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Black Film/White Money

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Black Film/White Money

by Jesse Algeron Rhines

About this title: Why are there so few Black filmmakers who control their own work? Why are there scarcely any Black women behind the camera? What happens to Black filmmakers when they move from independent production to the mainstream? What does it mean for whites to control Black images and their distribution globally? And, was it always so? Could it be different? In this vivid portrait of their historic and present-day contributions, Jesse Rhines explores the roles African American men and women have played in the motion picture business from 1915 to the present. He illuminates his discussion by carefully linking the history of early Black filmmaking to the current success of African American filmmakers and examines how African Americans have been affected by changes that have taken place in the industry as a whole. He focuses on the crucial role of distribution companies, the difficulty of raising money for production, the compromises that directors and writers must make to get funding, and the effect of negative, sensationalistic images on the Black community. Rhines surveys significant eras in film history and their impact on African Americans, from the silent era through the emergence of the Black-owned Lincoln Motion Picture Company, and the later introduction of sound, to the postwar era, the antitrust suit against Paramount Pictures, the introduction of television, and blaxploitation movies. Rhines interviews many well-known directors, including Spike Lee and Reginald Hudlin, and producer Grace Blake, giving readers an inside look at how deal-making does--or does not--work.

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