Much is usually made about the absence of black cinema from the local/mainstream theaters and the only thing that is being released are Tyler Perry films but there is in fact a good number, and quality, of independent black films that have been coming out in the last few years. ‘New Black Cinema’ is in an odd purgatory of while not being as overtly self-conscious about race as Spike Lee (Medicine for Melancholy being the best example that I have listed), they still aren’t in a post-racial world where race doesn’t matter. So there is usually an odd confrontation of undeniable blackness that comes at some moment, however being human and an individual is still an important component of the characters.
Outside of obvious racial components that are most likely going to dominant black cinema for years to come, also developing under the surface is black sexuality as exemplified in Dennis Dortch’s A Good Day to be Black & Sexy. Also, homosexuality has begun to be discussed within the black community, in large part because of the impact of HIV/AIDS on the both the black and homosexual community.
I was originally going to just start at the year 2000, but the obvious dawned on me, had it not been for the success of Spike’s earlier work of the late 80s with She’s Gotta Have It, School Daze, and Do the Right Thing many of the mid and late 90s work wouldn’t have been green-lite. So I decided to start at pretty much the early 90s. Most the films are from 1996 and onward though. The more and more I research the more I learn about how many starter with and even before Spike Lee. Eventually I would like to do a master list of Black directed films centered on Black subjects and lives. Hopefully that list will at least be 300 films deep into the Mubi database.
Lost my train of thought, obviously will be edited and updated as more is seen and learned. Ya dig?
I’m steadily trying to get more of their films on Mubi.
Yvonne Welbon’s Sisters in Cinema is a must watch considering that in chronicles so much both black and female from all the back to race films to around the release of the film in 2003. The director currently has a site up dedicated to the film as well as a mini-database of the women chronicled in the film. http://www.sistersincinema.com/film/index.html
Dir. Clayton Broomes Jr.
Dir. Ava DuVernay
Dir. Tanya Hamilton
Dir. Barry Jenkins
Dir. Dennis Durtch
Dir. Dee Rees
Dir. Linda Goode Bryant (Flag Wars)
Dir. Laura Poitras (Flag Wars)
Dir. Roger S. Omeus Jr.
Dir. Cheryl Dunye
Dir. Marlon Riggs
Dir. Julia Dash
Dir. Kasi Lemmons
Dir. Doug McHenry
Dir. Mario Van Peebles
Dir. F. Gary Gray
Dir. Gina Prince-Bythewood
Dir. Carl Franklin
Dir. Yvonne Welbon (Sisters in Cinema)
Dir. Troy Bailey (Let’s Talk About Sex)
Dir. Shari L. Carpenter (Kali’s Vibe)
Dir. Ayoka Chenzira (Alma’s Rainbow)
Dir. DeMane Davis (Black & White & Red All Over)
Dir. Harry McCoy (Black & White & Red All Over)
Dir. Khari Streeter (Black & White & Red All Over)
Dir. Alison Swan
Dir. Rodney Evans
Dir. Hughes Brothers
Dir. Nelson George (Brooklyn Boheme)
Dir. John Carstarphen (FLMKR)
Dir. Jonathan Meyer Robinson (Every Child is Born a Poet: The Life and Work of Piri Thomas)
Dir. Isaac Julien
Dir. Christine Swanson
Dir. Bridgett M. Davis
Dir. Victoria Mahoney
Dir. M.K. Asante Jr.
Dir. Diana Paragas (Brooklyn Boheme)
Dir. Alex Stapleton (Outside In: The Story of Art in the Streets, Corman’s World: Exploits of a Hollywood Rebel)
Dir. Noel Calloway (Life, Love, Soul)
Dir. Kareem Mortimer
Dir. Tina Mabry
Dir. Rashaad Ernesto Green
Dir. Scott Sanders
Dir. Michael Pinckney (You’re Nobody ’til Somebody Kills You)