It, 1986) and John Singleton (Boyz N the Hood, 1991), Hollywood has viewed the black film as a viable commodity. Nonetheless, finances allocated to black film projects are significantly lower than those allocated to other feature-length films. And although, as this article will highlight, independent black filmmakers tend to operate outside of Hollywood, a host of festivals, markets, and exhibition vehicles – specifically for black filmmakers – have cropped up in recent years to foster the necessary business relationships to obtain a studio deal. An overview of some of the outlets is presented, along with key organizations that assist black filmmakers with understanding the business of cinema.

Five filmmakers – Spike Lee, Keenen Ivory Wayans, Robert Hardy, Haile Gerima, and Jerry LaMothe – and their films will be discussed as case studies to further describe and analyze Hollywood’s business relationship with black filmmakers. In these stories, various forms of filmmaking and distribution practices are documented as examples of the distribution of black films. The case studies will present problems that black filmmakers have encountered in receiving distribution deals, as well as some of their successes. Finally, a conclusion will offer a summary of problems and solutions as they pertain to the distribution of black films.

Black Film: History and Definition

Black American filmmaking began to take shape in the beginning of the twentieth century. The films of this period are referred to as race movies, and the practice of black filmmaking was established as a result of the great black migrations.1 As a black urban population developed, so did a market for black films. Black filmmakers exploited segregation by creating movies that catered to African-Americans.2 From this era, the most notable filmmaker to emerge was Oscar Micheaux.3

Micheaux started making movies during the silent era, and was the first African-American to produce and direct a feature-length sound movie.4 Micheaux’s film budgets came from his entrepreneurial efforts as a book publisher and novelist. He would transport prints from town to town, and edit his movies on the road. To raise capital, Micheaux would charge a fee to theater owners when his actors gave private performances of scenes from upcoming productions at their facilities. At the height of Micheaux’s success, he opened branch offices of his film company in New York and Chicago.5 But with integration came the disappearance of the black film industry. There was no longer a need for a separate film industry. S. Craig Watkins, in Representing: Hip Hop Culture and the Production of Black Cinema, assesses the end of the race movie era:

And while the production of race movies took place completely outside of the parameters of Hollywood, it also involved black and white cooperation. Ironically, the demise of this era in black filmmaking was accelerated by the burgeoning civil rights movement: a philosophical shift that emphasized integration and assimilation rather than economic development as the way to achieve racial equality.6

The next breakthrough for black cinema was during 1969-1974, a period known as the blaxploitation era. In the late ’60s, the film industry suffered severe economic problems stemming from the maturation of the television industry and the continuing complications of the 1948 Paramount Consent Decree – major Hollywood studios were forced to divest their interests in both film production and exhibition. The film industry was in need of new strategies for earning revenue. This wave of filmmaking – blaxploitation – also arose out of liberal pressure on the film industry to respond to civil rights.7

In an effort to tackle these issues, the film industry selected accomplished Life photographer Gordon Parks as the first black director of a Hollywood film (The Learning Tree, 1969). Then in 1971, Melvin Van Peebles’ independently financed the controversial Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasss Song, which ushered in the blaxploitation era.8 A year prior, Peebles was hired by Columbia to direct Watermelon Man, a film in which a white racist wakes up black.9

During this period, the film industry released an average of 15 films per year that featured African-Americans as sexually charged or action-oriented characters. The films were aimed at a black viewing audience, but were written, produced, and directed by white filmmakers.10 From a critical standpoint, blaxploitation films often depicted African-Americans in a manner that reinforced negative stereotypes – about black people and black life – within American society.11

The production of black-themed films started to decline when movies like The Godfather and The Exorcist were released. One-third of the domestic box office for these films came from black communities.12 The film studios decided it was no longer necessary to generate product that specifically targeted a black audience. Just as quickly as the blaxploitation era arrived, it disappeared. Hollywood went back to business as usual, and distributors focused on big-budget films with special effects and popular stars.13

Today, studios hesitate to label a film black, especially if it has potential for crossover appeal. It is generally understood that a black film is one targeted primarily to an African-American audience.14 A black film not only has to be made by a black director, it has to feature a majority African-American cast with a concept that focuses on the black experience and is therefore targeted to African-American viewers. By definition, such a film would have no prospect for crossover appeal. bell hooks, in Reel to Real: Race, Sex, and Class at the Movies, further defines black film:

In the United States it has been assumed both in the past and in the present that a black filmmaker will construct black images, will focus on narrative content that highlights black experience, and that the images he or she creates will necessarily work against the stereotypically negative ones represented by the white mainstream. This demand is imposed by both financial backers and audiences.15

Films specifically targeted to a black audience did not garner Hollywood’s attention again until Spike Lee released She’s Gotta Have It in 1986. His success enabled a small number of black independent filmmakers to experience greater access to first and second-tier film distributors’ resources.16

An Overview: The Black Film Market

With the rise of black independent filmmakers came the formation of organizations that could remedy the institutional disenfranchisement of black filmmakers and audiences.17 The Black Filmmaker Foundation was established in 1978 by Warrington Hudlin to provide workshops, seminars and conferences, exhibitions, a skills bank, and employment listings for its members.18 BFF also hosts DvRepublic.com, an online community created for the discussion of original programming.

