Barry Jenkins on Being A Black Filmmaker

I’m a black filmmaker. I must be. When I think of characters, or rather, when characters come to me — as the best ones do, outside of conscious thought — overwhelmingly they are black. And when I introduce these characters and films into the production framework of this industry, the funding and distribution “restrictions” I’m met with as a result of those characters’ blackness would remind me, if it weren’t clear already, that I am indeed black.”

The above quote comes from the NY Times piece 20 Directors to Watch in which the Times profiled 20 filmmakers who are making their voices heard. Barry Jenkins directed the 2008 film “Medicine for Melancholy,” which centers around a young couple who spend a day with each other in San Francisco. It’s a film that I highly recommend. The piece also features Dee Rees, who directed the 2011 highly regarded film “Pariah.”

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