Among the most fascinating chapters of film history is that of the so-called ‘race films’ that flourished from the 1920s until the 1940s. Unlike the ‘black cast’ films produced within the Hollywood studio system, these films not only starred African-Americans, but were funded, written, produced, edited, distributed, and often exhibited, by people of colour.
Pioneers of African-American Cinema, released on both Blu-ray and DVD on 21 November 2016 as part of BFI BLACK STAR, collects together a selection of these films, now digitally restored and set to new music, accompanied by numerous special features.
Entrepreneurial filmmakers built an industry apart from the Hollywood establishment, cultivating visual and narrative styles that were uniquely their own. Previous circulated in poor-quality 16mm prints, these digitally restored versions allow modern audiences to witness the legacies of Oscar Micheaux, Spencer Williams, Zara Neale Hurston and James and Eloyce Gist with fresh eye.
Pioneers of African-American Cinema will be reelased in the UK as a 5-disc Blu-ray set at the RRP of £59.99 and a 5-disc DVD set at the RRP of £49.99.
Short films, fragments and documentaries
Interviews with historians and archivists
Musical scores by DJ Spooky, Max Roach, Samuel Waymon, Donald Sosin and more
Illustrated 80-page book with essays and photos, photographs and film credits