Hudlin has also experienced some success within the film industry. He and his brother Reginald made the movie House Party (1990) for $2.5 million. The film grossed over $26 million for New Line Cinema. After its success at the box office, New Line financed two sequels.19

BFF has aided numerous black independent filmmakers with directing, producing, and learning about the business of films, but it is not the only organization to do so. There is also the African-American Filmmakers’ Association, the Organization of Black Screenwriters, and the Alliance of Black Entertainment Technicians, among others. There are also other organizations and companies that have emerged to serve as facilitators for the marketing and exhibition of independent black films. Blackfilm.com, an online resource for the black film community hosts a midnight screening series of independent films and discussions. The events take place at the Pacific Design Center in Los Angeles and the Walter Reade Theater in New York.20

UniWorld Films, a division of UniWorld Group, is a marketing company that produces film-related events. Black Cinema Café, a showcase for independent black films, is one such event that UniWorld created for the independent black film market. The event is targeted to consumers in Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, New Orleans, New York, Oakland, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC.21 These cities have a high density of African-Americans. While these events are targeted to moviegoers, there are also many showcases, exhibitions, festivals, markets, and events that have been developed specifically for the film industry.

In its sixth year, the Acapulco Black Film Festival, produced by Film Life Inc. (an independent film distribution arm of UniWorld) and the Black Filmmaker Foundation, offers networking opportunities, panel discussions, workshops, seminars, awards, and screenings.22 Jeff Friday has played an important role in black film development as the creative force behind the launch of UniWorld Films, the Acapulco Black Film Festival, and Film Life Pictures. There is also the five-year-old Urbanworld Film Festival presented by HBO in New York. Urbanworld also has a distribution arm, Urbanworld Films, which acquires independent commercially viable black and Latin films and distributes them in limited release.23

Two other popular festivals include the Hollywood Black Film Festival started by Black Talent News in 1999, and the oldest film festival for black films, the Newark Black Film Festival, currently celebrating its 27th year.

An array of other film festivals for black filmmakers exists, including the Black Filmmaker Magazine International Film Festival held in London; Harvard Black Film Festival hosted by Harvard University’s Black Arts Festival; the African-American Film Festival presented by the African-American Filmmakers Association; the Denver Pan-African Film Festival; the Queen City Black Film Festival; and the Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center’s Annual African-American Film Marketplace. Cinema Shorts is an online film festival catering to African-American, Latin, and Asian-American filmmakers. The commercial success of black films in the ’90s inspired an influx of independent black filmmakers who have contributed to, and created the need for, the growing number of festivals, markets, and showcases targeted specifically to the black filmmaker.

From a financial perspective, low-budget black films have continually turned a solid profit for studios since the early ’90s. This profit rests on the strong response of the African-American community to black films and larger crossover audiences than anticipated.24 Yet while African-Americans make up over 20% of moviegoers, in 1999 African-American directors made up only 2.4% (out of a total of 6,564) of the membership of the Directors Guild of America.25

A review of black films released in 2000 shows considerable financial return for film studios. Keenen Ivory Wayans’ Scary Movie and John Singleton’s update of Shaft cleared the $100 million mark in domestic gross revenues, according to Black Enterprise and Black Talent News.26 Singleton is also the director of Boyz N the Hood (1991), which he made for $6 million. The film grossed $57.5 million for Columbia Tri-Star.27 The commercial success of black films released domestically will be further explored in the following director’s case studies. As for the foreign market, “Black films earned an astounding $1.2 billion worldwide in 2000,” according to Black Talent News, an Internet magazine. Yet the first thing movie studio and television executives rattle off when a black filmmaker pitches an idea or submits a script is, “Black films and TV shows don’t do well in the foreign market.”28

Although black films increasingly perform well at the box office, distribution deals and budgets for the films continue to remain low. A average film costs around $50 million, while movies targeted to African-Americans have budgets that average around $13 million.29 Dennis Greene, in his article “Tragically Hip,” which appeared in Cineaste in 1994, assesses the situation:

