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Anthony Mackie On Black Hollywood: “We’re Being Lazy On Our Game”

Preach! He’s saying exactly what I’ve been saying for awhile now (read my Put Up or Shut Up piece HERE, if you haven’t already). I’m glad to hear somebody of his ilk speak the words that he speaks in the video below:

185 comments to Anthony Mackie On Black Hollywood: “We’re Being Lazy On Our Game”

  • Frank

    Seriously, Mackie’s response is killing me lol… “I think we need to make more films.” This in response to a question about no African-Americans being nominated in this year’s Oscars.

    Then he says the barriers have already been broken when it comes to us in Hollywood.

    Sheesh. Actors. And many of you here are taking him seriously… what the heck?!?!??!

    The bottom line here is that no, we’re not sleeping on our game, we’re making plenty of movies, and we really, really don’t need the Oscars. We straight up need to stop looking to the Oscars or Hollywood to ‘validate’ our work.

    Our single biggest mistake is buying into this whole Hollywood system, one that was a century in the making, and one where the big boys have all aspects of it ON LOCK. It’s a HARD PILL TO SWALLOW but if we’re going to get ANYWHERE LASTING in film-making, we need to IGNORE HOLLYWOOD, do our own thing from inception to distribution, and one day HOLLYWOOD will come begging, “let’s make lots of money together.”

    Mackie is an ACTOR. One that really wants to be in the Hollywood system at that. His POV on this subject means nada, or very very close to it. When he starts writing, producing, directing, editing, sound designing and distributing films, then he’ll have learned a bit more what he’s talking about.

    • chester

      In all due respect..Mackie is in Hollywood..we are a bunch of people on a blog voicing our opinions on the matter. He is on the otherside of the fence thus he is opperating from a frame of reference which is his experiences. We have to respect that despite whatever we may feel. For all intense purposes he is doing it..maybe not on the level of will smith or Denzel but he is definately in. And he is right. We need to step our game up.. personaly I feel we often put out wack movies..more wack than good. We need to stop the brother with the cam corder and homie hook up productions. I am not trying to knock anyones hustle however people especially us(blacks) think that this industry is easy because it glamourous..I can be famous..all I gotta do is show up on some fly by night ish..thats not the way to go..It makes it harder for us to be taken seriously. Don’t get me wrong I believe politics are always at play however we need to work harder at this business to be successful. No one can B.S. something thats good..we just need to work at it and achieve it. We sometimes accept mediorcity as the standard..and I know our people is capable of doing so much more..we have seen it before..we just need to do more of it..and begin to reward good films..that will open up more opportunities.

      • Zeus

        Well said. Folks want to be FAMOUS instead of studying the CRAFT of film making. Study and experience take TIME and no one wants to wait. They want fame and success NOW without putting in the work, yet, they want the same results of respect. Doesn’t work that way.

        Learn how to shoot, direct, write, produce, etc., BEFORE worrying about walking some damn red carpet!

      • Frank

        Real talk, what you don’t understand Chester is that Hollywood isn’t checking for us bro… I’m an indie film-maker with two award winning films out, and I’ve learned the way this business works with the ‘powers-that-be’ in the big H-town.

        They’ve got their formula locked down for how they want to make their movies, and release them, and self promote them (Oscar and others) and it all basically comes down to making as much $$$ as they can. Blacks figure only so much into that plan, and usually only in some specific ways (that are not flattering to blacks).

        Mackie’s POV doesn’t mean squat b/c he’s down for the system – that’s where he wants to make his money & gain his credibility, as an ACTOR. He has no clue what it means, and what it takes, to write quality screenplays, produce quality films, direct films with real skill, work on productions fighting tooth and nail to get quality results, the time it takes to edit a film down to it’s best, to sound design a film so that it sounds its best, much less the time and $$$ it takes to market a film, get it out there in distribution so that enough people can see it so that it turns a profit. He’s an ACTOR – he gets to show up, play a part and move on. Indie film-makers spend YEARS on their films by necessity. He thinks he knows what’s up b/c he’s ‘in that world’ on a Hollywood set and see’s what’s going on around him, but he’s clueless.

        Let’s see him put his actions where his mouth is – let him author something from start to finish, hey even put his own money and talent behind it, then he’ll begin to learn the challenges that black film-makers face in this industry. Start with the man in the mirror.

        This half-baked response to that question means diddly.

        • so you admit you care about awards with your “award winning” films. Although I dont agree with Mackie’s response, Black people “turning” oh Hollywood, by basically trying to duplicate the same system in their hometowns of Houston and Memphis or whereever is laughable.

          Hollywood is not the devil. Being anti-Hollywood may sound cool, but in the end if someone from Hollywood likes your stuff and offers you money, not one of you all will keep that stance. When you’re WINNING and the system is working for you, you don’t complain as much.

          that being said, i encourage independent filmmakers to keep creating content. But ive been to many festivals, and there’s alot people who are anti hollywood putting out crappy movies.

          • Frank

            I’m proud to say that my awards all came from BLACK film festivals. I said ignore the Oscars and the establishment, not recognition altogether, get it right please.

            1. I never said Hollywood is the devil, so hmm why are you taking it there?
            2. It’s common sense to accept good deals where ever they come from – this isn’t about that – it’s about DEPENDING on the Hollywood system – this is our #1 problem.
            3. There’s a lot of anti-hollywood folks putting out great films too. Not sure what your point is there – you’re rambling.

            Again, the ONLY way African-Americans are going to make lasting progress in film-making in this country is do it outside the Hollywood system – the internet with digital distribution (that is HD capable) is the way forward – we need to jump on this opportunity while everything is still new and still taking shape on the web.

        • chester

          I don’t believe that bro sorry maybe thats your reality from the Big H town and the powers that be out there. Hollywood is a club like highschool ..you have your jocks, nerds and popular dudes.. you have to find your lane and play the game. Or do what Tyler Perry does and create your own universe. Unless your IN Hollywood..like collecting a check(working), or being hired to direct, produce, act like Mackie then your opinions will have no real meaning. I say this will all due respect..hollywood is a tough nut to crack wether your an actor, film maker editor etc. Your in you have earned my respect because I don’t know what you did to get there. Anyway I am no fan of his films but Tyler Perry refutes that claim that hollywood is not messing with us without question. I read somewhere that Tyler was able to boost revenue for a distribution company to where he single handedly got it out of the red.(Lionsgate). Besides the fact that he came in the gate with an audience and no matter what he puts out he will always sell(sad but true..but I respect it) he proves that hollywood is messing with us. I agree that its about money at the end of the day however the quality has to be there as well. Anyway as far as new up and coming film makers ..they have to put out good material and be consistant…even if it means alot of years. Get into the top festival like sundance, cannes, berlin, toronto, tribeca, venice,,etc and win or get noticed. Thats where the big fish are and you have to be where they are at. And they are looking for good material. Sundance was big this year for indie film makers. Especially black ones. A film named Pariah got pick up focus features for 7 figures. The director got a 2 picture development and distribution deal and BAM she is in the game..Its simple do good movies and remain consistant and get noticed..and if you don’t get noticed then create your universe…but you gotta keep at it..no fly by night over night success..some are blessed and its there season. Spike lee was 26 years old when he went to cannes with “do the right thing” and he recieved an oscar nom for best original screen play. And that was in the 80′s so..please don’t tell me hollywood is not checking for us..this is just a mass shortage of good product..we mass produce wack films..period.. their is a black audience(a high high consumer based audience) that they are well aware of. They understand the need of making films that target black people..but we need to show that we can deliever the goods when it counts. Anyway as I said before I believe because alot of us put out wack movies. Seriously they have no faith in us. We don’t study cinema and it shows. You look at our films and the acting is bad, storyline is weak and predictable, no clear understanding of composition, no real attention to detail is made. Just lets get this out and wait by the phone for the money to come it. They are laughing at us quietly. And we are not taken seriously. We just want the fame..lifestyle..alot of us are pretending to be artist out there. Its sad but true.

          As far as Mackie is concerned you are making assumptions as far as what he knows or where his learning curve begins and ends. He is in the system..that means he is privy to information that you and I don’t know. End of Discussion. What else is there to discuss. He is in the room that you and I wish to be apart of. He is in hollywood…probably at the parties, studio, set etc and you mean to tell me he not learning anything. Either you have a bad perception of Mackie or Actors in general because you are film maker. This not some dude you see at a film fest pannel discussion that no one ever heard of before and has a voice all of a sudden because a microphone is in front of him. This guy acted in the Hurtlocker..he was at the Oscars(granted he was not nominated however he been around enough circles to offer his opinion on black hollywood) he earned that right..and he is no fly by nigh success either. I am saying all this to put this in perspective for you. And what do you mean by he is “Down” for the system..like he sold out on us..and joined the evil empire..really..lol At the end of the day he is right.. we need to stop make excuses..and put up or shut up.

        • JMac

          @Frank. So what can we do to help black filmmakers get their work out besides tweeting, blogs, and going to limited showings? Do you see any loopholes that could be used to your and other filmmakers’ advantage?

          • Frank

            The current system is controlled nearly completely by the gate-keepers (the Hollywood system).

            IMO, the most effective way forward involves creating our own channels through the internet – now. The future of cinema involves only the biggest, highest budgeted films (generally speaking) making it to the theaters – mostly everything else is going through digital channels – namely streaming (like Netflix and Apple TV), etc. etc.

            We need to jump on this right now b/c once Hollywood figures out a sure business model for digital distribution, they’ll move to lock it down the same way they locked down theatrical distribution over the first 100 years of American Cinema’s existence.

            Black investors (those with the big bucks) would be wise to learn all they can about this industry (namely creating and distributing intellectual property), creating the digital networks, and amassing properties (films, shows, etc.) for this next wave – it’s going to be HIGHLY lucrative to the ones who recognize this opportunity now, at the start.

            I wish there was a way to make a huge dent in this issue without high level investors… indies can keep doing their own thing in this way, with success too, but nothing big will happen (for African-Americans as a whole) until big dollars come from big investors with focused business plans.

            I really want to take the time to educate Chester on how TP did his thing, and some of the other points he raises, but dude is dug in (can’t be saved from the Matrix), a lost cause I’m afraid (he thinks he knows already), so no disrespect but I’m gonna have to start ignoring you Chester. It would take too much effort on a forum like this to school you thoroughly anyway.

            • Frank

              I do want to take the time to correct Chester’s assumption that I have a ‘bad perception of actors.’ Chester I LOVE actors. LOVE them. These people are hugely talented and bring things we write to life.

              The thing with actors is that we ascribe WAY TOO MUCH CLOUT to them. Because they’re up front, good looking, crazy talented, playing roles designed to create empathy (or characters we love to hate), they end up getting the credit for all the hard work of screenwriters, directors, directors of photography, crews, editors, etc. etc…

              Many great actors study so hard, and spend so much time, learning their craft, working on their craft, that they REALLY DON’T KNOW a great deal about much else… on a scholastic level I’m talking… they don’t take more years out to learn great directing, or editing, or anything else – they’re making their living acting. They usually don’t go back to college to dive into something else that gives them any real knowledge – they just go about life like the rest of us, maybe read what interests them, watch the news, or whatever.

              BUT WHEN A GREAT OR FAVORITE ACTORS SPEAKS, whoa, we act like what they said is GOSPEL. Sheesh, they’re an actor. They know acting.

              Especially the black actors who by default end up speaking for the entire culture… they rarely go deep (as in learn) into anything of importance about us as blacks in this country, yet here they are making comments and being listened to as if they were MLK or Malcolm X or someone.

              All I’m saying is get real, these are actors talking.

              • Frank, I’ve read all of you comments. So, although you’ve been challenged in most of them, I am here to tell you that your words are not falling on deft ears.

                For instance your above comment. You are basically saying just because a person can slam dunk a basketball and shoot 3 pointers with the best of them, does not mean he’d make a great coach or that he can even read at a 5th grade level.

                Most doctors have specialties, like actors, however, outside of their area of expertise, they’re just another face in the crowd. And for the most part, they don’t have time to study anything outside of their bread and butter, nor a need to do so.

                I think skepticism and mistrust should lead people to always look up the information or theories people present. You know, it’s basically the development of the scientific mindset… A good scientist is observant and notices thing in the world around him. (S)he sees, hears, or in some other way notices what’s going on in the world and becomes curious about what’s happening. This can and does include reading and studying what others have done in the past because scientific knowledge is cumulative.

                The problem is MOST people will watch one documentary, believe everything, and stop there. They might take action, but when they actually try to explain to someone else why they are taking action, they realize they don’t even know why they are taking action. They give up because they still only have the band-aid of knowledge. That is the problem that lies behind someone getting their information from the wrong source. That’s the problem! They got it from a source, instead of exploring all there is on the topic from all sides. If they do that, then they come to their OWN conclusions based on all the information they’ve seen and can actually BELIEVE in it and defend their beliefs.

                Back to my point… This scientific process repeated over and over in different areas of interest leads to a love of gaining new knowledge and insight. And that leads to truth. So you basically have a viewpoint of, I believe this is what’s true until someone or something can prove completely that this is wrong. The end result is the learned ability to quickly weed out what is NOT true from their sources and to quickly recognize truth.

                In short, you said Anthony Mackie is just ONE source, one voice who may not be the right/best voice to follow.

                • why cant my comments be so very well thought out? i need to study the art of commenting.

                • Frank

                  In a nutshell, a very thorough nutshell I might add, that’s it!

                  And to add to your analogy in short, we might go to doctors and be wise to take seriously what they have to say about the human body, sicknesses, etc., this is what they study and know… but if some random doctor says he knows how to cure, say The Middle East, we’d be wise to seek more opinions and not just run with what the doctor said.

                  In reality, we don’t see medical doctors getting asked questions about the Middle East on the news. But we do see actors who ‘play doctors on TV’ get asked all kinds of questions about things they know nothing about, or little about at best.

                  The bottom line for me was that Mackie’s response clearly showed that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. The fact that so many people took his response so seriously was killin’ me lol…

              • chester

                1.Educate me on TP..really ..come everyone know his story..he is on Oprah every month..

                2. Matrix huh… I feel your true fustration stems from the fact that hollywood is not checking for you..because if they were you would not say things like that. Your not on the winning side of the fense because you feel you worked hard to win your two film awards that hollywood should have taken notice..really. There millions of award winning film makers such as yourself out there(count me in the list as well) however what seperates you me or anyone from that pack. You have to win where it counts..where hollywood is searching for talent..sundance berlin, cannes toronto,,etc. Not the mississipi black film fest..ok. There not there because the good film makers are not there. If they were then they would be there. Your not getting no distribution deal there either..Thats Real Talk.

                4.Now the hollywood system is not the end all be all. There a ways to get your films out..freestyle releasing is an independent distribution company that opperates outside the studio system..there alot of black films that received theactrical distribution through it. That’s one jewel for you to consider if you don’t know already.

                5. A far as mackie is concerned. No one is just accepting his comments as gospel..There alot of actors who say crazy ish and we dismiss as fodder..ie Bill Cosby. Mackie actually said some real stuff. Just make more films..You did not see any black film makers in hollywood come out and dismiss his claim. His mentality is different from yours because he is winning and when you think like a winner you don’t make excuses and obstacles(which is part of the process) are only seen as temporary road blocks(you don’t see obstacles). If you think its hard to get a million dollars then you will never get it. If you think film making is raught with too much obstacles then this industry is not for you. At the end of the day people like Mackie dont care about a film makers problems(your mine etc)..just get it done..It was hard for him to become an actor(working) in hollywood why would he or anyone else think it would be easy to make films. He is just saying that we have tremendous reasources now to do so than ever before…what does that mean..we have wealth, internet, and talent..so given that we have the opportunity to do more. Honestly I think this convo strikes a nerve because he may be talking about you.

                And your comments about actor are sweeping statments.. Denzel, Bill Duke, Robert Townsend, I can go on and on are actors turn film makers who are not just acting. Who found time in there busy careers to learn film making.. The dude who directed Hav Plenty is an Actor Director and Editor.

              • chester

                1.Educate me on TP..really ..come everyone know his story..he is on Oprah every month..

                2. Matrix huh… I feel your true fustration stems from the fact that hollywood is not checking for you..because if they were you would not say things like that. Your not on the winning side of the fense because you feel you worked hard to win your two film awards that hollywood should have taken notice..really. There millions of award winning film makers such as yourself out there(count me in the list as well) however what seperates you me or anyone from that pack. You have to win where it counts..where hollywood is searching for talent..the top film fest. Not the mississipi black film fest..ok. There not there because the good film makers are not there. If they were then they would be there. Your not getting no distribution deal there either..Thats Real Talk.

                4.Now the hollywood system is not the end all be all. There a ways to get your films out..freestyle releasing is an independent distribution company that opperates outside the studio system..there alot of black films that received theactrical distribution through it. That’s one jewel for you to consider if you don’t know already.

                5. A far as mackie is concerned. No one is just accepting his comments as gospel..There alot of actors who say crazy ish and we dismiss as fodder..ie Bill Cosby. Mackie actually said some real stuff. Just make more films..You did not see any black film makers in hollywood come out and dismiss his claim. His mentality is different from yours because he is winning and when you think like a winner you don’t make excuses and obstacles(which is part of the process) are only seen as temporary road blocks(you don’t see obstacles). If you think its hard to get a million dollars then you will never get it. If you think film making is raught with too much obstacles then this industry is not for you. At the end of the day people like Mackie dont care about a film makers problems(your mine etc)..just get it done..It was hard for him to become an actor(working) in hollywood why would he or anyone else think it would be easy to make films. He is just saying that we have tremendous reasources now to do so than ever before…what does that mean..we have wealth, internet, and talent..so given that we have the opportunity to do more. Honestly I think this convo strikes a nerve because he may be talking about you.

                And your comments about actor are sweeping statments.. Denzel, Bill Duke, Robert Townsend, I can go on and on are actors turn film makers who are not just acting. Who found time in there busy careers to learn film making.. The dude who directed Hav Plenty is an Actor Director and Editor.

    • ignoring Hollywood is not a smart idea. its like the time when Blacks left for Liberia.

      • JMac

        Now you’re gonna have to explain that connection to me. The reason AA’s screwed themselves up in Liberia was from following the White American model of government. Treat the natives like shit, force them in slave labor, grow rich off their exploits, and refuse to give them equal standing. If they had gone there to build a truly democratic government and been sensitive to the cultures and needs of the local tribes instead of trying to be master and someone else’s house things wouldn’t have gone so awry.

        And most of the good black films that say anything valuable have been made outside of the Hollywood system. We don’t need it. If we build our own system and prove our power, financial or otherwise, Hollywood will run to us or try to mimic what we do to cash in. Just look at the music industry from the past 70-80 years. There’s no reason we can’t do the same with movies.

        • Frank

          EXACTLY J-MAC.

        • what im saying is the system that Blacks want to build (ATL) operates just like the Hollywood system. Just like when American Blacks went to Liberia and basically did the same thing the American govt was doing to them, to the indigenous peoples. Negores are running to ATL saying its the ‘new Hollywood” but are creating the same exact environment and process that exist in Hollywood.

          • Frank

            What’s happening in ATL isn’t creating something different than Hollywood – it’s trying to recreate it, as you point out.

            We need to create something more fundamentally different that doesn’t seek to access Hollywood constructs in any way. We won’t progress with our own stories in any meaningful way until we create an entire system from inception to distribution that is FUBU.

            Hollywood is keeping the pot boiling forever letting off steam every now and then, knowing that if they didn’t the pot would explode. So they let a few black actors in, use the same ones over and over and over, a coupla directors, throw an award bone every so often, and release maybe 5 black films per year in the theaters, and this keeps us from going crazy on ‘em lol… please people learn the game, there is an agenda, and a playbook! Get out of this ‘we’re gonna make it somehow on their terms’ kind of thinking…

      • Oooouuuu Jordan, you know you stepped in some doo-doo.

        Her Excellency EJS President of Liberia was in the states visiting a friend of mine. It was sort of a book promotion thing. I didn’t know that much about Liberia. Well, Okay, I thought Marcus Garvey was the president of Liberia. Didn’t he swindle a few black people with a promise of new Cadillacs, in a new land? Wait, maybe that was Daddy Rich. Wait, dang it, that’s not even right. That was Richard Pryor… wasn’t it? Or was that Eddie Long?

        Anyway, in all seriousness, I was lost about the history of Liberia. So I asked my friend a few questions about the country, the president, and her book. Mocha, from “In the Cafe with Mocha television show” was the president’s host. This was her reply :

        “You should definitely try the book, Liberia has a very interesting history and she does a great job of laying the foundation so that you really understand the underlying reasons for their 14 year war.

        Carey, the war was in its most simple explanation was about class. There are indigenous Liberians and what are called “Americo-Liberians” descendants of freed American slaves who were sent back to Africa with the permission/expense of the US Government. Of course many of these now freed slaves were generations removed from Africa and basically thought of the indigenous. It did not help that the US government established a government system that mirrored that of the US and placed the freed slaves in positions of power to rule over this newly settled land of Liberia. After years and years of simmering animosity as most oppressed people usually do, they rebelled. This led to 14 years of coups, corrupt government, and extreme poverty. When Ellen came into power she had a country that had no electricity or running water for 8 years, no school systems in place, 90% unemployment rate, debt 30 times more than the annual budget”

        So Carlton, come back and say you’re sorry. LMBAO!

      • Frank

        Ignoring Hollywood is a BRILLIANT idea. It’s exactly what we need to do. Too bad it’s not really possible.

  • Frank

    Also, this has nothing to do with the bootleg film-makers… get off their backs – everyone starts somewhere and either learns or doesn’t learn from that point. There are some established, money making so called film-makers, black and white (and other) who are bootleg too, this convo isn’t about them lol…

    • Frank

      What I’m saying is that ‘everyone’ puts out more whack movies than good – in all budget levels. Not just black bootleg film-makers who don’t know the craft. Did you know that the overwhelming percentage (80% and up) of all movies made, in Hollywood and outside it, are pure garbage? Just horrible. Many of them make it to the big screen too, although a HUGE number of produced films don’t make it to the big screen or DVD…

      This isn’t about stopping bad film-makers, or those who don’t know what the heck they’re doing, from making their bad movies.

      • chester

        I would have no problem if they did it and got better to put out better ish..but thats not the case. your right the convo have evolved..its been like 134 posts on this topic however the concept of LAZYness is the theme. I can care less what wack movies white directors are making(they will be fine..lol). I am only concerned with my people and what my people are putting out. Period. We are lazy with the craft(go to school..whatever). Lazy with creating our own distribution channels and producing our movies as Mackie stated. I am just expanding the convo.. thats all. I believe if we create better movies(more money will come), distribution channels and produce our movies like mackie said then we would be good. It is about these dudes putting out wack ish because if they continue to do so then it makes it harder for folks like you to be taken serious in this business. the wack ish play a factor in the perception game. Hollywood is about perception. We have the power to shape that discussion if we worker harder in our respective crafts and put out better efforts. right now alot of talent is coming from south america, now(been so for quite some time)..why because alot of those dudes are working hard at the craft..the are shaping the discussion and are getting respected and getting work..we need to step our ish up and do the same. It will benefit us in the long run

        • Frank

          “I believe if we create better movies(more money will come), distribution channels and produce our movies like mackie said then we would be good.”

          First, Mackie didn’t say this.

          But more importantly, Bro, it’s not this simple. Straight up. Plus, even if it was, it wouldn’t happen like this.

        • your definition of wack is different than my definition of wack.

          • chester

            @ Frank ..its a discussion..we are all talking about what black folks need to do..we have folks preaching leave hollywood and create our own mecca. I am just saying lets create better movies..so it can create more opportunities..thats all. Besides what you think would have a greater propensity of happening first. And I know mackie did not say that and he also did not say lets leave hollywood either..

            @ carlton.. perhaps however I am certain that you and I can agree that soul plane was a wack movie or janky promoters right or am I wrong.

            • Frank

              @Chester – What I’m trying to say is that blacks ‘creating better movies’ in this present system doesn’t automatically lead to creating more opportunities. It’s just not that simple. I wish it was – if it was we’d have MANY MANY more black films in theaters. But it’s not. There’s sooooo much more in this business of making films than that.

              I go to black film festivals all over, and like all film festivals, there are films that aren’t so good, and there are some really, really good films. GREAT FILMS. But they don’t have ‘known’ black actors, they don’t hit the theaters and the average black person has never even heard of them. And there are a lot of them, more than enough for Hollywood to come calling.

              • chester

                @ FRANK I am not saying its that simple and of course there alot of factors to the game however lets talk about the things we have control over..and thats putting out product.. When we do movies like Janky promoters and soul plane..it makes it harder for hollywood to have faith in us..they will associate you with that because your black. Thats what I am saying..So if we have better materail the conversation changes and then you will see more black film makers get more opportunites. We had a influx of good black directors in 80′/90′s and hollywood took notice..Spike, Hughs Bro, Carl Franklin..etc So what happened..we stopped going to school(homeboy films was formed)..and was like I am going to the store to purchase a camera and make a movie like spike..and as a result we have alot of bad material. I don’t care what anyone say if it is good people will go and see it. Just like the music industy there was a time when alot of good product was being put out and every bother/sister was getting a record deal. We need to recaputure that glory.
                Spike launched the career of many black actors it can happen again. We need to take steps to get our stuff out there.

