As a professor and creative director at New York University's film school, Spike Lee has been honing the minds of future filmmakers for the past 15 years. One of his study guides includes a list that he gives to his students of the 50 films he feels every aspiring filmmaker should watch. The list is filled with titles most casual filmgoers might not be aware of, but as Shadow and Act points out, it also contains only three films by black directors.
The one thing that immediately jumped out at me in looking over this list from Spike Lee, is the near-absence of films by black filmmakers. I counted 3 total: Charles Burnett's Killer Of Sheep, John Singleton's Boyz N The Hood, and Michael Schultz's Coolie High.
Although there are a few films listed that tell stories about black people, but weren't directed by black filmmakers, likeBlack Orpheus, for example, which was directed by Frenchman Marcel Camus.
And when I say black filmmakers, I'm not referring solely to black American filmmakers. I'm talking about the entire African Diaspora.
Shadow and Act has published the entire list.
Read more at Shadow and Act.
Jozen Cummings is the author and creator of the popular relationship blog Until I Get Married, which is currently in development for a television series with Warner Bros. He also hosts a weekly podcast with WNYC about Empire called Empire Afterparty, is a contributor at VerySmartBrothas.com and works at Twitter as an editorial curator. Follow him on Twitter.