As I said, when I hosted one of screening before of the L.A. Rebellion black film series a few weeks ago, when it came to black filmmakers, these were the black filmmakers I knew and who inspired me before other more famous black filmmakers attracted the public’s attention.
Long before Spike lee, Reginald Hudlin John Singleton, Antoine Fuqua, just to name a few, black cinema was defined by the works of Julie Dash, Haile Gerima, Zeinabu irene Davis Charles Burnett , Ben Caldwell, Barbara McCullough (pictured above) Billy Woodberry and Larry Clark just to name a few as well.
They were all, at one time during the early 70’s to the mid-1980’s, film students at UCLA during a very turbulent time in American politics, culture and identity. And being all politically conscious and needing a way to express their feelings about what they were witnessing, they rejected the Hollywood standard to find their own voice and vision of cinema.
And I knew most of them or met them or screened their films at film festivals, and even worked with one of them on his film project - Jamaa Fanaka's feature Penitentiary.
The result of this blooming of black filmmakers was a resulting label to conveniently categorize hem - the L.A. Rebellion group of filmmakers (though not all of them actually liked the moniker). And the films that this unique, supremely talented group of filmmakers made, still resonate today.
Films such as Daughters of the Dust, Bush Mama, Bless Their Little hearts, Sankofa, Your Children Come Back to You, Passing Through, and too many others to mention.
And as Tambay first wrote about over a year and half ago, now one member of the illustrious group, Zeinabu irene Davis (the feature, Compensation, and shorts, Cycles, A Period Piece, Mother of the River) is currently making a film on the filmmakers and the movement, to be called, Spirits of the Rebellion, which is now scheduled to be completed in spring 2014.
It’s long overdue, and will be a major addition to our knowledge, understanding and appreciation of this important black film movement, which changed not only the course of black cinema, but all of cinema as well.
Here’s an extended trailer for Davis’ film: