Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
The Nina Simone Bio Starring Zoe Saldana Will Apparently Be Released Later This Year... The Nina Simone Bio Starring Zoe Saldana Will Apparently Be Released Later This Year... Why ‘The View’ Badly Needs Raven-Symoné Why ‘The View’ Badly Needs Raven-Symoné It's Black Bike Week! Watch 2 Short Documentaries on the Popular Annual Event It's Black Bike Week! Watch 2 Short Documentaries on the Popular Annual Event Gabrielle Union Joins Jamie Foxx in a Race to Save His Kidnapped Son, in 'Sleepless Night' Gabrielle Union Joins Jamie Foxx in a Race to Save His Kidnapped Son, in 'Sleepless Night' Meet the Cast of FX's 'American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson' (First-Look Images) Meet the Cast of FX's 'American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson' (First-Look Images) Here's the List of Films & TV Series Coming to (and Leaving) Netflix's Streaming Library in June Here's the List of Films & TV Series Coming to (and Leaving) Netflix's Streaming Library in June Watch Trailer for Teen TV Drama Series in Development, ‘MysEducation’ Watch Trailer for Teen TV Drama Series in Development, ‘MysEducation’ Watch a Clip From Ethiopia's First-Ever Cannes "Official Selection" - Coming-of-Age Drama 'Lamb' Watch a Clip From Ethiopia's First-Ever Cannes "Official Selection" - Coming-of-Age Drama 'Lamb' Watch Grace Jones’ “Banned” Citroën CX TV Commercial Watch Grace Jones’ “Banned” Citroën CX TV Commercial David Oyelowo on the Craft of Acting & Advice for Young Actors David Oyelowo on the Craft of Acting & Advice for Young Actors Official First Look Images from Detroit-Set indie drama ‘Wolf Who Cried Boy’ Official First Look Images from Detroit-Set indie drama ‘Wolf Who Cried Boy’ Morgan Freeman's Bass Reeves Project Finally Gets a Lift, Thanks to HBO Morgan Freeman's Bass Reeves Project Finally Gets a Lift, Thanks to HBO First Look at CBS' 'Rush Hour' Series + Official Synopsis First Look at CBS' 'Rush Hour' Series + Official Synopsis 'Chocolate City' Finally Gets a Trailer + Release Date Set (Might It Steal Some of 'Magic Mike's' Summer Thunder?) 'Chocolate City' Finally Gets a Trailer + Release Date Set (Might It Steal Some of 'Magic Mike's' Summer Thunder?) Apparently, Many of You Aren't Pleased With the "All-New" 'Single Ladies'... What's Going on? Apparently, Many of You Aren't Pleased With the "All-New" 'Single Ladies'... What's Going on? Starz Announces Return Date for Original Series 'Power' + New Key Art + Trailer Starz Announces Return Date for Original Series 'Power' + New Key Art + Trailer Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Why Was Janet Hubert (Aunt Viv) Really Replaced on 'Fresh Prince of Bel-Air'? Buzzfeed Investigates Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Aaron McGruder Finally Explains Why He Left 'The Boondocks' Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Netflix Explains Why It Doesn't Always Have That Film Or TV Show You Really Want To See (Video) Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie... Tichina Arnold Says She Talked To Martin Lawrence About Doing A 'Martin' Movie...

Will Hollywood Bite As Philippe Niang's 'Toussaint L'Ouverture' Excites Festival Audiences?

Shadow and Act By Malcolm Woodard | Shadow and Act March 19, 2014 at 12:13PM

Will Hollywood Bite As Philippe Niang's 'Toussaint L'Ouverture' Excites Festival Audiences?
5
Jimmy Jean-Louis In TOUSSAINT LOUVERTURE
Jimmy Jean-Louis In TOUSSAINT LOUVERTURE

It's been 2 years since Shadow & Act first mentioned Philippe Niang's Toussaint L'Ouverture film - a 2-part movie made for French television - and, since then, the film has played at a number of international film festivals, but, unfortunately, still not widely enough. I live in a city in which none of the festivals has screened the film over the last 2 years, and it doesn't appear that the film will ever make it to my neck of the woods, and I'm sure I'm not the only one with interest in seeing it who hasn't been able to.

What is even more unfortunate for me is that the film isn't even available on DVD here in the USA, so I can't buy it if I wanted to. As of right now, it's only available on DVD in France (Region-2), in its original language, and (seemingly) without English subtitles. The two-disc set can be purchased HERE for those who understand French.

No American distributor has picked it up yet, and there's no obvious sign that there's any interest in it, despite the fact that, each time it's been written about on this blog over the last 2 years, reader responses have been tremendous, suggesting that there are a lot of folks who want to see it who haven't been able to.

So will someone please make this film available to us here in the USA (and the rest of the world)? It's really the first film of this magnitude (decent budget and scale, etc) on L'Ouverture that's been made, and it's unfortunate that much of the world can't see it! 

And it's even more telling that, if Hollywood is motivated strictly by profit (or the potential of profit), which is what we are often told, I'd think that somewhere, over the last 2 years, there'd be a studio executive taking note of the excitement and anticipation this French-made film 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.

Danny Glover has been trying for years, but, so far, he hasn't been successful, with stops and starts along the way. And it doesn't look like his project will ever get the backing it needs.

As I've already pointed out, clearly there's a significant enough audience 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 really hasn't been told on film in the USA, at the epic scale that it deserves; It's a story that features blacks in revolt and in control of their own destinies, absent of any white interference, inspiration or *savior*, as is often the case in films of this nature. Countless black people are anxious to see narratives like that on screen. I'd say it's the kind of excitement fanboys display over trailers for the next superhero blockbuster movie.

So, won't it behoove some studio executive, 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 is 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 white-run industry? And further, does that then mean that 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 (or pick up Niang's film and make it available to USA audiences, even if it's only on DVD), 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.

Thoughts?

Here's the French trailer for Niang's 180-minute biopic of the famed Haitian revolutionist, which stars Jimmy Jean-Louis who spoke with S&A about the project. He's joined by French actresses Aïssa Maïga as Toussaint's wife, Suzanne, and Sonia Rolland as Marie-Eugénie Sonthonax, wife of abolitionist L.F. Sonthonax.

This article is related to: Philippe Niang, Jimmy Jean-Louis, Aissa Maiga, Sonia Rolland


Shadow & ActNewsletter