George Lucas' recent comments about the difficulty of securing funding for Red Tails — the headline-grabbing movie released this week that chronicles the groundbreaking achievements of the Tuskegee Airmen — have plenty of African Americans rushing to buy tickets to prove Hollywood naysayers wrong.
It seems that the black film community is on the edge of its seat, too. The African-American creator of After the Storm, an independent film about post-Katrina New Orleans, has penned an open letter thanking Lucas for his honesty about the racial issues that surrounded the production of Red Tails. He pledges the support of "our country’s unheralded brigade of black actors, writers and filmmakers" to step forward and support the project.
Read a few excerpts here:
Mr. Lucas, I must tell you that your recent comments on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart are greatly appreciated. It was a brave and bold stance that was likely motivated by years of frustration. It is clear that you have experienced an unfortunate journey that all too many African-American filmmakers have had to contend with for decades.
Making movies is exceedingly difficult regardless of the ethnicity of those in front of or behind the camera. Unfortunately, these obstacles are magnified when the primary collaborators of a project happen to be black. As you mentioned, no matter how compelling these stories may be, many of these films are tagged as “not marketable” before they even get to see the light of day. Sadly, it is a constant struggle for black storytellers to overcome the fallacy that black films are simply a collection of ultra-niche, second-rate fodder.
That is why we, the black film community, are ready to step forward and show everyone what we are capable of . . .
Regardless of how many tickets are sold at the box office in the next few days, I believe that one simple truth will remain …
Red Tails will fly high.
Colen C. Wiley — Writer | Director | Producer, After the Storm
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