From Publishers Weekly
This informative collection of interviews with more than 35 African-American filmmakers surveys the current field of mass market director/producers and documentarians working in both Hollywood and the independent arena. Appropriately, the book begins with an interview with Renaissance man Gordon Parks; the actor/director explains his difficulties as a first-time director on The Learning Tree, adding that his training as a top-rated photographer influenced his choices and compositional approach behind the camera. Journalist Alexander's questions invite a torrent of insightful answers from each of his subjects. The multitalented Melvin Van Peebles recounts his piloting Sweet Sweetback, the controversial film that brought him instant fame. His story is one of determination, ingenuity and bravado in overcoming racial barriers. Actor/director/social activist Ossie Davis recalls when movie mogul Sam Goldwyn tapped him to direct Chester Himes's Cotton Comes to Harlem, presenting him with a challenge that stretched his imagination. The taboo on interracial romance in film, with black men and white women, gets a harsh rebuke from former football star and director Fred Williamson. In director Spike Lee's interview, he credits much of his success to perfect timing, and laments the lack of blacks in decision-making posts at the studios. Producer Lee Daniels (Monster's Ball) defends Halle Berry's Oscar win for her performance, despite the furor over her sex scenes. In all, this is a worthy addition to the reference shelf of anyone with an interest in film or African-American culture.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From the Inside Flap
A sparkling collection of interviews with African American directors and producers.
Bringing together more than thirty candid conversations with filmmakers and producers such as Spike Lee, Gordon Parks, Julie Dash, Charles Burnett, and Robert Townsend, Why We Make Movies
delivers a cultural celebration with the tips of a film-school master class.
With journalist George Alexander, these revolutionary men and women discuss not only how they got their big breaks, but more importantly, they explore the creative process and what making movies means to them. Why We Make Movies
also addresses the business of Hollywood and its turning tide, in a nation where African Americans comprise a sizable portion of the film-going public and go to the movies more frequently than whites. In addition, Alexander?s cast of directors and producers considers the lead roles they now play in everything from documentaries and films for television to broad-based blockbusters (in fact, the highest-grossing film in Miramax history was Scary Movie
, directed by Keenen Ivory Wayans). For film buffs and aspiring filmmakers alike, Why We Make Movies
puts a long-overdue spotlight on one of the most exciting and cutting-edge segments of today?s silver screen.
INTERVIEWS INCLUDE: MELVIN VAN PEEBLES ? MICHAEL SCHULTZ ? CHARLES BURNETT ? SPIKE LEE ? ROBERT TOWNSEND ? FRED WILLIAMSON ? ERNEST DICKERSON ? KEENEN IVORY WAYANS ? ANTOINE FUQUA ? BILL DUKE ? FORREST WHITAKER ? JULIE DASH ? KASI LEMMONS ? GINA PRINC-BLYTHEWOOD ? JOHN SINGLETON ? GEORGE TILLMAN Jr. ? REGINALD HUDLIN ? WARRINGTON HUDLIN ? MALCOLM LEE ? EUZHAN PALCY ? DOUG McHENRY ? DEBRA MARTIN CHASE ? St. CLAIR BOURNE ? STANLEY NELSON ? WILLIAM GREAVES ? KATHE SANDLER ? CAMILLE BILLOPS ? HAILE GERIMA ? GORDON PARKS