In Living Color

Article excerpt

INTRODUCING VISIONARY FILMMAKERS WHOSE WORK DESERVES WIDER ATTENTION

Steve McQueen, an acclaimed Afro-British filmmaker, touched a nerve during a directors' roundtable conducted in November 2011 by The Hollywood Reporter magazine. The gathering, captured on videotape and shared across cyberspace, lurched awkwardly into an abortive discussion about the lack of diversity among Hollywood film directors.

When the moderator asked why there were so few women helming studio-backed productions, McQueen, the lone Black participant, countered that the question could just as well have been why there are so few Black directors. He expanded his observations to include White directors' puzzling failure to cast more minority performers in key roles.

"I'm always astonished by American filmmakers, particularly living in certain areas, where they never cast one Black person or never actually put them in the lead in a movie it's shameful," McQueen said. "How can you be living in cities in America as a director and not cast - I don't know how you can live in New York and not cast Black or Latino actors? It's shameful. It's unbelievable."

The moderator invited the White panelists to address McQueen's comments, but all they could come up with were dumbstruck expressions.

"Not stepping into that," one finally muttered.

"I don't know," another offered.

Fortunately for filmgoers like us, directors of color continue to answer the dull-witted silence of the cinema establishment by bringing complex, creative visions to life.

"There's movie reality and there's real reality," McQueen added. With admirable verve, the filmmakers profiled here are putting on their own stamp on the way things are - and the way they should be.

ALRICK BROWN

HOMETOWN: Plainfield, N.J., via Kingston, Jamaica

BASE OF OPERATIONS: Plainfield, NJ.

MY WORKS: US: A Love Story, Death of Two Sons, The Adventures of Supemigger: Episode I, The Final Chapter, Kinyarwanda, Final Witness (Episode 4)

CURRENT PROJECT: Final Witness

MY MISSION: To change the world one frame, one story at a time

FILMMAKER(S) WHO INFLUENCED ME MOST: Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, Michael Mann, Spike Lee, David Fincher, Quentin Tarantino, David Greenglass, Tony Gilroy, Melvin Van Peebles, Christopher Nolan ... the list goes on . . . .

A GOOD FILM I'VE WATCHED LATELY (01 A GOOD FILM I WATCH OFTEN) The Princess Bride

TO FIND OUT MORE: www.alricksporch.com

Changing the world one frame one story at a time.

CRISTINA KOTZ CORNEJO

HOMETOWN: I don't really have one but if t have to say, it's Buenos Aires, Argentina.

BASE OF OPERATIONS: Boston and Mexico City.

MY WORKS: Despertar (Awaken - 2011), 3 Americas (2007), La Guerra Que No Fue (Them That Never Was -2003)

CURRENT PROJECT: My next project is Hermanas de Fé, a feature I've written and plan to direct that is currently being packaged in Mexico City by two Mexican producers, Gerardo Barrera (Producer of Sin Nombre and Under the Same Moon) and Priscila Amescua Méndez (Producer of Despertar and former assistant to Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu).

Hermanas de Fé is a social thriller about Luz Molina, an 18-year-old prostitute who works the Mexico City streets at night to make a living while Lupe, her disapproving, religious sister, cleans hotels. One night a violent encounter sets off a series of events that places the sister's lives in danger and sends them on a journey of survival, selfdiscovery and reconciliation.

MY MISSION: I've always been on the margins of society, having grown up bi-culturally and with a parent from South America at a time when multiculturalism wasn't very popular. As a result I'm compelled to tell stories that depict characters whose lives are greatly challenged but who ultimately see a way out of whatever obstacles are in their way. whether its themselves and/or elements of society.

Film and media have the power to empower viewers and influence people subconsciously, either negatively or positively,- my goal is to create films that tell compelling, universal, character-driven stories that not only entertain but subtly bring a positive awareness to the audiences they reach without being didactic. …