In keeping with tradition The Hollywood Black Film Festival, (HBFF), offered attendees the chance to come face to face with industry professionals who may even be their inspiration to make films.
Thursday and Saturday two panels included Directors, Malcolm D. Lee (The Best Man Holiday), Bill Duke (A Rage in Harlem), John Singleton (Boyz n the Hood), Tim Story (Think Like A Man), Sheldon Candis (Luv), Charles Murray (Things Never Said), and Neema Barnette (Civil Brand), who gave insight into the industry, along with motivating words for the new generation to continue.
The most common question from a young filmmaker (even for those who never raised their hand to ask) was "How do I make it?" Lee's advice was to "Look at the masters that came before us." In order to know what is great and what studio executives look for a good amount of research and studying is needed from the filmmaker. However, Lee also points out that with the digital age, there are fewer barriers for filmmakers, and instructed the audience to write a contained script and limit the amount of characters in their story.
The motivation from Lee's panel transferred over to Saturday's Director's Chair panel, which included both veterans and establishing filmmakers. During the Director's Chair panel Singleton explained his true intent with his op-ed article, “Can a White Director Make a Great Black Movie?” and spoke on the disrespect felt when black filmmakers are not consulted on black themed projects that are directed by his white male counterparts, a sentiment many in the room shared.
The panel felt like a complete circle with Duke anchoring his position as a long time director, and Candis reminiscing to the point of becoming emotional about when he got the called that his upcoming project was bought from a network studio.
The panel ended with a few questions from the audience, as the one hour time limited quickly expired, but not before Murray gave his advice on how to help more black themed movies succeed: "Stop bootlegging."
Visit HBFF.org for a full schedule of films and events, the festival continues through October 6, 2013 in Hollywood, CA.
View the slideshow for pictures of the Director's Chair, Mentor Speed-dating, and How to Produce & Distribute on any Budget panels.