Firstly, this does not usually tie into what I blog about on here. For years there has been much discussion about why Hollywood does not portray black people in a particular way and how can we become more prominent in the films made by Hollywood.
My answer to this is we should consider building and developing our own film industry and studios. Black Americans have the resources to be able to make our own films and the resources to distribute the films too. There is a history of black people owning studios and making our own films during segregation, since we were not able to view the same films as white people. It meant we had to go to separate film showings and if it was in the same cinema we had to go through separate entrances usually at the side.
In the introduction of integration it was a like a fickle event the other offer seemed better so everyone decided to take up the mainstreams offer of entertainment in terms of film, business and entertainment. As people went to the mainstream and integrated their services, the white owned establishments did not integrate their services it was more the black people moved towards using the white owned services and products. In this time the thriving black owned businesses and the economy created was beginning to deteriorate.
The history stated above demonstrates we like to try to go to the mainstream and ask them to accommodate us rather than us creating our own films. There are black film makers out there who are interested in telling a more accurate story with various platforms to do this. Film making is not necessarily a platform best served in Hollywood and this is true to black films who are funded by whites who have no interest in black peoples welfare just their own.
The way in which we would be able to create our films may be to:
Work with independent black studios
Work with African studios
create your own studio, as a partnership or consortium
These are a couple of ways our own films are created, granted there will not be the special effects or the cameras not being HD quality in some case, as well as there not being A-list actors, but there are actors out there who would be willing to represent (more accurately) black history.
If we were to create our own films then we could erase the white saviour and the story can be told how we wanted to. The main challenge would be finance, whilst there is finance in Hollywood, independent films find it difficult to get funding. Here is a list of funding possibilities:
Working with other filmmakers (Sharing costs)
Being funded by a Black Investor
Working with an African/Caribbean studios
These options are feasible and important to making the ability to make our own films a possibility, the crowd funding is a definite one, as documentaries such as Hidden Colors was funded by this means it would mean hard work convincing black people to fund the films but it would be worth it. Being funded by a black investor also feasible as there are black millionaires though it would need to be a person who has black interests first and foremost rather than just a profit. There are different studios on the doorstep of the Americans and they can fund or allow use of the studios for black filmmakers, though the environment differs to that of America. African studios are most feasible to make films since its a huge continent/country, though like the Caribbean the environment is different to the Caribbean, it may be more feasible to secure finance or access to equipment to make the film. Partnership working could be feasible if the right partner is found with the attributes and aims being mutual.
In the event that black people do begin to make a film in the accurate meaning, then this will have wider ranging results. The positives will be providing people with a greater esteem about our history, positive images about ourselves, being able to emphasis the importance of racial pride and group economics.
Despite this there are some challenges which would include the ability to market the film and reach the audience. The considerations would be as follows:
Showings in cinemas
Straight to DVD
Pay Stream sites
These challenges could be overcome by showing the films in black owned cinemas, or to have agreements with organisations and businesses which show black films to the community, via special released DVD before the general release. The Film could be made to go straight to DVD and pay stream sites (which show black films), this would mean revenue could be created straight away in order to make another film without the greater reliance on external funding (via investors or crowd funding).
There are many different ways in which films could be created, if your a film maker and you like the ideas or have different ideas based on this, go ahead. I am interested to see if black people can stop complaining without seeking a solution before hand.
Some Useful sources (General):
Black Matriachy (www.shawnsjames.blogspot.co.uk)
Integration and the Underdevelopment of Black Businesses (www.amren.com)
Intergration and the decline of black business (www.charlestoncitypaper.com)
Useful film making sources:
Camera Assistant Tips (www.theblackandblue.com)
DIY Independent Film making Tips (www.indiewire.com)
Independent Filmmaking tips (www.indietips.com/)
Film Marketing tips – Short films (www.hitfilm.com/)
Film Making Tips from Spike Lee (www.filmschoolrejects.com)
Funding information Sources:
Ten tips for funding a film (www.raindance.org)
Funding your movie: A Guide to the basics of film finanace (www.nofilmschool.com)
Financing independent film (www.lightsfilmschool.com)
Funding tips for African American Film Makers (www.blogs.indiewire.com)