The ‘relationship business’ cannot so respond. Instead, it is engulfed in a miasma of self-serving and self-fulfilling myths based on the unspoken assumption that African-American films can never be vehicles of prestige, glamour, or celebrity. The relationship players have convinced themselves that black films can do only a limited domestic business under any circumstance and have virtually no foreign box office potential. They assume that the only dependable African-American audience is teenagers. They also assume that films that exploit black urban violence are all the black teenage audience and the limited crossover audiences want to see about black life. Any significant increases in production and marketing costs are projected as a wasted expense that cannot greatly increase the audience for African-American films.30

The Business of Black Films

Spike Lee is widely known as an independent black filmmaker who operates outside of the Hollywood mainstream, while also receiving critical acclaim. He is credited with starting the wave of independent black filmmakers, because of his impact on the film industry. Since directing and producing She’s Gotta Have It in 1986, Lee has directed and produced 15 films and executive-produced one.31

When he stepped on the scene as a filmmaker, “Lee helped to spark an independent mindset among African-Americans in the film industry that is evident in the new millennium.”32 With his first commercial film, Lee helped Hollywood realize that a feature film with an all-black cast could be both commercially and critically successful.33

She’s Gotta Have It, the story of a middle-class African-American woman living in Brooklyn and her three boyfriends, from whom she has a hard time choosing just one, is a comedic sexually charged film with an all-black cast, targeted to an African-American audience. To make the film, Lee operated outside of typical film industry practice. It was made without union support, insurance, or location permits. There were also no television spots, elaborate promotional campaign, or music soundtrack to bring awareness to the film. But of course, the biggest obstacle for Lee was financial capital. Another hurdle was the lack of access to exhibition venues. For capital Lee was able to earn small grants and attract private investors, personal donations from friends and acquaintances, and limited partnerships.34

His film was accepted to the San Francisco Film Festival and the prestigious “Director’s Fortnight” at Cannes. Island Pictures, an independent film distributor, picked up the film and, with Lee, devised a skillful distribution plan. The initial theatrical run was exclusively held at the 300-seat New York Cinema Studio One. After a successful run in New York, the film was released in San Francisco, Washington, D.C., and Chicago. This distribution strategy was a success. In the first week, the film was released on one screen with $50,000 at the box office; by week four it was on ten screens with $330,800 at the box office and $654,790 cumulative gross. Lee had made the film for $125,000, Island Pictures purchased the rights for $400,000, and it eventually grossed over $11 million.35

With many of his other films, Lee employed similar strategies. For Malcolm X, Warner Bros. financed the film with a budget Lee thought was too small for this epic story. He enlisted wealthy African-American celebrities to help complete the film. For Get on the Bus, a film about the Million Man March, Lee attracted a group of African-American businessmen to finance his $3 million budget. And when he brought his 2000 film Bamboozled to New Line Cinema, the film was budgeted at $23 million. Lee decided to shoot the film on digital video, which brought the cost down to $11 million.36 According to TheNumbers.com, the film, released October 6, 2000, reached a total U.S. gross of $2,185,266.37 Spike Lee is someone who makes a film by any means necessary. Many black filmmakers would follow Lee’s method of filmmaking and his story of success.

Keenen Ivory Wayans, best known for creating the Emmy Award-winning Fox Television Network show In Living Color, is another example of an independent black filmmaker who broke the barriers to distribution. Before making Scary Movie and Scary Movie 2, Wayans had directed two movies, and produced two others. Also an actor and former talk show host, Wayans is no stranger to Hollywood.38 His track record in Hollywood as an actor, director, and producer, helped him to gain a studio deal from Miramax for Scary Movie, a film that spoofs the company’s Scream franchise.39

As with other black films, Scary Movie was given a relatively low budget of $18 million. In its first weekend, it raked in $42.5 million at the box office.40 It was the largest opening ever for an African-American film director.41 The film grossed over $150 million domestic and was the highest-grossing film in Miramax’s history. Although the film wasn’t considered a black film, and was targeted to the mainstream as a teenage movie like Scream and its sequels, Wayans was only given a small budget.42

The film was successful in both the domestic and foreign markets, with a worldwide gross – as recorded November 16, 2000 – of $260 million.43 Miramax Dimension couldn’t ignore the earnings potential, so the studio rushed Wayans back into production to make a sequel. For the sequel he was given a bigger budget of $45 million,44 but in its first weekend it only grossed $21 million45 – a far cry from the opening weekend gross of the original. Scary Movie 2 only has a worldwide gross of $117.2 million in comparison to Scary Movie’s $260 million, according to Box Office Guru.46 Perhaps releasing a sequel was overkill, or the bad press the film received kept it from topping its predecessor. Perhaps the sequel was simply a bad movie. In an interview with Alberlynne “Abby” Harris on Blackfilm.com, Wayans discusses the difference in working with a small budget vs. a big budget:

