It seems a particularly important time to be celebrating Black History Month in America. I don’t have to tell you why (please, don’t make me tell you why). In doing that this year, I decided to shift the focus away from icons of the past (though you’ll see the mark of history in every work within this post) and shine a lens on the black filmmakers working right now.
Who are the black filmmakers currently working in our film industry?
Some are studio directors. Others independent writer/directors. Interestingly, many are working with and employing each other. All are doing not just good work, but great work. And despite the general notion that black stories do not attract audiences or the money that comes with them, many (if not most) of those on this list prove that myth absolutely false.
This list isn’t exhaustive, but it’s a start. Rather embarrassingly, I haven’t watched every film on this list (or even the majority). Like you, and almost everyone else, I watch what is most easily accessible. That’s usually whatever my local Regal is playing on cheap Tuesday, or whatever Netflix suggests I might like next. It’s also usually something by a well-known, white male director – because that’s what’s marketed to us. That’s a shame.
But it’s okay. Because we can change it. If there’s anything helpful I can do as a white American, it’s actually watch the work of black filmmakers working in this country. So, perhaps we can start together. Maybe we can forego our Netflix suggestions and search for one of these titles; maybe the algorithm will eventually pick up on it; maybe it’ll actually change what we’re regularly watching.
10 Black Filmmakers Whose Work You Can Watch NOW
What follows is a list of directors, a short biography, and the project they’re currently working on. A list of films by each filmmaker that you should start with. Finally, a trailer to help you pick something to watch tonight.
Sound good? Let’s get to it.
Summer blockbusters are here!
And with those July new releases come a good number of women written, directed, and produced projects. Yes, that Ghostbusters reboot is one of them. But so is Ab-Fab, and that’s a DAMN BLESSING.
First time readers, here’s the deal:
I premiered this monthly series back in May as a means to an end. An end to not knowing how few feature films are written and directed by women each year; to missing some of the best female created series on television; to just not knowing what the hell to watch.
Why not get all the work in one place and help support these women filmmakers, writers, and show-runners?
And so here we are. June’s list was heavy on the television. July is nicely balanced, with more to offer on the theatrical front. I’m very pleased to see two major studio productions (Absolutely Fabulous and Ghostbusters) with huge female influences.
Now, without further ado…
In need of a visual refresh to start your summer right?
New movies? Fresh June television? Just a little something… different?
Don’t worry – I’ve got you covered.
If you didn’t catch the premiere of this monthly series in May, I’m DONE ignoring the lack of women voices in film and television.
Join me every month as I compile a list of every theatrical release and television premiere that’s written, directed, or created by women.
Hopefully it’s convenient enough to give you one less excuse to not be seeing what women are making – and get thee to a movie theater (Or the comfort of your own cozy couch)!
This month is quite thin on the women in film front. But the June television schedule is full of lady-created work to wrap your brain around. Enjoy!
We have a problem.
A systemic, deep-set, unacceptable, not-so-small problem. Women filmmakers – where are they? Do they exist? Are they all on some secret retreat writing, planning, getting ready to release their work into the world on a historic day called THE DAY WOMEN FINALLY TAKE OVER THE WORLD?
Probably not (but I’ve still got my fingers crossed).
I read some sad statistics earlier in the week that unfortunately only fueled my frustration.
Out of every big studio film released in Hollywood in 2015, only 9% were directed by women filmmakers.
9%! 9. fucking. percent.
Independent film doesn’t fare much better considering it has “independent,” and therefore the illusion of freedom in the title – documentary filmmakers are 35% female, and only 19% working on narrative film (stats from Number of Women Indie Filmmakers Stagnant – by Brent Lang, Variety).
So this got me to a place. And I decided,
I don’t want to just do favorites each month.