We’ve all complained about the dearth of good black films lately, but the tide seems to be shifting. With more African-American filmmakers taking to the web and pursuing independent routes to showcase their work, this year is quickly becoming a great year for black films.
Aside from DuVernay’s latest film (in theathers now), you need to add Goran Hugo Olsson’s documentary The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 to your “must see” list.
Produced by Hollywood vet Danny Glover, The Black Power Mixtape takes viewers through the turbulent times of the 60s and 70s.
Black film blog, Shadow and Act, describes the film like this:
[‘The Black Power Mixtape’] attempts to contextualizes the movement, at home and abroad, highlight its successes and failures, and note its importance today; it wants to raise awareness and reignite penetrating discussion on the movement, by introducing it to a new global generation, in a format that may be more accessible to them – the concept we call the “mixtape,” hence the title.
The story goes… the late 60s/early 70s saw Swedish interest in the US Civil Rights Movement peak; and with a demonstrated combination of commitment and naivete, Swedish filmmakers, armed with 16mm photography and sound equipment, driven partly by what they perceived to be a shared objective with the Black Power Movement (broadly, equal rights for all), traveled across the Atlantic to investigate and explore that specific movement, in order to confirm or nullify its purposefully negative portrayal by the US press. All accomplished despite obstacles from both the conservative whites and fringe members of the movement itself.
Their efforts resulted in some amazing and explosive 16mm footage of key Black Power figures and Civil Rights activists of the day (footage that was discovered some 30 years after it was recorded, sitting, untouched, in the cellar of a Swedish television station).
Featuring interview footage of many of the heroes of the Black Power Movement—Stokely Carmichael, Eldridge Cleaver, Bobby Seale, Huey Newton, Harry Belafonte and Angela Davis—and contemporary artists and activists such as Sonia Sanchez, Questlove and The Roots, Erykah Badu, Professor Robin Kelley, and Melvin Van Peebles, The Black Power Mixtape gives readers an intimate look at history.