I prefer the smaller budget versus the bigger budget because the mentality that goes along with big budget filmmaking doesn’t really suit me; the mindset that is that money is the answer. With the smaller budget world – it’s creativity. Creativity is the answer because you don’t have money. I always prefer the creative solution to an expensive solution.47

From Wayans’ experience it appears that past successes and creating relationships within Hollywood are necessary and required tools to obtaining a distribution deal for the independent black filmmaker. But in reality, not everyone can be Spike Lee or Kennen Ivory Wayans.

Robert Hardy began filmmaking when he was a student at Florida A & M University. He used wheelchair dollies and broomstick poles for equipment for his first movie, Chocolate City. Made on a $20,000 budget, the film was released nationally to home video and distributed independently over the Internet. But for his second film, Trois, he was able to acquire financing. Hardy credits the Acapulco Black Film Festival for helping to bring the film to the silver screen.48

Trois, a film that has been compared to Fatal Attraction,49 was financed by 50 non-industry investors and produced for under $200,000. Rainforest Films, a production and distribution company that Hardy runs with two partners, independently distributed the film. Trois opened in mainstream exhibitor chains including AMC, Loews, United Artists, Regal, and Carmike and in top markets including Chicago, Atlanta, New York, and Los Angeles. In its opening weekend, the film shot above a $10,000 per screen mark. With the company’s distribution strategy, Trois earned over a million dollars on just 50 screens. This success enabled Rainforest to obtain a home video distribution deal with Sony’s Columbia Tri-Star Home Video. Rainforest directed, produced, distributed, and promoted, and marketed the film independently.50 And as of December 11, 2001, Trois earned $1.091 million gross, according to The Movie Times.51

Rainforest Films decided to cut out the middleman in order to bring its project to the big screen. This is another example of making a film by any means necessary. And any means is necessary, because the fact is many black films never make it off the shelf. Faced with the common studio and distributor contention that black films only have limited appeal domestically and no appeal internationally,52 self-distribution would seem the only option for independent black filmmakers.

Haile Gerima isan Ethiopian-born filmmaker, producer, and Howard University professor who has been making films since 1976. His 1993 film Sankofa received the Best Cinematography Award at the Pan African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO) in Burkina Faso, first prize in the African Film Festival, and the Oscar Micheaux Award.53 Gerima launched his own distribution company in 1982 to address what he calls the imbalanced system of distribution in the U.S. His distribution company, Mypheduh Films (MFI), distributes his own work and that of other filmmakers of African descent from around the world.54

Sankofa is probably Gerima’s most notable film. Although it fared well at the box office, Gerima could not get Hollywood to back it. He produced and distributed Sankofa through his company, MFI. In the film, a 20th-century fashion model is transported back in time, to experience slavery first hand. Made on a $1 million budget, Sankofa grossed more than $2 million. It had long runs in New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Washington, D.C.55 The Magic Johnson Theatre in L.A. also showed the film for a run of three months.56 In the tradition of Oscar Micheaux, Gerima would take his reel from city to city, and hold discussions about the film with the audience. Over the course of its theatrical run, the film made more than $5 million.57

According to bell hooks, the film’s success is attributable to what she calls its Hollywood style. In an interview with the filmmaker Charles Burnett in Reel to Real, she says:

We don’t have a large enough African-American audience that values independent films. And when that audience does promote an independent film, it will usually be one that is similar to Hollywood films – like Haile Gerima’s film Sankofa. It’s very Hollywood. Contentwise, it may differ from Hollywood and in standpoint, but in the way it progresses as a story, in the way it highlights certain kinds of violence, particularly sexualized violence, it is very Hollywood.58

hooks’ critical assessment is not an observation that Gerima agrees with. In an interview with Anne Cremieux on Africultures.com, he says, “So if Sankofa was Hollywood, why was it not distributed to its full potential, why did I foot-walk it across the country, why did I open it myself, why did Hollywood reject it?”59 For Gerima, like Hardy, self-distribution was, and is, the solution. Other black filmmakers faced with such odds might want to consider this vehicle also.