                Hollywood is not at the black film festivals..there at the top festivals and thats were you, me and the black collective need to be with our films(and best foot forward)..if we wish to be apart of or have a shot at being in hollywood outside of creating your own lane. Yes its competitive but so is life. Its been like that for a long time my friend. Thats why I am pushing this notion of putting out really good material so we can all win. Win or get in at those festivals then it becomes easier to get that black actor in your movie to work with you because you have shown your worth..or come up with great material for them to consider working with us.

                • Frank

                  Chester that’s the part you’re not understanding – the ‘top’ film festivals are rejecting the great black films. Are you a film-maker? I think you said that you are – but I’m wondering about this because ALL black indie film-makers know how slim our chances are of getting our black films into the ‘top’ film festivals, no matter how ‘good’ they are. That’s why we created black film festivals in the first place – our films are being ignored by the industry, the establishment, & Hollywood – we needed festivals to show all these great black films that were being made but ignored by the ‘top’ festivals. They were (and still are) acting like blacks aren’t even out there making great films.

                  If I get time, I need to make a list of outstanding black films that didn’t even get accepted into Sundance, Cannes, Toronto, etc. etc. so you can learn. Not trying to disrespect you but you really don’t know what you’re talking about here, you need to get educated on the facts. You’ve clearly bought into the idea that if our blacks films aren’t at the ‘top’ festivals, then they must have not been good enough, and that is exactly the FALLACY that the gatekeepers want you to believe.

                  • chester

                    Frank…allow me to reintroduce myself..I am a NY based producer(I Evaluate “talent” all the time)..I worked in advertising and now film..I went to school for this as well. I have friends in hollywood like you..But I am not using that as a trump card to prove that I know what I am talking about etc..Thats a weak attempt to discredit someone and act like my ideas are superior(like you getting the rundown from the powers that be in H Town and telling me that makes you an authority on this subject..your not even in hollywood). I like to give folks like you the benefit of the doubt and try to understand the mindsets of my people. Even when you present ideas with no real solutions. Like building our own Hollywood. I am all for it but its not going to happen bro .. stop waiting for a group of black folks to come together and make that happen for you. If your passionate about that then you should not be on this forum discussing it and out in the streets making that happen. You need to adapt a winning attitude in all due respect..that means no excuses..you have to make a way out of no way..thats how you win or you need to choose anoher profession. When you say ALL black filmmakers(like your speaking for the ones that got in at sundance, berlin, cannes etc this year) know how slim of a shot of getting into those festivals your taking yourself out of the competition(get your facts straight by the way). Black Indie movie Pariah(good movie), Gun hill road and another movie was purchased at sundance. Your not going to get your film purchased at the black film festivals (that all comes with getting your films into those festivals..with quality work..unless you create your own lane and pull a Tyler Perry).. I know and understand why the black film festival were created. Its a great way to introduce your work to the black community and hopefully build a fan base however the chances of you having your film purchased..etc so you can do your next project are very slim. However the opportunities at the Top film festival are greater(get distribution, film purchased, rep by agency like CAA, introductions to foreign film agents, etc etc etc). I want to see my people win and win big. Or however they choose to do it. But we have to come in with our A game thats why I am pushing the notion of better films. We need to be associated with quality product. The black film maker who did Pariah was given a two picture deal and distribution(focus features)..would’t you like that to be you…or did she sell herself out to the system. Do you think that will happen at the black film festivals? I am not trying to trash the importance of them but the reality is that your film will be shown and thats it..If thats what you want then so be it. And you can always look at your awards and boast that you won them at a black film festival but nothing to show for it. You need to create many opportunites as you can for yourself..so go where that can happen greater.
                    Its not the end of the world if it does not happen sure there other solutions however this seems to me as one of many proven mechanism for indie film makers.

                    The top film festivals are rejecting wack films.. period. If its good the chances of it getting in are good(sure there alot of good films that never got in however that does not mean you should not keep trying) ..Its a very competitive field because your competing against the WORLD not just black people. You want to make your films for everyone to see or just black people? Are you afraid to compete? Do you feel your two award winning films you won at the missippi black film fest are good enough to compete at that level? Its been done so there is no reason why you cannot do it..just make sure your coming in with you A game(best work). Also I never said that if our black films are not at that top festivals then they are not good enough. What I said was we need to take our best material and compete at these festivals..and be consistant to create more opportunites like Gun hill road and Pariah Thats all.. You begin to build a strong resume and they begin to take notice.. I don’t want you to be bitter(you sound that way) that things are not working as planned and your blaming the system which was in place before you took your first steps. Or waiting for the creation of a Black Hollywood to save you. I am tired of hearing people like yourself complain about hollywood..yes there is politics involved and yes they can change the rules in a heart beat but its no secret and you had to have known that from the jump unless you found out yesterday.
                    Just make it happen.

                    • Chester, excuse me, but since I don’t know anything about you except what you’ve written in this thread, you can’t take my love away. :-)

                      So man! From what I’ve read, you seem to be drifting. I ve read all of your… ahh, “arguments”, and if I may say, all of your recent protests are a mishmosh of ambiquities that leads to nowhere. In my opinion, for the last 4 DAYS(and there’s no shame in my game) you’re increasingly starting to sound like one of those sidewalk preachers who try to convince the unknowing to walk your way. My man, it’s not happening. Check check, picture the king’s new clothes.

                      On the other hand, Frank (imo) has consistently brought insight and facts to the floor. Now you’re up in here attacking the man. Don’t hate the playah… playah. Brings some facts and not whimsicle banter.

