In 1991, The New York Times Magazine ran a cover story about the unprecedented number of black films released by Hollywood. Produced both inside and outside the studio system, these films heralded the arrival of a new generation of filmmakers, including Spike Lee, John Singleton, Mario Van Peebles, Robert Townsend, the Hudlin brothers, and Matty Rich. The films released that year-including Boyz n the Hood, New Jack City, Jungle Fever, and Straight out of Brooklyn-sparked a cultural explosion that still reverberates. To mark the 20th anniversary of this new wave of black cinema, Museum of the Moving Image will host a town hall meeting on the future of black cinema on Saturday, November 12, 2011, at 3:00 p.m. featuring a keynote address by author, critic, and filmmaker Nelson George, live and Skype interviews with prominent filmmakers including John Singleton (Boys n the Hood) and scholars, and an open discussion.
"We Gotta Have It: The 20th Anniversary of the New Wave of Black Cinema" was organized by Warrington Hudlin, founder of the Black Filmmaker Foundation and Museum trustee. "Much has changed and much has not changed in the 20 years that have passed since the black cinematic explosion of 1991," said Hudlin. "Responding to the keynote speech by Nelson George, we have invited the prime movers and shakers of the black cinema movement for a town hall discussion of where this movement is headed (or should be headed). This will be an historic gathering of indie filmmakers, film festival programmers, journalists, critics, and bloggers comparable to the 1991 launch to the black new wave of films that we are celebrating."
Tickets for "We Gotta Have It" are $15 public / free for Museum members. Advance tickets may be purchased online at movingimage.us or by calling 718 777 6800. The program was made possible with support by NBC Universal.
The program opens with a presentation from Nelson George including clips from key films of the era, and will be followed by live interviews, onstage and via Skype, with major filmmakers from the period, including John Singleton, whose hit film Boyz n the Hood played a key role in sparking the movement. The second part of the event will be a town hall discussion, organized with the assistance of Sheril D. Antonio, Associate Dean at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. Speakers will include Sam Pollard, frequent Spike Lee collaborator (Jungle Fever, Clockers, 4 Little Girls) and Professor of Editing at New York University; and playwright and screenwriter Richard Wesley who is Associate Professor of Screenwriting and Chair of the Department of Dramatic Writing at Tisch. The discussion will focus on the trajectory of black cinema over the past twenty years, its impact on American culture, and its future direction.