Shot on digital video, Jerry LaMothe’s Amour Infinity is an urban love story about a young man who has just lost his job and his girlfriend, and has become a single father. Thinking his life can’t get any worse, he comes across an old high school flame named Amour, which further complicates his life.60

At the 2000 Urban World Film festival, the film’s premiere was sold out, resulting in a second showing on the final day of the festival. Amour Infinity was then invited to the International Chicago Film Festival and was picked up by Black Cinema Café on a five-city tour. It was the highest-rated film for BCC in its three-year history. Amour Infinity also received the best feature film award at the 2000 Jamerican Film Festival, and LaMothe was given the People’s Choice Award at the Hollywood Black Film Festival 2001 and has been nominated for the Melvin Van Peebles Maverick Award for emerging filmmaker.61

Despite the critical festival acclaim LaMothe has received, Amour Infinity was not picked up by a film studio. Other than its BCC run, the film has had no major exhibition or distribution. LaMothe was pursuing a video distribution deal for the film, but has since begun work on his second film.62 In his interview with William Morales on Blackfilm.com, LaMothe talks about the difficulties of distribution:

The distribution is definitely the hardest phase and process in the whole filmmaking process in itself. Generally, in the initial stage people will tell you that completing a film is like the biggest obstacle and it is a great achievement but actually the distribution in itself is the greatest challenge. Often one has to sit and wait to secure studio deals where they have different options of going to video or pay per view and that often can be very complex which is again why we took the initiative and put it out ourselves. We know the full potential of this movie.63

What’s the Problem?

While black filmmakers have made great strides within Hollywood since the early ’90s, disparities still exist within Hollywood’s acquisition of black films as compared with the acquisition of mainstream films, made primarily by white directors. Keenen Ivory Wayans was successful in obtaining a sizeable budget for Scary Movie 2, but that was only after proving the crossover appeal of the original film. For the most part, black directors don’t get those kinds of deals. This remains a fact, regardless of how well the examples presented have performed at the box office.

Although many movies made by black directors that are targeted to an African-American viewership possess cultural capital, that capital does not translate into potential profits for the industry at large. That is, unless the rules of business are based on exploitation. Until Hollywood reconsiders its approach to acquiring black films, obtaining sizeable budgets for production and distribution will be the thorn in the independent black filmmaker’s side.

Looking Ahead

While waiting for Hollywood to change its practices, self-distribution is a likely alternative. Without adequate finances, it is of course a lofty goal to achieve, even on video or DVD. And while lack of finances is no longer as much of an issue with regard to completing a film, as illustrated by Spike Lee and Jerry LaMothe in their use of digital video, there still remains a dilemma – attracting viewers. Having the wherewithal to self-distribute, or access to a deal, continues to be a burden for the black filmmaker.

Technological advances might serve as a solution in the future. When the dot.com industry was at its peak, a host of Internet sites were launched to serve as an alternative distribution vehicle for independent filmmakers. Most of them failed, including ones launched by big-name directors like Steven Spielberg and Ron Howard. In the long run, for most of these companies, serving up free content that required excessive bandwidth became too costly. Without true broadband delivery, the companies were unable to execute effective business models.64 As broadband becomes more of a reality, the potential for distributing films online and earning revenues increases. Pay-per-view, pay-per-byte, pay-per-hour, and even set fees for streaming downloads per month could be likely.65

Utilizing the Web as a marketing tool to attract studios’ attention to a film project could also be an alternative. Urban Entertainment, the first Web-based company to sell a film to a major studio, represents a perfect example of this scenario. The Web site’s animated series Undercover Brother was sold to Universal Entertainment for $3 million. In this studio deal, Urban Entertainment received fees for services, is eligible for bonuses based on box office performance, and will benefit from ancillary revenue streams such as merchandising and soundtrack sales. Universal will pay for P&A costs, distribute the film, and bank the profits from the June 2002 release expected to open on about 2,000 screens.66

Warrington Hudlin envisions an entirely different future for black filmmakers that resembles the structure of the music recording and distribution industry. In the article “Fade to Black,” he says, “We need more black executives, and I mean more than one token. Unfortunately, most studios don’t even have that. The only way we’ll see meaningful change is when blacks have their own studios, or [when] studios create black divisions.”67

However the game ultimately plays itself out, independent black filmmakers have a long, bumpy ride ahead. Based on their recent activity in the film industry, it appears they are up to the challenge.

Bibliography

Books

Ellis Cashmore, The Black Culture Industry (London: Routledge, 1997).

Gina Dent, ed., Black Popular Culture (New York: The New Press, 1998).

bell hooks, Reel to Real: Race, Sex, and Class at the Movies (New York: Routledge, 1996).

S. Craig Watkins, Representing: Hip Hop Culture and the Production of Black Cinema (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1998).

Magazine and Journal Articles:

George Alexander, “Reaching the Silver Screen,” Black Enterprise, (December 2001), pp. 92-98.

George Alexander, “Fade to Black,” Black Enterprise (December 2000), pp. 108-115.

