Blacks Independant Film Industry

Essay by jagerbombwvuUniversity, Bachelor'sA, April 2006

download word file, 6 pages 5.0

In 1915, after the release of "Birth of a Nation" African Americans formed their own independent film industry as a form of a counter attack. They went out and found their own funding in order to produce films with much more positive images of Blacks. African American filmmakers were forced to Operate outside of the mainstream film industry. These filmmakers wanted to respond to the negative stereotypes of African Americans in Hollywood films. The audiences were shown a more complex and distinguished depiction of African American life and culture. The films were known as "Midnight Rambles" because the films were shown after hours usually between midnight and 2am. These films were made by, produced by, and starred entirely by African American actors. There were special segregated theaters for an exclusively African American audience. These films were made by black Independent film makers for black audiences. Independent film makers such as Oscar Micheaux are known for originating African American films and film companies.

These companies made films with entirely African American cast and crew. According to the Jim Crow laws, every person operating any public hall, theater or any place of public entertainment which is attended by both white and colored persons, must separate the races and designate certain seats to be occupied by white persons and a portion to be occupied by colored persons.

The 1915 release of "Birth of a Nation" by D.W. Griffith sent a shockwave through the nation. The film succeeded in revealing the cultural myths and distortion of African Americans that had originally been created during the years of enslavement in the United States. In the films the characters of the devoted Mammy and Uncle Tom, the wicked black buck and the dreadful mulatto were played by white actors with their faces completely painted in black...