Gordon Parks Jr

But remember, these two films Shaft, Super Fly brought out a new audience. They made money for shaky studios and launched new stars in Hollywood.1 Gordon Parks Jr. At one point in his early years as a still photographer, Gordon Parks Jr. worked under the name of Gordon Rogers to avoid confusion with or exploitation of his father's name. But their names and professions would overlap in the early '70s as father and son both directed two of the most recognized black films of the era Shaft and...

What does a director do on a given film

The response to that question varies as much as the process of film production itself. In general, a director would be closely involved with the three major phases of completing a film preproduction, production, and postproduction. In the preproduction phase, the director could be active in working on the final script choosing the actors and primary technical personnel rehearsing the actors sharing ideas with the production designer, costume personnel, and makeup artists and even finalizing...

How can a directors work be evaluated

Combining the ideas of the French New Wave critics, American critics, and film scholars, a director's work can be assessed for certain discernible aspects within a single film, or more ideally, within the body of his her film works. Regardless, when working under the premise that a film is the personal artistic expression of the director, the following areas can be critiqued (1) the visual techniques, such as camera angles, frame composition, altered reality, textures, and colors (2) any...

Introduction

Of the many creative people who collaborate on a motion picture, the director is regarded as the pivotal individual who governs the aggregate elements for completing the final film. In contemporary American cinema, the director serves as both the guiding force behind a film's effective content and boxoffice success. Films, consequently, have been called a director's medium. Since the mid-1960s in Hollywood, more than seventy black directors have attained this key position of director. Although...

Black Sensibilities and Mainstream Images

With black urban action films presenting the dominant images of blacks in the early 1970s, there seemed to be little room for any other depiction in mainstream entertainment. On the one hand, the prevalence of black superheroes, who were protecting the community against the man and drugs, provided an affirmation of black existence previously absent from the screen. Regardless of the flaws and redundancy of those black images, they revitalized the business motives of Hollywood studios. Many of...

Gordon Parks

After directing five motion pictures in Hollywood, I was still fascinated with its seductiveness and its challenges. Yet, sometimes I couldn't help but think of it as the grand illusion.1 Gordon Parks In addition to his distinctive career as a professional photographer, Gordon Parks Jr. has also been a published poet, an author of three autobiographies, a novelist, a composer, and a Hollywood director. With an early life filled with racial oppression, restlessness, and violence, Parks could...

Ivan Dixon

I would put simple, honest images of Black human beings in Black situations, Black human situations. There are human situations that people have regardless of color. I just want to see it take place from the point of view of the Black ethos or social group.7 Ivan Dixon Ivan Dixon, similar to Sidney Poitier and Ossie Davis, came to directing after gaining popularity as an actor. Dixon was a household name and face to millions of viewers due to his regular role in the late-i96os CBS television...

Sidney Poitier

I have a responsibility as an artist and because I am black, that artistic responsibility has a certain connectedness to the community of which I am a representative. In order to influence the nature of the material you must first conquer any residual resistance there may be that says blacks can't make the money. . . . You therefore have to pursue those subjects that will satisfy a black community and that will seduce the white community purely on the basis of entertainment.8 Sidney Poitier...

What is the difference between a Hollywood film and an independent film

The distinction between the Hollywood and independent film is important, though by the late 1990s, a clear and consistent definition of the latter became problematic. Traditionally, an independent film was a project that was financed, developed, and completed without involvement from any major Hollywood studio. However, by the year 2000, as one critic notes, tjhe corporate complexity of the contemporary entertainment industry is such that many independent companies are, in fact, owned by the...

Michael Schultz The Crossover King

Images Dexter Slapping Larry

In many films, I want to tell a story everybody can understand. But more importantly, I want an audience to come out of a film with more than what they went in with thinking, feeling, laughing, crying.1 Michael Schultz Between 1964 and 1985, Michael Schultz was Hollywood's major black director of feature films. Unlike other black directors, Schultz won acceptability and approval from the established studios, and he served as a formidable presence in stage and television direction as well....

