The lack of diversity in Hollywood is nothing new, yet this year’s Sundance Film Festival boasts enough major Black talent to raise our hopes. Spike Lee will be premiering his much anticipated Red Hook Summer, a drama exploring class, cultural, and religion issues in the Black community. Lee will also be appearing in the film as his famed character Mookie (yes, Do the Right Thing Mookie!) The drama Luv, a film by Black director Sheldon Candis, has quite the arsenal of actors including Common, Danny Glover, Dennis Haysbert, Charles S Dutton, Michael Kenneth Williams and young newcomer Michael Rainey Jr.
An interracial relationship sets the stage in 2 Days in New York, which Chris Rock as a quirky black father who faces racial tensions when his White girlfriend’s parents visit from France. Black film festival advocate Ava DuVernay and Pariah cinematographer Bradford Young teamed up for DuVernay’s Middle of Nowhere, a film centered on a black wife’s struggle to deal with her husband’s incarceration. Additional films with key Black players include Sam Pollard’s new documentary Slavery By Another Name, Ice-T’s documentary Something From Nothing: the Art of Rap, Wuthering Heights, Rashida Jones in Celeste and Jesse Forever, and director, writer and actor Terrance Nance’s An Oversimplification of Her Beauty.
Between these new films and the widespread acclaim for Pariah, might there be a Black film renaissance in the making?