Black-healmed films have often faced the reality of being a tree falling in an empty forest. Sure, there are more black filmmakers than ever, but do their films make a sound if they're not getting distributed? In the past, that answer was no. The struggle for mainstream success was real. However, big things poppin' in the summer of 2013 are a positive prognosticator of the future success of black film releases.
Lee Daniels' The Butler starring Forest Whitaker. Oprah Winfrey and a litany of black performers is the most known commodity, but it's not the only black film receiving a prominent release.
Via New York Times:
Black filmmakers say the wave of 2013 releases was built in large part on the creativity that has flourished on the independent-film circuit, which has become a laboratory of sorts for more prominent African-American-themed productions. Writers and directors have been sharpening their skills on indie films the last several years while waiting for big distributors to regain interest.
Studio executives also say there is a growing audience with more multicultural tastes that gives these films a broader appeal. “There’s a genre audience out there, but it’s no longer quite so segregated,” said Stephen Gilula, a president of Fox Searchlight. African-American-themed films, when they do find mainstream distributors, are often playing at more theaters in more cities than in the past, Mr. Gilula said.
It may seem like a tiny step, but it's a positive one. There aren't many Spike Lees in Hollywood. Filmmakers build their reps with Indie films. If no one sees these motion pictures, then these directors, actors and actresses go unnoticed and the cycle continues. Wide releases means more exposure. It's about time for black films to begin getting their just due.