Black Urban Action Films and Mainstream Images

The creative, pioneering efforts of Van Peebles, Parks, Davis, and Poitier were not just transitory occurrences that had no impact on the Hollywood scene. It wasn't that Hollywood was contritely endeavoring to make reparations for its legacy of African American screen images, nor was there a particular era of egalitarianism that white studio bosses were opening up for black filmmakers. By the early 1970s, it became a clear business strategy that black screen images offered a means for tapping...

Hugh A Robertson

Rosalind Cash

My goal has always been to be a director. I decided to hold out, to use my reputation as an editor as a kind of lure. I sold things for my independence That way I could say no to editing jobs and still eat.21 Hugh A. Robertson If one particular technical position were chosen as the best preparation for directing a film, it would be that of the film editor. Besides the physical organizing of a film's sequences, the editor must have a creative appreciation for the potential of the film, as well...

Fred Williamson

Fred Williamson

I wanted to make something dynamic in Hollywood, something true to myself, not just get a part and become an actor. So I started writing my own films and raising my own money. From 1970 to about 1976, the Black actor being the winner, being the hero was happening.15 Fred Williamson Fred Williamson brought two important things to black filmmaking in the i97os a large, indestructible ego and entrepreneurship. With this combination Williamson stands out for his contribution to the international...

Jamaa Fanaka

Leon Isaac Kennedy

I did everything they said it takes to make it in the film industry. . . . They said you're sic got to have a hot film. I had three successful films. They said you need critical acclaim. I got rave reviews from the Los Angeles Times, Variety, the Hollywood Reporter, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the NewYork Post. What do you do next 15 Jamaa Fanaka One of the more colorful and controversial personalities within the directing arena during the 1980s and 1990s, Jamaa Fanaka received perhaps...

Gilbert Moses

Roscoe Orman

I take social conventions and turn them into art, popularize culture, give it a sense of proportion.33 Gilbert Moses A successful stage and television director who died too early at the age of fifty-two, Gilbert Moses etched his name in the collection of respected black directors who could carry a project successfully through to fruition. Born in 1943, Moses grew up in a Cleveland ghetto, but he began acting at the age of nine, which perhaps ignited his love for...

Raymond St Jacques

I think it is my duty to make the Black masses more discerning about films. I believe you can make entertaining films that are also enlightening.40 Born James Arthur Johnson in Hartford, Connecticut, Raymond St. Jacques was raised in New Haven during his high school years. Unable to afford college, he went into the air force for four years, but eventually he attended Yale University.41 He began a career as an actor at the American Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Connecticut, and appeared in...

Ron ONeal

When I was a child in the ghetto, I had no confidence or pride because nobody ever told me who I was or what I could do. Now . . . Black kids still have next to no self-image. . I'm hoping that the most inspiration will come from our success as filmmakers.29 Ron O'Neal Having received acclaim for his stage acting, and for his signature role as Priest in the immensely popular Super Fly, Ron O'Neal was bound to draw attention to the first feature he directed. That movie, Super Fly T.N.T. 1973 ,...

Stan Lathan

Jon Chardiet

I was directing theater in Boston and working at WGB H , a public station. The station decided they needed a black director because they expected there would be rebellions that summer. We quickly put together a magazine show called Say Brother which gave a lot of African Americans their first shot at producing and directing.13 Stan Lathan A significant creative presence in television since the late 1960s, Stan Lathan completed two feature films in the 1970s and 1980s that highlighted black...

Melvin Van Peebles

Godfrey Cambridge

One of the reasons I originally wanted to make films was that I got tired of what they Hollywood filmmakers were doing. I knew I could do better. At least, I knew it wouldn't be hard to do better than that. It took me ten years to get a chance to do it their way, and what I discovered at Columbia Pictures is that their way gets in my way. I just did my best and got on with my own independent career.12 Melvin Van Peebles It may be difficult to measure the extent to which Melvin Van Peebles...

Berry Gordy Jr

Diana Ross Berry Gordy

It Mahogany was one of the great thrills of my life when Isaid action to begin the first scene I ever directed, everything and everybody started moving. I'd been chairman of the board but never had the feeling of such power. It was incredible.1 Berry Gordy Jr. Berry Gordy Jr.'s fame as a record mogul and music producer was well established by the early 1970s. He had spearheaded a remarkable business accomplishment by taking unknown talents and honing them into a self-contained empire that...