Houston independent film director Greg Carter is set to host the annual Black Images in the Media Arts Festival and Symposium sponsored by the University of Houston African American Studies program. The 2011 BIAF will be held April 13-16, 2011, on the University of Houston campus.
The focus of the symposium will be to shed light on negative images of African Americans in the media by allowing participants the opportunity to engage with the panelists and discuss African American issues in society as well as celebrate the beauty of those images.
The symposium will be complete with some of black America’s top scholars who will discuss the historic, current and future issues involving African Americans on stage, in film and in music. The award-winning filmmaker shares with rolling out why this event is so important to the African American community. –alex green
Why is the BIAF important?
Film has become the most powerful method of creating and communicating thoughts and ideas through the power of story. Film carried a unique but difficult situation for early artists of color, such as the great Paul Robeson, who struggled to make a living in the business, juxtaposed with their desire to make art that embodied positive images of black folk. Some 40 years later, we still fight for control of the black image from the powers that be. Ultimately, I think keeping the door open for a diversity of voices to be heard from the black filmmaking community will get us where we should be.
Who are your favorite black directors?
Spike Lee, Melvin Van Peebles, the Hughes Brothers and Michael Shultz.
Why are black images still not being seen on film regularly?
I believe black filmmakers are hurt by the lack of distribution and finance models for our films as opposed to our mainstream counterparts. Think about this: How many black movies do you see in your neighborhood Redbox machine, which can hold up to 500 DVDs? Two … maybe three? Or have you tried to find a new black title in the Netflix sea of 80,000 titles? I’d like to see a Blackbox DVD machine in our communities or a black film search tab on Netflix. Solving the problem of how to get black films to the black audience that craves them will solve the problem of getting black movies made.
What are you working on now?
I’m producing and directing Michael Vick: Giving Back, an unscripted feature film dealing with the NFL quarterback’s desire to help others and recapture his former gridiron glory. I’m also working on a film titled Monica, which can be described as Indecent Proposal meets Dancing at the Blue Iguana.
For more information, please visit http://www.class.uh.edu/aas/.