Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Indiewire logo

"Black" Films Face Obstacles Abroad; Are Foreign Film Markets Still Racist?

ReelPolitik By Anthony Kaufman | ReelPolitik April 24, 2013 at 9:43AM

"Black" Films Face Obstacles Abroad; Are Foreign Film Markets Still Racist?
2

"Black films don't travel." It's one of the oldest clichés in the movie business. And it may be true today as much as it was 20 years ago when producer Andrew Vajna famously declared, "There are no black actors today [who] mean anything to the foreign marketplace." In my latest column for Filmmaker Magazine (available in print only), "The Invisible Filmmakers"--a title borrowed from Ralph Ellison's landmark novel "The Invisible Man"--I examined the plight of African American filmmakers and producers working in today's world, and how they still can't find adequate international sales.

frutivale

While there is some debate among buyers and sales agents whether these projects are discriminated against not because of race, but simply because they might not have recognizable stars or commercial enough stories, some of the anecdotes they offer are downright shocking.

"It's fucked up," producer Jay Van Hoy told me.

While there's no official iron curtain, anecdotal evidence suggests that Russia and Eastern Europe are indifferent to American films with characters of color. And what about Asia? "Forget it," says Van Hoy.

Nekisa Cooper, producer of Dee Rees' "Pariah," told me they tried to get their second film off the ground with Focus, but it was put into turnaround after six months of development. "The foreign numbers didn't compute," she says. And then when trying to get the film made privately, the only foreign sales "value" being attached to the project lied with the black female protagonist's white male partner. "So we're probably going to have to pay the white male more to agree to play second to an African American lead," admits Cooper.

It's sobering stuff. Be sure to read the whole article in the latest Filmmaker Magazine.

This article is related to: Racial Issues

Follow us

E-Mail Updates



Recent Comments

By Bob Connors: The thing to remember is the video has some actual data but it's conclusions are far fetched and inaccurate. This is a Progressive propaghand…

Who is "Politizane" and What's Next for the Income Inequality Viral Video

Mar 21th, 2015 8:47am

By Ostlee: This makes very sad reading - i feel for the people of Maldives. Everyone should boycott the island as a holiday destination until Nasheed…

Documentary Filmmakers and Activists Call for Release of "Island President" Nasheed

Mar 13th, 2015 5:35pm

By Ahmed Shahid: Release the first democratically elected president. The only president of Maldives who has reached the people of Maldives, heard them and…

Documentary Filmmakers and Activists Call for Release of "Island President" Nasheed

Mar 12th, 2015 9:37am

By Hanne Neve: Please take care of your country and the climate by freeing your real selektet president.

Documentary Filmmakers and Activists Call for Release of "Island President" Nasheed

Mar 11th, 2015 9:09am

By Iqbal: Please release President Nasheed

Documentary Filmmakers and Activists Call for Release of "Island President" Nasheed

Mar 10th, 2015 10:27pm

By Martha Robertson: I strongly urge the immediate release of Nasheed!

Documentary Filmmakers and Activists Call for Release of "Island President" Nasheed

Mar 10th, 2015 9:37pm

By Ned Rollins: Bad business, going to bite you.

Documentary Filmmakers and Activists Call for Release of "Island President" Nasheed

Mar 10th, 2015 3:47pm

By John Painter: The guy isnt a terrorist.

Documentary Filmmakers and Activists Call for Release of "Island President" Nasheed

Mar 10th, 2015 12:00pm

By Sofia Vera: I support Presdient Nasheed and add my name to this letter of support for his release.

Documentary Filmmakers and Activists Call for Release of "Island President" Nasheed

Mar 10th, 2015 11:14am

By Margarett R Mulkey: A civilized society is required of the current government of the Maldives. The world is watching injustice and crimes, and many realized thes…

Documentary Filmmakers and Activists Call for Release of "Island President" Nasheed

Mar 10th, 2015 10:53am