Dennis Greene, “Tragically Hip: Hollywood and African-American Cinema (Race in Contemporary American Cinema, part 2), Cineaste v20, n4 (October 1994), p. 28.

Lorraine Morris, “Top Black Independent Films of 2000,” Upscale (March, 2000), pp. 34-36.

Jesse Algeron Rhines, “The Political Economy of Black Film (Race in Contemporary American Cinema: Part 4),” Cineaste v21, n3 (Summer 1995), p. 38.

Online Articles

______, “Film Feature: Jerry LaMothe,” Socialstep.com. http://www.socialstep.com/culture/film_feature.asp

Nancy Chandross, “Wayans Weekend,” ABC News online, (July 2000). http://abcnews.go.com/sections/entertainment/DailyNews/boxoffice000709.html

Anne Crémieux, “Interview with Haile Gerima (Ethiopia/USA),” Africultures.com (March 2001). http://www.africultures.com/actualite/sorties/anglais/gerima.htm

Alberlynne “Abby” Harris, “An Interview with Keenen Ivory Wayans: Working Around the Clock from the Director’s Chair,” (July 2001). http://blackfilm.com/20010713/features/i-keenenivorywayans.shtml

John Hartl, “Fighting to Be Seen,” Film.com (1994). http://www.film.com/film-review/1994/9366/109/default-review.html

Jim Hu, “Icebox Prepares to Unplug, Cut Staff,” Cnet News (February 7, 2001). http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1005-200-4744306.html

Lynne d Johnson, “Waiting for DSL,” BlackPlanet.com (April 25, 2001). http://www.blackplanet.com/Members/Channels/frameset.html?CATID=22&ID=4453

Tome Koegh, “A Partial Victory,” Film.com (2000). http://www.film.com/film-review/2000/10013098/23/default-review.html

Wilson Morales, “Amour Infinity : Rappin’ with Actor/Director Jerry LaMothe,” Blackfilm.com (May 2001).
http://blackfilm.com/0305/features/i-jerrylamothe.shtml

Emma E. Pullen, “Global Majority is Black Films’ ‘Foreign Market’,” Africana.com (January 26, 2001). http://www.africana.com/DailyArticles/index_20010126.htm

Rebecca Ascher-Walsh, “Fright’s Night,” EW Daily News (July 2000). http://www.ew.com/ew/daily/0,2514,3290,00.html

Web Sites/Online Resources

Acapulco Black Film Festival http://www.abff.com/about/about.htm

Africana.com http://www.africana.com

African-American Filmmaker’s Association
http://www.africanamericanfilm.org/index.html

Alliance of Black Entertainment Technicians
http://www.abetnetwork.com/aboutabet.htm

Black Cinema Café http://www.blackcinemacafe.com

Blackfilm.com http://www.blackfilm.com/

Black Filmmaker Magazine. http://www.blackfilmmakermag.com/

Black Film Center Archive http://www.indiana.edu/~bfca/

Blackflix.com http://www.blackflix.com

Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center
http://www.bherc.org/film_festivals.html

Blackvoices.com http://www.blackvoices.com

Box Office Guru http://www.boxofficeguru.com/

Cinema.com http://www.cinema.com

Cinema Shorts http://www.cinema-shorts.com

DV Republic http://www.dvrepublic.com/

E! Online http://www.eonline.com

Entertainment Insiders http://www.einsiders.com/

Filmmaker Magazine http://www.filmmakermagazine.com

Hollywood.com http://www.hollywood.com

iFilm http://www.ifilm.com/

infoplease http://www.infoplease.com

Harvard Black Film Festival http://hcs.harvard.edu/~kuumba/BAF.html

Hollywood Black Film Festival http://www.hbff.org/

Newark Black Film Festival http://www.newarkmuseum.org/newarkblackfilmfest/

The Numbers http://www.the-numbers.com

The Organization of Black Screen Writers http://www.obswriter.com/

Pan African Film Festival http://www.panafricanarts.org/home.html

Queen City Black Film Festival http://www.qcfilmfest.com/

Rainforest Films http://www.rainforest-films.com

Reel Images Magazine http://www.reelimagesmagazine.com/

Sankofa.com http://www.sankofa.com/

Seeingblack.com http://www.seeingblack.com

Urbanworld Film Festival http://uwff.com

E-mail

Blackfilm.com (info@blackfilm.com). (December 14, 2001). Blackfilm.com Report. E-mail to Subscribers (reports@databack.com).

Blackcinemacafe. (blackcinemacafe@tribecafilm). (December 3, 2001). RSVP REMINDER – Black Cinema Cafe December Screening of “Love Come Down” (blackcinemacafe@tribecafilm.com).

