Thursday 1 October 2020

Black History Month: Innovators Behind The Camera

Continuing our celebration of black history, this week we look at 5 iconic names from behind the camera. Each known for their work creating powerful and entertaining films that pushed boundaries and made cinematic history.

Amma Asante MBE

Beginning her career as a child actress and appearing on shows such as Grange Hill, BAFTA award-winning Writer/Director Amma Asante went on to direct her first film in 2004; A Way of Life. The film gained critical acclaim and earned her the 2005 BAFTA Carl Foreman Award for Special Achievement by a writer/director in a debut film (Making her the first Black Writer/Director to receive the award). Continuing to succeed, Asante then directed the 2014 release ‘Belle’. The film opened to phenomenal global success, making Amma one of CNN’s Leading Women of 2014, and earning her nominations for various awards worldwide. To this day Asante continues to write and direct hugely successful films, including ‘A United Kingdom’ in 2016 and ‘Where Hands Touch’ in 2018.

Buy ‘Belle’ on DVD or BLU-RAY

Buy ‘A United Kingdom’ on DVD or BLU-RAY

Sir Steve McQueen

A British director, screenwriter, photographer and artist, known famously for his ground-breaking films. Sir Steve McQueen was awarded the Cannes film festival’s Caméra d’Or for his debut feature film ‘Hunger’; A film that told the chilling story of Irish nationalist Bobby Sands, who went on hunger strike at Maze prison and starved himself to death there in 1981.
In 2013, McQueen’s film ‘12 Years A Slave’ told the story of Solomon Northup and his experience as an American free black man who was kidnapped and sold into slavery. This film went on to win a Golden Globe Award and the Academy Award for best picture.
For his many accomplishments, McQueen was named an OBE in 2002 and then CBE in 2011.

Buy ‘12 Years A Slave’ on DVD or BLU-RAY

Buy ‘Hunger’ on DVD

Jordan Peele

Jordan Peele started to make a name for himself when he was hired as a cast member on Mad TV. Following that, came the hugely successful Key and Peele show with co-Mad TV star Keegan-Michael Key. After reaching critical acclaim as a comedy actor, Peele moved from in front of the camera to behind it when he directed the Oscar-winning ‘Get Out’, a horror movie that confronts every-day racism. The feature became a breakout hit and the most profitable film of 2017. In 2019 Peele followed up with his sophomore feature film ‘Us’, and has since been involved in the production of TV shows such as The O.G. and The Twilight Zone reboot.

Buy ‘Us’ on DVD or BLU-RAY

Buy ‘Get Out’ on DVD or BLU-RAY

Ava DuVernay

Living proof that it’s never too late to follow your dreams, Ava DuVernay started directing at the age of thirty-two. She has gone on to make history as a writer, director and producer, becoming the first black woman to win Best Director at the Sundance Film Festival. DuVernay’s work has ranked her the highest-grossing Black female director in box office history. DuVernay’s films ‘Selma’ and ‘13th’ have both received critical acclaim for their portrayal of racial prejudice in the United States. In 2010 she worked with Disney and Oprah Winfrey on the live-action film ‘A Wrinkle In Time’. Also that year, DuVernay started the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement, a film distribution company working to improve racial and gender inclusion in the industry. Her latest series ‘When They See Us’ that portrays the true story of five teens from Harlem who were falsely accused of a brutal attack in Central Park, was nominated for 16 Emmy Awards.

Buy ‘Selma’ on DVD or BLU-RAY

Buy ‘A Wrinkle In Time’ on DVD

Ryan Coogler

Ryan Coogler first stepped into the film industry whilst at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, where he directed four short critically-acclaimed films. In 2013 Coogler wrote and directed the award-winning ‘Fruitvale Station’; A chilling retelling of the final 24 hours of Oscar Grant's life; An African-American 22-year-old man who was killed by Police on New Year’s Day in 2009. Coogler went on to direct Creed in 2015, a sequel to the beloved ‘Rocky’ franchise. In 2016 Coogler was hired to direct and co-write Marvel’s ‘Black Panther’, a film that has gone on to win a multitude of awards and accolades and is renowned as a defining moment for black cinema. Coogler is also the youngest director to direct a film for the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Buy ‘Black Panther’ on DVD or BLU-RAY

Buy ‘Fruitvale Station’ on DVD or BLU-RAY
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