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.