NeoBlack Cinema is finally here! At the beginning the idea to create a magazine for filmmakers of color was just a seed, an idea floating around in the universe that needed to be planted. And so goes the story of a woman. While we don’t create life on our own, once a seed is planted, we bring forth life. NeoBlack Cinema has been watered, nurtured and protected, and it has finally sprouted from the earth. In this moment, I feel like a proud mama.
I have always been a movie buff, and while I love watching films in general, I love to see films that reflect my likeness and the people around me even more. Since the inception of the magazine, I’ve received positive feedback from filmmakers who are creating and from the general public, who want desperately to see new creations. I believe that is simply a reflection of the community we serve. So many people have come together to make NeoBlack Cinema happen, and I am extremely grateful to the staff and contributors who have helped in this process. Every kind word, act or contribution no matter how big or small, was humbly appreciated.
It couldn’t be more fitting that our premiere issue celebrates Women’s History Month. Women have a voice and we want to be heard, but we are often not the ones telling our stories and that’s apparent on television and in film.
Name five films that made it to the big screen within the last five years where the leading lady was Black. Now name five where the director was a Black woman. Now name five where the leading lady and the director were Black women. Now ask yourself the same questions but take the word “Black” out.
That is why we have a problem controlling our own images!
Traveling to various film festivals stopped me from saying there are not enough good Black films. It also landed me in a series of debates with people who made the same argument. And the question that continues to be proposed is, “If there are so many great Black films, where are they?”
They are at the festivals. They are around your hometown. Many are in independent film theaters. They are all around us, but the majority of them don’t get adequate promotion or distribution. The real question is; how can they be effective, if you don’t know they’re there? And when we find out they are there; how do we get our communities to support them? That is where NeoBlack Cinema comes in.
NeoBlack Cinema covers features, shorts, documentaries and other creative projects of all genres, from romance, drama and comedy to sci-fis, thrillers and biopics. Our mission is to give people, films and production companies a platform to educate, entertain, exchange, enlighten, expose and evolve.
While this issue focuses on the images of Black women, NeoBlack Cinema focuses on the images of Black people. One of the many lessons I took away from my college years at Florida A&M University (HBCU) is that Black people are a multi-faceted, diverse group of people. We can’t be placed in a box. Yes, the world is bigger than we are, but we are a world within ourselves. We should have the freedom to create films about us and about others if that’s what we choose. We come from various cultural, religious, economic, and geographic backgrounds, and we have more than enough stories to tell. When it is assumed that we only have one story, and only a hand-picked few are given the financial backing to tell it to the masses, there is a larger implication of what limits are placed on us in society.
We need to see ourselves on screen for better, or for worse, but there must be a balance. While I would love to say NeoBlack Cinema hopes to restore that balance, something can’t be restored if it never existed. There are already other organizations, businesses, production companies and festivals that uplift people of color, and we hope to join the ranks and help contribute to a cause bigger than us all.
Herstory and Ourstory is a standing testament of a people that can’t be stopped. So many of us never knew our own strength until we were pushed to the point where we stood alone, and had to dig deep down inside to conjure up the spirit to survive. When we conjure up that spirit, it moves us into action and summons the universe to come together and move on our behalf.
If you can’t find a way, you make one, and NeoBlack Cinema was created help assist others in making their own way. This is the beginning of something phenomenal, so we invite you to join us in the experience.
Crystyn C. Wright
CEO, Editor & Co-founder