                      If you make me wade through 160 more comments to find you down here shadowboxing, I am gonna have to pimp slap you. :-)

                      I am not from NEW YORK CITY, and I am not a producer, but damn man, let it lay.

                    • Frank

                      Thx Carey, lol.

                      I don’t feels he’s attacking me per se, but I do think he’s rambling all over… and I definitely feel like Chester is up on the subject.

                      The whole reason why I commented in the first place was to voice my opinion that Mackie is dead wrong about his Oscar responses, and to try to explain why his whole POV is off on this subject.

                      Not only are we not sleeping on our game (as far as making really good black movies), but we’re trying everything to get them out, get them recognized, etc. etc. but we’re being largely ignored by the system.

                      There a LOT of reasons for this, and many of them aren’t ‘inherently’ racist… there are taste reasons, cultural reasons, financial reasons, ‘political’ reasons, etc. etc… but the reasons why are ‘sort of’ a different argument… I was asked my POV on what we need to be doing to advance AS A PEOPLE in this industry, so I gave it – create our own system from inception to distribution.

                      Now this is a daunting thing to do – even suggest. So daunting that it would take years for it to emerge, even with major backing from focused investors working collectively and cooperatively, and with a sure, focus plan on how it would take shape.

                      So to say it’s impossible, while not absolutely true, is pretty close to the mark – it certainly is improbable. Still, if what we want is a secure place for black films in this country (writing, producing, distributing, hiring actors for, honoring the work, etc.), then this is what needs to happen. Otherwise we’re stuck with what we have now, which is the system (which doesn’t represent us) picking and choosing what it wants to ‘support’ and what it won’t (which is mostly why we get so many stereotypical black films out of Hollywood year after year).

                      The system rewards the smallest percentage of us who make it in, by luck or hard work or skill or selling out or any combination of these), but the majority of us struggle tooth and nail to a chance (be they black writers, directors, actors, etc.).

                      IMO we need to stop looking to Hollywood and Oscar for opportunities and recognition. We need to create our own and build those from scratch – the Hollywood way is much less sure and subject to all kinds of whims, but all of us can do what Tyler Perry did in creating something for a specific audience (his plays), making sure your audience can get to it and enjoy it, and slowly building and profiting from that. Once he did that, once he got ‘big enough,’ LionsGate came calling saying ‘let’s make lots of money together,’ turned his plays into movies and put them out so his audience could see them all at once in theaters (instead of touring the Chitlin’ Circuit play-date by play-date), and boom they made lotsa money together.

                      Now, individually we all can do the same thing, and hey there’s nothing wrong with that – the question I was addressing is how we as a people can secure a place for our work for all of us. Hollywood ain’t that place, lol… they still don’t respect TP come awards season (not that they should – his films make money but they are not ‘great’ films). He just makes LionsGate lotsa money, so as long as he keeps doing that he’ll keep getting to do his thing.

                      But a successful black director here, an actor there, a producer here doesn’t begin to speak to or represent black film culture in this country. We need our own b/c there is no reason for the system to change to accommodate us or our visions.

                    • Frank

                      Here’s a quick list of well made, quality black films that didn’t get into the top festivals (Sundance, Cannes, etc.)

                      All About You, On The One, My Brother, South Of Pico, The Abduction of Jesse Bookman, Legacy, Mooz-lum, The Heart Specialist, Up With Me… there are soooooo many more.

                      This list is from just one black film festival over the last 7 or 8 years… blacks are NOT sleeping on our game – Oscars ain’t lookin’ in our direction.

                      To Chester’s point about getting into a top festival, making it easier to get distribution, I need to point out that 98% of all films that get into Sundance DO NOT get any type of distribution deal. Just getting into that festival doesn’t equate to your film being good, or it getting picked up. Again, we need NOT depend on this system for validation, distribution, or anything else. We need our own.

                    • chester

                      @ carey carey from somewhere USA …yes I am the drunk preacher in the street with the flask in my breast coat pocket with a lot of parishioners. And I take great pleasure in my drunken state to say based on your posts that you take pleasure in trying to critique other folks thoughts..like your sigmund frued. I can see you now at home burning incenses and twisting your dreads as you read everyones post. And since you probably have dreads you think you have reached a higher level of consciousness and your now here to break me down with your isms and jisms and subliminal inserections..(double finger snaps for you).take a bow..now please exit stage left(applause button)..your were great(applause button again)..rave reviews for you.. we are not here to make fun of people however as eddie said in “coming to america” while sam jackson decided to rob Mcdowells “Now Please remove your weapon or I will be forced to trash you”..lol… lets keep it civil ok and no internet pimp smackery needs to take place. Frank and I have two completely different viewpoints as to how we see things. Its all good and we can agree to disagree..I am not attacking him just challenging his view points…like he is doing with me. So if you want to join in and offer your opinion on whats being discussed then fine however please keep your internet pimp hand to yourself(insert smiley face).

                    • Frank

                      It’s funny, the Tyler Perry ‘model’ is pretty much the way we need to be going about it. Do our own thing independent of Hollywood until they come calling, then cash in big.