 

 

 

  1. S. Craig Watkins, Representing: Hip Hop Culture and the Production of Black Cinema (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1998) p. 91. []
  2. Ibid. []
  3. Ibid. []
  4. Elizabeth Heath, “Film: Micheaux, Oscar,” Africana.com. http://www.africana.com/Articles/tt_823.htm []
  5. Ibid. []
  6. S. Craig Watkins, Representing: Hip Hop Culture and the Production of Black Cinema (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1998) p. 92. []
  7. Jesse Algeron Rhines, “The Political Economy of Black Film (Race in Contemporary American Cinema: Part 4),” Cineaste v21, n3 (Summer, 1995) p. 38. []
  8. Ibid. []
  9. Melvin Peebles Biography. Infoplease.com. http://www.infoplease.com/ipea/A0766465.html []
  10. Jesse Algeron Rhines, “The Political Economy of Black Film (Race in Contemporary American Cinema: Part 4),” Cineaste v21, n3 (Summer, 1995) p. 38. []
  11. _______, “Black Genre Is Born,” Black History Month 1998, BlackVoices.com. []
  12. Jesse Algeron Rhines, “The Political Economy of Black Film (Race in Contemporary American Cinema: Part 4),” Cineaste v21, n3 (Summer, 1995) p. 38. []
  13. Ibid. []
  14. George Alexander, “Fade to Black,” Black Enterprise, (December, 2000) p. 110. []
  15. bell hooks, Reel To Real: Race, Sex, and Class at the Movies (New York: Routledge, 1996) p. 71. []
  16. S. Craig Watkins, Representing: Hip Hop Culture and the Production of Black Cinema (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1998) p. 98. []
  17. Ibid. p. 97. []
  18. Ibid. []
  19. Jesse Algeron Rhines, “The Political Economy of Black Film (Race in Contemporary American Cinema: Part 4),” Cineaste v21, n3 (Summer, 1995) p. 38. []
  20. Blackfilm.com (info@blackfilm.com). (December 14, 2001). Blackfilm.com Report. E-mail to Subscribers (reports@databack.com). []
  21. UniWorld Films, about us. http://www.chelseaharlem.com/uniworldfilms/about_us.html and Black Cinema Café, about BCC http://www.blackcinemacafe.com/aboutbcc.htm. []
  22. George Alexander, “Reaching the Silver Screen,” Black Enterprise, (December, 2001) p. 92. []
  23. Ibid., p. 96. []
  24. Dennis Greene, “Tragically Hip: Hollywood and African-American Cinema (Race in Contemporary American Cinema, part 2) Cineaste v20, n4 (October, 1994) p. 28. []
  25. George Alexander, “Fade to Black,” Black Enterprise, (December, 2000) p. 110. []
  26. Ibid., p. 108. & Emma E. Pullen, “Global Majority is Black Films’ “Foreign Market”,” Africana.com, (January 26, 2001). http://www.africana.com/DailyArticles/index_20010126.htm []
  27. George Alexander, “Fade to Black,” Black Enterprise, (December, 2000) p. 114. []
  28. Emma E. Pullen, “Global Majority is Black Films’ “Foreign Market”,” Africana.com, (January 26, 2001). http://www.africana.com/DailyArticles/index_20010126.htm []
  29. George Alexander, “Fade to Black,” Black Enterprise, (December, 2000) p. 110. []
  30. Dennis Greene, “Tragically Hip: Hollywood and African-American Cinema (Race in Contemporary American Cinema, part 2) Cineaste v20, n4 (October, 1994) p. 28. []
  31. Spike Lee, Filmography, Cinema.com. http://www.cinema.com/search/person_detail.phtml?ID=636 []
  32. Lorraine Morris, “Top Black Independent Films of 2000,” Upscale, (March, 2000) p. 34. []
  33. S. Craig Watkins, Representing: Hip Hop Culture and the Production of Black Cinema (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1998) p. 108. []
  34. Ibid., pp. 108-110. []
  35. Ibid., pp. 111-112. & Lorraine Morris, “Top Black Independent Films of 2000,” Upscale, (March, 2000) p. 34. []
  36. George Alexander, “Fade to Black,” Black Enterprise, (December, 2000) p. 112. []
  37. Bamboozled, Box Office Data, The Numbers. http://www.the-numbers.com/movies/2000/BMBZL.html []
  38. Keenen Ivory Wayans, Credits, iFilm.com. http://www.ifilm.com/ifilm/people/people_index/0,4128,182799,00.html []
