Very worthy, provocative piece in the LA Times today on African American directors and writers struggling to have their films see the light of day, if they aren't a Tyler Perry knockoff or a dumb family comedy.
African American filmmakers seek a new star
Actor Reginald T. Dorsey, who is seeking distributing for "Kings of the Evening," a drama set in the Great Depression that he helped produce and was a hit at the recent Pan African Film Festival, said studios and backers often tell him and other black filmmakers that the financial risks in investing in projects without a high concept or a major star outweigh the benefits and that there is little international interest in small black films. "It's like a slap in the face," he said. "My movie is more than just a black film. It's about where you're from and what you know."
"When it comes to Hollywood, there's been all this hemming and hawing," Hartsfield said. "They'll say, 'Oh, we love the script,' but it makes people nervous because it's a black drama. It doesn't fit within the formula; it makes them nervous."
"Trying to get black people to go see 'The Great Debaters' was like pulling teeth," said [Charles] Burnett, who is seeking distribution for his latest film, "Namibia: The Struggle for Liberation," about the long battle waged by the African country for independence. "Our own people don't support stories that make a difference, stories that support the independent spirit."