On this blog and elsewhere, discussions/debates have been had about the perceived dearth of black filmmakers creating work that’s, shall we say, atypical of the kind of material that we collectively, broadly brand “black cinema,” in terms of content, themes explored, style, etc.
It’s perplexing because it should go without saying that, of course there are black filmmakers with interests that exist outside of what many of us may have come to understand as the “norm” for black cinema. As has been stated here before, we’re certainly not a monolith, and our individual life experiences vary greatly, across all spectra. So naturally, our artistic output will vary just as widely.
“Well duh!”, as any 8-year-old would say.
But yet, these conversations are still often had.
There’s the question of what black filmmakers are “allowed” to do within the current “system,” but that’s a continuously evolving situation that’s for another blog post. Although in brief, we certainly shouldn’t let a dominant industry’s myopia be our sole gauge of what black filmmakers are capable of.
With all that said… meet Osbert Parker, a black British filmmaker, and 3-time British Academy Award-nominated director (BAFTA – the UK’s equivalent of the Oscars) with a background in commercials, who, since 2005, has been experimenting with mixed-media, creating a trilogy of animated noir shorts, combining still images, miniature sets, and stop-motion animation, mixed with found live action footage, to create an interesting body of work.
The films have played at international film festivals like Cannes and Sundance, and were nominated for best short film awards by both the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in 2006, and also the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival.
The first film in his mixed-media “noir” trilogy is titled simply “Film Noir”; the second is called “Yours Truly,” and he’s reportedly been working on the third, in addition to developing a mixed-media feature film, which will be his feature debut, also in the mixed media style which would probably take a really long time to complete, especially if working with budget constraints. So, we may have to wait and see if anything surfaces some time down the road.
Embedded below are 2 short videos for you to watch. The first is an excerpt from the “Film Noir” trilogy; and the second is an excerpt from the 2nd short film in the trilogy, “Yours Truly.” It’s a little tough for me to imagine an entire feature-length film made in this style, that actually remains engaging throughout its running time, but I’m open and curious enough.
An excerpt from “Film Noir”:
And an excerpt from “Yours Truly.”