The Czar of Black Hollywood

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The Czar of Black Hollywood
Poster for the 2014 documentary film Oscar Micheaux The Czar of Black Hollywood.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Bayer Mack
Produced by Bayer Mack
Frances Presley-Rice
Hal Croasmun
Written by Bayer Mack
Starring Oscar Micheaux
Narrated by William Bell
Music by Nicholas Jones
Edited by Bayer Mack
Edith Bush
Distributed by Block Starz Music Television
Release date
  • September 26, 2014 (2014-09-26) (ASALH Film Festival)
  • October 17, 2014 (2014-10-17)
Running time
67 minutes
Country United States
Language English

The Czar of Black Hollywood is a 2014 documentary film by Bayer Mack that chronicles the early life and career of African-American filmmaker Oscar Micheaux (1884-1951).[1] Mack conceived of and produced the film about Micheaux using Library of Congress archived footage, photos, illustrations and vintage music.[2] The documentary, which is the first devoted exclusively to Oscar Micheaux's life, is narrated by William Bell, features an original score by Nicholas Jones and art direction by Julie Anderson.[3][4]

Synopsis[edit]

Oscar Micheaux was America's preeminent black filmmaker for three decades, having directed or produced 22 silent movies and 15 talking pictures. The Czar of Black Hollywood chronicles the real life experiences that inspired Micheaux's films, including the production of the first feature-length film, The Homesteader (1919), and sound motion picture, The Exile (1931), by an African-American.[5]

Development[edit]

In an April 2014 interview with The Washington Times, Block Starz Music founder Bayer L. Mack said that he read the 2007 biography Oscar Micheaux: The Great and Only by Patrick McGilligan and was inspired to produce Oscar Micheaux: The Czar of Black Hollywood because Micheaux's life mirrored his own.[6][7] In an interview with The News and Advance Mack said he “scoured the archives of all the great major black weeklies,” for information and imagery to recreate Micheaux’s world, saying the documentary film was a "restoration project".[8]

Release[edit]

On February 13, 2014, Oscar Micheaux: The Czar of Black Hollywood was announced by American radio host Tom Joyner on his nationally syndicated program, The Tom Joyner Morning Show, as part of its "Little Known Black History Fact" on Micheaux.[9] In a June 2014 interview with The Huffington Post, Mack said he was shocked there "was virtually nothing out there about Micheaux's life" in spite of his historical significance.[10] A screening of Oscar Micheaux: The Czar of Black Hollywood was held at the Boca Black Film Festival on July 17 in Boca Raton, Florida.[11] In a lead up to the event, the film's executive producer, Frances Presley Rice, told Florida's Sun Sentinel that Micheaux was the first "indie movie producer."[12] Oscar Micheaux: The Czar of Black Hollywood had a special screening on September 26, 2014 at the 99th Annual Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) Convention in Memphis, TN and its first public screening on October 17, 2014 at the Academy of Fine Arts in Lynchburg, Virginia.[13][14][15]

Reception[edit]

The documentary has been critically acclaimed and remains popular with fans of African-American cinema and film history. It is often screened along with one of Oscar Micheaux's films and is also regularly shown on public television.[16][17][18][19][20]

Home Media[edit]

The Czar of Black Hollywood was released on DVD in the U.S. and Canada on December 24, 2014 and is available for streaming.[21]

Cast[edit]

  • Oscar Micheaux: Himself (archive footage)
  • William Bell: Narrator
  • Nicholas Jones: Oscar Micheaux (voice)
  • M. Ayodele Heath: Claude McKay (voice)

Accolades[edit]

Awards and Nominations received by The Czar of Black Hollywood
Award Category Nominee Result
15th Black Reel Awards Best Independent Documentary Bayer L. Mack Nominated

References[edit]

  1. ^ https://tv.yahoo.com/news/dear-white-people-selma-lead-190900033.html
  2. ^ http://www.broadwayworld.com/bwwmovies/article/New-Documentary-Underway-on-Americas-First-Black-Filmmaker-Oscar-Micheaux-20140212
  3. ^ "Watch 'Oscar Micheaux: The Czar of Black Hollywood' - Rar | Shadow and Act". Blogs.indiewire.com. Retrieved 2014-08-25. 
  4. ^ "Black Royalty! Meet 'The Czar of Black Hollywood' [Watch]". EURweb. Retrieved 2014-08-25. 
  5. ^ "Oscar Micheaux: The Czar of Black Hollywood [Part 1] « Freedoms Journal". Freedomsjournal.net. 2014-02-15. Retrieved 2014-08-25. 
  6. ^ Wetzstein, Cheryl (2014-04-30). "Black side of silver screen: Filmmaker Oscar Micheaux paved his own path to Hollywood". Washington Times. Retrieved 2014-08-25. 
  7. ^ Wetzstein, Cheryl (2014-04-30). "Love of history spurred rap mogul Bayer L. Mack to make Micheaux documentary". Washington Times. Retrieved 2014-08-25. 
  8. ^ http://www.newsadvance.com/the_burg/movies/it-s-a-treasure-trove-of-black-social-history/article_ebfc5b96-546d-11e4-b626-001a4bcf6878.html
  9. ^ Taylor, Erica L. (2014-02-13). "Little Known Black History Fact: Oscar Micheaux". Black America Web. Retrieved 2014-08-25. 
  10. ^ http://www.huffingtonpost.com/kate-kelly/new-documentary-about-bla_b_5448566.html
  11. ^ "Boca Gets a New Film Festival | Boca Raton Magazine". Bocamag.com. 2014-07-15. Retrieved 2014-08-25. 
  12. ^ Anne Geggis (2014-07-10). "Boca Black Film Festival aims to feature Florida's homegrown talent". Sun Sentinel. Articles.sun-sentinel.com. Retrieved 2014-08-25. 
  13. ^ "Oscar Micheaux: Homesteader, Bestselling Author, Filmmaker". America Comes Alive. 1939-08-26. Retrieved 2014-08-25. 
  14. ^ http://www.academyfinearts.com/stage/OscarMicheaux.asp
  15. ^ http://www.commercialappeal.com/go-memphis/movies/beifuss-on-movies/groundbreaking-black-filmmaker-oscar-micheaux-subject-of-documentary-premiere_65943415
  16. ^ http://www.nashvillescene.com/news/article/13060956/from-straight-outta-compton-to-empire-and-shondaland-hollywood-is-betting-again-on-black-and-the-international-black-film-festival-of-nashville-is-ready
  17. ^ http://www.workersunitefilmfestival.org/festival-schedule-2016/2016/5/7/program-4-oscar-micheaux-retrospective-free-event
  18. ^ http://cleveland.eventful.com/events/czar-black-hollywood-film-screening-/E0-001-090104961-9
  19. ^ http://www.kansas.com/entertainment/movies-news-reviews/movie-maniac/article61097102.html
  20. ^ https://www.cctvcambridge.org/node/480241
  21. ^ https://www.amazon.com/Oscar-Micheaux-Czar-Black-Hollywood/dp/B00OHRRAIW

External links[edit]