Ava DuVernay: Black Film’s Big Year Fueled by Indie Movement

Years of carefully cultivating black talent is leading to a big year at the box office.

By Jamilah King Jun 03, 2013

This year is gonna be a big one for black films. At least ten are set to hit theaters in the last five months of the year, and they aren’t all directed by Tyler Perry. In fact, they’re a range in everything from musicals to romances to Christmas comedies. It’s a really big deal because they’re actually don’t reduce black folks to mere caricatures. Ava DuVernay had some great insight for the New York Times into how the indie circuit has been cultivating talented black filmmakers for years, and now we’re finally seeing the results. 

"The conversation within the black film community is about this new energy that was jump-started by the indie movement," said DuVernay, who in 2011 started the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement to issue black-made films that were being overlooked by commercial distributors.

Among this year’s films to watch out for: Ryan Coogler’s Oscar Grant narrative, "Fruitvale Station"; Lee Daniels’ historical account of a White House butler called, not surprisingly, "The Butler"; and the romance "Baggage Claim", written and directed by David E. Talbert, who likened this year’s crop of black films to a resurgence of the Harlem Reniassance in the Times. In addition to those, there are seven slavery-themed films hitting theateres this year.