The Black Film Renaissance of 2013

As the release dates of movies like Fruitvale and The Butler near, it seems that these are just two of many black projects to hit screens this year, writes Michael Cieply in the New York Times.

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Fruitvale poster (Facebook)

It looks like people will have to stop complaining about the lack of African-American stories on screen as 2013 ushers in as many as 10 new black films between summer and the end of the year, writes Michael Cieply in the 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.

In addition, a cohort of black cultural figures, including directors, actors, writers and playwrights, has fostered a shared spirit that has sustained black filmmakers, even when studios were paying less attention.

"I would have to liken this to the Harlem Renaissance," said David E. Talbert, who wrote and directed "Baggage Claim," a romance that is based on his novel of the same title and will be released in September.

Read Michael Cieply's entire piece at the New York Times.

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