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‘Renaissance for Black films’

COURTESY PHOTO

COURTESY PHOTO

LOS ANGELES — Last year, the film entertainment industry set a record with box office receipts totaling $11 billion. Black filmmakers, directors and actors in leading roles were a large part of the industry’s success.

On March 2, “12 Years a Slave” won the Academy Award for Best Picture, the first time in the event’s 85-year history that a film directed by a Black person won the distinction.

Just prior to “12 Years’” historic win, on Feb. 20, the 10th Annual NAACP Hollywood Bureau Symposium was held at the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. The event asked whether this newfound success was due to a broader industry trend or the achievement of a new stronghold for Blacks in the film industry.

More than 300 people including Hollywood entertainers, NAACP board members, members of the NAACP Image Awards’ committee and television academy, as well as film and television students from local colleges and universities convened for this event.

They also engaged in the question and answer session by directly addressing the panel participants with various inquiries. All of the panelists concurred: Aspiring artists should persevere and perfect their crafts.

Pamela Alexander, director of community development, Ford Motor Company Fund, called 2013-2014, “a renaissance in Black film at all levels.”

The Ford Motor Company fund was the event’s sole sponsor. As part of their sponsorship, Ford gave a $10,000 grant to Duke Media Foundation, which develops media and financial literacy programs to prepare inner-city and gifted high school students for the new digital media age.

— Staff report

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