                      TP’s problem is that he’s not a film-maker, never was & still isn’t, and now that he’s “in” (not by making great films mind you, but by having a large audience), he’s doing it the system way b/c he doesn’t know the business of film-making any other way. If he wanted to, he could really take over (but so could several successful blacks in Hollywood), but he’s a part of the system and doesn’t know how to (or doesn’t care to) think outside of it.

                    • chester

                      @ Frank you say “Here’s a quick list of well made, quality black films(in your humble opinion) that didn’t get into the top festivals (Sundance, Cannes, etc.)

                      All About You, On The One, My Brother, South Of Pico, The Abduction of Jesse Bookman, Legacy, Mooz-lum, The Heart Specialist, Up With Me… there are soooooo many more”

                      Frank with the exception of Mooz-lum(not a bad film at all..fresh story..but ok) and Legacy(I did not see it) others you mentioned where not that good..To put it perspective for you the festivals I mentioned are qualifiers for Oscar contention.thats why they top festival(remember we competing against the world and not each other at the black film festival)..Now I want you to close your eyes and think for a second. Do you honestly and truely in your hearts of hearts believe that the acting, directing, staging, etc is worthy of mention in the movies your listed. Was Zoe Salander performance in the Heart Specialist an Oscar Performance? Did these films blow you away? Did you leave thinking wow this is great work…like “do the right thing”? Honestly. Those films were not good films bro in my opinion ..good achievement for us blacks but we need to come harder and fresher. Also we don’t even know if they submitted to those festivals or not.

                      And the oscar’s don’t support tyler perry’s movies because in all honesty in my opinion his movies are wack. He is clearly doing films to make money. Here is the formula..you have five things: big mama, some black buffed dude taking his shirt off, Some good fried Chicken, the electric slide(or some form of it) and the church…so no need to include him when it comes to the oscars. Apparently our sensibilites are diffferent when it comes to what we think are good films and thats fine.

                      Your are right that 98% of the films that leave those festivals do not get distribution however the probability is greater there than the other festivals. And even if your film got in and did not win..that can still be used to build a strong resume as film maker.

                      Here is the issue with us wanting to have our own hollywood. Too many black folks with ego’s, HNIC syndrome’s, me later for you, etc etc. issues going on. It would have happened already..we just have no faith in each other when it comes down to it. We talk about it alot but thats about it..I guess we are lazy… Also there too many black folks in hollywood collecting a nice check so its like why rock the boat. I am good later for you(thats whats happening). Heck we don’t even support black banks..like carver, broadway federal(LA based Black bank that has an entertainment division.thats funds films). I am down for the cause trust me but I am realistic.

                    • That’s what I’m talking about! Loosin up and smile a little. Don’t take yourself sooooo seriously. And, you’re pretty witty, I liked that Samuel Jackson, Snaggle Puss, and double finger snap thang.

                      But okay, you caught me. Now hand me your lighter so I can burn some more incense.

                      I mean, by default, I am in the discussion, because if you write it, I’ll read it.

                      Then as with every comment, someone might disagree. Hell, at last count, there’s 180 voices on the floor. And yes, I sit back and take it all in. Now, when I see something I disagree with (like you’ve been doing) I voice my disagreement. Granted, my pointed critiques, may not be of your “patty cakes” flavor, but nevertheless, I’m in the game. You’re doing your thang the way YOU do it. Me, I try to bring a different flavor.

                      So Mr NEW YORK CITY.. “we are not here to make fun of people”

                      Yelp, that’s true. But laughter is the nectar of life. And some things crack me up.

                      So get back in there, get your feet wet. Float like a butterfly and sting like a bee. RUMBLE BABY RUMBLE!

  • Jug

    Man, y’all STILL talking about this?!??

    Well, then check it!

    http://www.variety.com/article/VR1118033112/

    • Frank

      I came in late to the game and added my 2 cents, lol, causing some more feedback.

    • Frank

      Nice article, at least it goes deeper into the subject and illustrates how it’s not about being ‘lazy,’ explains a bit about ‘Oscar’ and explores the real issues behind making black films. Good read.

      • Jug

        Indeed Frank. And then there’s this:

        http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/black-thor-actor-blasts-debate-164048

        In Hollywood, black of white, you have to FIGHT for everything, and we are NO STRANGER for fighting for ours.

        Incidentally, casting Idris as Heimdall is part of the storyline. In THOR, they are from another planet & their technology is so great & vast, that to the people of earth, is seemed like Magic. So they could cast a black man & not “disrepect” the Norse myth, because Marvel is creating its own myth.

        • Frank

          Another great read! I think everyone here should read these articles… plus the comments after were pretty funny too lol…

          IMO the economics relating to this industry has everything to do with all of this… black movies need to make a profit… black actors, directors & etc. need to make a living… b/c we’re such a small percentage of the US population, we have to make our movies on smaller scales to turn the kinds of profits we need for everyone to prosper in the industry… with Hollywood flaunting its huge budgets and over-the-top successes in our faces, it’s hard to resist the seduction of just rolling with them, hoping to be one of the lucky ones to get ‘on.’

          If we as a people only would be willing to start small, create our own business model, and grow it the same way H-town did we’d be unstoppable. But it’s too hard, requires too much innovation & sacrifice, and the chance at the big bucks RIGHT NOW is too much for us to even fathom creating our own for ourselves. We’re hooked.