LOS ANGELES — Musical. Romance. Epic history. Social drama. Christmas comedy. After years of complaint and self-criticism about the shortage of prominent movies by and about black Americans, film companies are poised to release an extraordinary cluster of them across an array of genres in the last five months of 2013.
At least 10 new films will be released, including several awards contenders, from both independent and major distributors, like the Weinstein Company, Fox Searchlight and Universal Pictures. Even some of those who made this year’s movies have been caught by surprise.
“You tell me!” said the director and screenwriter Lee Daniels, when asked how so many black-driven films had materialized at once. His historical drama “The Butler” — based on a real-life White House butler who served eight presidents — is to be released by Weinstein on Aug. 16. “I’m working in my own bubble, I come up for air, and there they are,” Mr. Daniels said.
Black filmmakers say the wave of 2013 releases was built in large part on the creativity that has flourished on the independent-film circuit, which has become a laboratory of sorts for more prominent African-American-themed productions. Writers and directors have been sharpening their skills on indie films the last several years while waiting for big distributors to regain interest.
NEW YORK – From one icon to another, this February Macy’s, an American retail institution, salutes American cultural hero Gordon Parks in celebration of Black History Month.
Via special events and exhibits at select stores across the country, Macy’s will honor the legacy of this artistic master who chronicled and defined a generation and whose work continues to inspire artists today.
A humanitarian with a deep commitment to social justice, Gordon Parks was one of the seminal figures of twentieth-century photography.
From the early 1940s until his death in 2006, Parks created a body of work that documents many of the most important aspects of American culture, with a focus on race relations, poverty, Civil Rights and urban life.
In addition, Parks was a celebrated composer, author and filmmaker who interacted with many of the most prominent people of his era — from politicians and artists to celebrities and athletes. In 1969 he became the first African-American to write and direct a Hollywood feature film based on his bestselling novel “The Learning Tree.” This was followed in 1971 by the hugely successful motion picture “Shaft.”