Black Directors In Hollywood / Edition 1

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Hollywood film directors are some of the world's most powerful storytellers, shaping the fantasies and aspirations of people around the globe. Since the 1960s, African Americans have increasingly joined their ranks, bringing fresh insights to movie characterizations, plots, and themes and depicting areas of African American culture that were previously absent from mainstream films. Today, black directors are making films in all popular genres, while inventing new ones to speak directly from and to the black experience.

This book offers a first comprehensive look at the work of black directors in Hollywood, from pioneers such as Gordon Parks, Melvin Van Peebles, and Ossie Davis to current talents including Spike Lee, John Singleton, Kasi Lemmons, and Carl Franklin. Discussing 67 individuals and over 135 films, Melvin Donalson thoroughly explores how black directors' storytelling skills and film techniques have widened both the thematic focus and visual style of American cinema. Assessing the meanings and messages in their films, he convincingly demonstrates that black directors are balancing Hollywood's demand for box office success with artistic achievement and responsibility to ethnic, cultural, and gender issues.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The recent success of films like Scary Movie and Antwone Fisher has caused Hollywood to open the door, ever so slightly, to African American subjects and directors. Yet with the exception of Spike Lee, John Singleton, and a few others, black directors remain invisible to the public at large. An aspiring filmmaker himself, Donaldson (English, Pasadena City Coll.) introduces 60 black directors, male and female, from the 1970s onward, explaining their diverse genres, celebrating characters and areas of American life that they first brought to the screen, and tracking their various paths to the director's chair. For example, the great photographer Gordon Parks ranks as a pioneering figure, writer Maya Angelou handled Down in the Delta, and music mogul Berry Gordy directed Diana Ross in the glossy romance Mahogany. Numerous black actors, including Sidney Poitier and Ossie Davis, have occasionally directed. Donaldson also notes that black directors face a dilemma: should they stick with "black" themes or "cross over" in search of wider audiences and success? Even though Donaldson's research stops at 1999, few readers will dispute the author's claim that "black directors have earned and must receive the opportunity to work within the Hollywood system." This groundbreaking and convincing study is recommended for public and academic film collections.-Stephen Rees, Levittown Regional Lib., PA Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780292701793
  • Publisher: University of Texas Press
  • Publication date: 12/1/2003
  • Edition description: First
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 392
  • Sales rank: 1,033,070
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.81 (d)

Meet the Author

Melvin Donalson is Associate Professor of English at Pasadena City College and Adjunct Professor of English at California State University, Los Angeles. He is also a filmmaker, whose work has been shown at nine film festivals and broadcast on Showtime Network’s Black Filmmakers Showcase.
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Table of Contents


Chapter 1
The Pathmakers
Gordon Parks, Melvin Van Peebles

Chapter 2
The Visionary Actors
Ossie Davis, Sidney Poitier

Chapter 3
Black Urban Action Films and Mainstream Images
Gordon Parks Jr., Ivan Dixon, Fred Williamson, Hugh A. Robertson, Ron O'Neal, Gilbert Moses, Raymond St. Jacques

Chapter 4
Black Sensibilities and Mainstream Images
Berry Gordy Jr., Stan Lathan, Jamaa Fanaka

Chapter 5
Michael Schultz: The Crossover King

Chapter 6
Spike Lee: The Independent Auteur

Chapter 7
Keeping It Real (Reel): Black Dramatic Visions
Charles Burnett, John Singleton, Matty Rich, Mario Van Peebles, Ernest Dickerson, Albert and Allen Hughes, Doug McHenry, David Clark Johnson, Preston A. Whitmore II, Tim Reid, Robert Patton-Spruill, Darin Scott, Hype Williams

Chapter 8
And Still They Rise: Black Women Directors
Euzhan Palcy, Julie Dash, Leslie Harris, Darnell Martin, Kasi Lemmons, Millicent Shelton, Troy Beyer, Cheryl Dunye, Maya Angelou

Chapter 9
Not without Laughter: Directors of Comedy and Romance
Oz Scott, Topper Carew, Richard Pryor, Prince, Robert Townsend, Eddie Murphy, Keenen Ivory Wayans, Wendell B. Harris Jr., Reginald Hudlin, Martin Lawrence, Theodore Witcher, George Tillman, Kevin Rodney Sullivan, Christopher Scott Cherot

Chapter 10
Off the Hook: Comedy and Romance with a Hip-Hop Flavor
Reginald Hudlin, James Bond III, George Jackson/Doug McHenry, Rusty Cundieff, F. Gary Gray, Paris Barclay, Lionel C. Martin, Ice Cube

Chapter 11
Redefining Crossover Films
Kevin Hooks, Bill Duke, Carl Franklin, Thomas Carter, Forest Whitaker, F. Gary Gray, Antoine Fuqua


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