  39. George Alexander, “Fade to Black,” Black Enterprise, (December, 2000) p. 108. []
  40. Nancy Chandross, “Wayans Weekend,” ABC News online, (July, 2000). http://abcnews.go.com/sections/entertainment/DailyNews/boxoffice000709.html []
  41. Rebecca Ascher-Walsh, “Fright’s Night,” EW Daily News (July, 2000). http://www.ew.com/ew/daily/0,2514,3290,00.html []
  42. George Alexander, “Fade to Black,” Black Enterprise, (December, 2000) p. 108. []
  43. Worldwide Box Office Grosses, Box Office Guru, (December, 2001). http://www.boxofficeguru.com/intlarch5.htm []
  44. Christy Lemire, “The Movie Fans’ Journal: Scary Movie 2,” 9Online Movies. http://www.kwtv.com/movies/reviews/r-scary2.htm []
  45. Ei: The Weekend Gross (July, 2001). http://www.einsiders.com/gross/2001-07-6-8.html []
  46. Worldwide Box Office Grosses, Box Office Guru, (December, 2001). http://www.boxofficeguru.com/intl.htm []
  47. Alberlynne “Abby” Harris, “An Interview with Keenen Ivory Wayans: Working around the clock from the Director’s Chair,” (July, 2001). http://blackfilm.com/20010713/features/i-keenenivorywayans.shtml []
  48. Lorraine Morris, “Top Black Independent Films of 2000,” Upscale, (March, 2000) p. 36. []
  49. Tome Koegh, “A Partial Victory,” Film.com (2000). http://www.film.com/film-review/2000/10013098/23/default-review.html []
  50. “Rainforest’s Impact on Cinema,” & “Rainforest’s Impact on Hollywood,” Rainforest Web site. http://www.rainforest-films.com/wow/area.cfm?xcr=hi&xhc=3 []
  51. “The Movie Times: Movies of 2000 By Release Date: Domestic Gross in Millions,” (December, 2001). http://www.the-movie-times.com/thrsdir/moviesof2000.html []
  52. George Alexander, “Reaching the Silver Screen,” Black Enterprise, (December, 2001) p. 94. []
  53. ______, “Filmmaker Haile Gerima to Speak at Screening of his Latest Work,” Stanford Online Report, (February 23, 2000). http://news-service.stanford.edu/news/february23/gerima-223.html []
  54. ______, “Haile Gerima, ” Sankofa.com. http://www.sankofa.com/haile_gerima.shtml []
  55. John Hartl, “Fighting to Be Seen,” Film.com (1994). http://www.film.com/film-review/1994/9366/109/default-review.html []
  56. Anne Crémieux, “Interview with Haile Gerima (Ethiopia/USA),” Africultures.com (March, 2001). http://www.africultures.com/actualite/sorties/anglais/gerima.htm []
  57. Emma E. Pullen, “Global Majority Is Black Films’ “Foreign Market”,” Africana.com, (January 26, 2001). http://www.africana.com/DailyArticles/index_20010126.htm []
  58. bell hooks, Reel to Real: Race, Sex, and Class at the Movies (New York: Routledge, 1996) p. 159. []
  59. Anne Crémieux, “Interview with Haile Gerima (Ethiopia/USA),” Africultures.com (March, 2001). http://www.africultures.com/actualite/sorties/anglais/gerima.htm []
  60. Wilson Morales, “Amour Infinity: Rappin’ with Actor/Director Jerry LaMothe,” Blackfilm.com, (May, 2001). http://blackfilm.com/0305/features/i-jerrylamothe.shtml []
  61. ______, “Film Feature: Jerry LaMothe,” Socialstep.com. http://www.socialstep.com/culture/film_feature.asp []
  62. I interviewed LaMothe for a story that was to appear on BlackPlanet.com six months ago, but I was laid off before the story got to run. My niece recently read for a role in his upcoming film. []
  63. Wilson Morales, “Amour Infinity: Rappin’ with Actor/Director Jerry LaMothe,” Blackfilm.com, (May, 2001). http://blackfilm.com/0305/features/i-jerrylamothe.shtml []
  64. Jim Hu, “Icebox Prepares to Unplug, Cut Staff,” Cnet News, (February 7, 2001). http://news.cnet.com/news/0-1005-200-4744306.html []
  65. Lynne d Johnson, “Waiting for DSL,” BlackPlanet.com, (April 25, 2001).http://www.blackplanet.com/Members/Channels/frameset.html?CATID=22&ID=4453 []
  66. George Alexander, “Reaching the Silver Screen,” Black Enterprise, (December, 2001) p. 98. []
  67. George Alexander, “Fade to Black,” Black Enterprise, (December, 2000) p. 115. []