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Thursday, October 4, 2007

Chicago-The New Black Hollywood?


I think the other two thirds of my Negro Justice League are inspiring the other third, Afronerd, to come out and play for a while. Found this interesting post about the black film scene in Chicago, which oddly enough, the very first black film came from. From his blog:

I would like our readers to take look at an excerpt from a recent article written by our supporter and resident soothsayer Sergio Mims. He provides an excellent synopsis of the history of Black cinema in Chicago and it's unfortunate demise. The following piece is courtesy of NdigoOnline.com:

Is Chicago The New Black Hollywood?
By Sergio A. Mims
In the beginning, there was Chicago--the very location of The Railroad Porter, the first Black film ever made.The Railroad Porter, a comic chase movie, was produced in 1912 by the multitalented William Foster, (aka actor Juli Jones), who also worked as a press agent, sportswriter, writer and director of the Pekin Players, an early, Chicago-area all-Black theater company, and a salesman of Haitian coffee. Sadly, not much is known about The Railroad Porter, as it is one of thousands of silent films that were not preserved and are now lost to history. However, the film ignited a spark in what was to become the Black film industry; other Black film companies began to spring up in Chicago, including the Royal Gardens Film Company. Shortly thereafter, the great Black filmmaking pioneer Oscar Micheaux opened his first film production company in Chicago on 538 S. Dearborn Ave.

Micheaux’s first feature film, "The Homesteader", was shot in and around Chicago in 1919.

Has Chicago finally become the new Black Hollywood, in the gigantic footsteps of the pioneer Oscar Micheaux? Alas, regretfully, the answer is a resounding NO.

Black Indie Film Industry: A REEL Disappointment. About five years ago, there began a genuine movement of new Black independent filmmakers in Chicago, which continues to grow every year. Suddenly, new works consisting of short films, documentaries and especially feature-length films began to appear in countless numbers.

For more of Sergio's article, click on the link: Is Chicago The New Black Hollywood?

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