An aside... something that came to me this morning that I thought I'd share and maybe generate some discussion.
It's been less than 24 hours since I posted the trailer for Philippe Niang's Toussaint L'Ouverture film - a 2-part movie made for French television, and in French, without subtitles; and within that short period of time, I've been following reactions to it.
The post (or trailer) has been shared quite a lot via social networking sites, and, based on stats, has already become one of our most popular posts of the entire year. I just posted this yesterday.
While there haven't been a lot of comments posted in reaction to it here on S&A, the comments that accompany the *shares* on Facebook, Twitter, on other sites, and elsewhere are all emphatically full of excitement and anticipation. Clearly, this is a project that many have long hoped would become a reality, as Danny Glover has long struggled to get his Toussaint L'Ouverture film financed and produced without success. And I should add that these are mostly American audience reactions, as our readership is heavily USA-based.
So where am I going with all this?
Well, riddle me this... if Hollywood is motivated strictly by profit (or the potential of profit), I'd think that somewhere right now, there'd be a studio executive taking note of the excitement and anticipation this single French trailer inspired in North American audiences (forget the international marketplace), and would maybe consider greenlighting, or even co-financing/co-producing with a foreign company, a film on the life of and rebellion led by L'Ouverture, leading to the Haitian Revolution that solidifed the establishment of the country as an independent black state.
Granted, the trailer hasn't been played millions and millions of times, or even thousands of times; it hasn't quite gone viral yet, as some recent short films we've featured on the site have, which were followed by announcements of Hollywood interest and deals to turn the shorts into feature films; BUT, I dare say that S&A's readership, while significant, is still rather tiny compared to other major media sites that attract millions of eyeballs (imagine if this were posted on Huffington Posts Black Voices, or any of the black magazine websites with similar readers; the point being that there's still a significant lack of awareness of this film that could be affected with just a single post; so continue to share and share and share it I say). And I also dare say that our readership is just a small sample of a much larger audience of black people around the world who are hungry for a film (a good film) made on this particular subject; so much that if a film were made, true to historical events, I'd like to believe it would indeed be a commercial success.
Why? Other than the reasons I already stated... it's a story that has yet to be told; it's a story that features blacks in revolt and in control of their own destinies, absent of any white interference, inspiration or *saviour*, as is often the case in films of this nature. Countless black people are anxious to see narratives like that on screen. And the fact that this single trailer, in French, has been so universally well-received (I'd say it's the kind of excitement fanboys display over trailers for the next superhero blockbuster movie), proves that.
So, won't it behoove some studio exec, like maybe the fellows at Relativity Media, with their elaborate spreadsheets, to investigate the possibilities here? Or, is it in fact a lie that Hollywood isn't motivated strictly by profit, and there are other unspoken rules that influence decision makers, and thus a story that highlights a monumental accomplishment by black people, absent of a white hero on horseback, just isn't of interest to, or will be suppressed by the predominantly Caucasian executive suits? And further, does that then mean that should blacks in Hollywood with the resources take note of all I've said here (some of them read this site I'm sure), and instead finance and produce the film themselves, rather than wait for the studios to do so?
I can't help but believe that a wonderful opportunity is being completely overlooked here, and the person or people who finally decide to take the risk will be well-rewarded for doing so.