The state of black cinema is not great. And Justin Simien is going to do something about it. From the Indiegogo page for Dear White People:
Remember when Black movies didn't neccesarily star a dude in a fat suit and a wig? Or have major plot twists timed to Gospel numbers for no apparent reason? No? Damn...
Well believe it or not there was a time when "Black Art-House" was a thing. When movies like Do The Right Thing, Hollywood Shuffle, and Boyz In Da Hood were breaking box office records as well as making us laugh, cry, and think in ways movies hadn't before.
The humble producers of DEAR WHITE PEOPLE, a satire about being a black face in a white place, long to bring those days back. But we can't do it without you!
Here's the deal...we're looking to raise seed money that will go a tremendously long way in securing the capital we'll need to produce our million dollar indie feature. With our trailer, script and your help, we believe we can bring this exciting piece of cinema to life! Join us, won't you?
Sounds great to me. Black cinema has been in a bad place for a number of years, and Dear White People looks very much like a throwback to the provocative, interesting and forward-thinking movies of the 80s. I like that the trailer is funny and morally complex, and the basic synopsis excites me as well:
DEAR WHITE PEOPLE follows the stories of four black students at an Ivy League college where a riot breaks out over a popular "African American" themed party thrown by white students. With tongue planted firmly in cheek, the film will explore racial identity in "post-racial" America while weaving a universal story of forging one's unique path in the world.
Disclosure: I knew Justin when he was a publicist at Paramount, but he didn't reach out to me with this IndieGogo project at all. I saw it burning up at various indie-oriented sites and knew it was something I wanted to get behind.
Click here if you're interested in supporting Dear White People.