Holman is an award-winning writer, director & producer who put Jean-Michel Basquiat and Vincent Gallo on film, Run DMC on television and the New York City Breakers and The Tubes on the stage. Stories and the moving image hold a special place in Holman's heart and imagination as he continues to explore the possibilities of cinema, video and stage.
DIRECTOR AND SCREENWRITER of film "Money Dog" 2011
DIRECTOR, PRODUCER of film "Pesceador©" featuring Jean-Michel Basquiat 2010.
PRODUCER of documentary "Downtown Calling," 2009 received Special Jury Mention at Austin Film Festival, 2009 and Official Selections at: Noise Pop Festival, 2010; East End Film Festival, 2010 (London); and IFI's Stranger Than Fiction Film Festival, 2010 (Dublin).
SCREENWRITER & 2ND UNIT DIRECTOR on "Basquiat," 1996, feature film release for Miramax, wrote screenplay and directed short film featured in "Basquiat" titled "Vincent Gallo as Flying Christ."
ASSOCIATE PRODUCER on "Beat Street," 1984, feature film release for Orion Pictures.
Raindance Film Festival, London, England: "Money Dog," 2011
Shoot Me Film & Music Festival, The Hague, the Netherlands: "Money Dog," 2011
Brooklyn International Film Festival, New York: "Money Dog," 2011
CURE-ATED, New York: "Pesceador©," 2011
Musee d'Art moderne de la Ville de Paris: "Pesceador©," 2010- 2011
Fondation Beyeler Museum, Basel, Switzerland: "Pesceador©," 2010
PooL Art Fair New York: "Entertainment Warfare," 2007
I.C.A., London: "Stilwend" and "Catch A Beat," 1997
Serpentine Gallery, London: "Catch A Beat," 1983
San Francisco Art Institute: "Stilwend" and "Catch A Beat," 1982
Squat Theatre, NYC: "Stilwend" and "Untitled," 1981
WRITER/PRODUCER/DIRECTOR OF TELEVISION PROGRAMMING
Director for Nickelodeon's "Blue's Clues," a prime-time preschooler's entertainment/ educational series, 1996.
Director for Discovery Channel's "Future Tense," sponsored by IBM, 1991.
Writer/Director/Producer for Nickelodeon's "Eureeka's Kastle," an ACE Award winning Children's Program, 1989-91.
Creator/Host/Producer of "Graffiti Rock," first ever, nationally syndicated, Hip Hop television show, 1984.
PRODUCER/WRITER/DIRECTOR OF TV COMMERCIALS & MUSIC VIDEOS
"Ossie Davis Voter Protection Campaign, 2004"
"Just Say No" - PSA International, 1996
"Coliseum Books" - Spot. Agency: Time Warner City Cable, 1994
"Run DMC/My Adidas" - Spot. Agency: Young & Rubicam, 1988
"Deelite/Power Of Love" - music video, 1992
"Raheem/Dance Floor" - music video, 1990
"Run DMC/Christmas In Hollis" - music video, 1987
"Doug E. Fresh/All The Way To Heaven" - music video, 1987
TELEVISION & RADIO PERSONAL APPEARANCES
BBC Radio 4, Basquiat documentary interviewee, 2010
WFMU, guest DJ, spoken word performance, 2004
WBAI Radio, guest DJ, 2002
BBC1, guest DJ, spoken word performance, 1999
VH1, "30 Years of Hip Hop," documentary, 2004
MTV, "My Coolest Years," documentary, 2004
CNN, segment about my paintings, 1993
CBS Sunday Morning, ref.: Basquiat, 1990
PM Magazine, ref.: Hip Hop, 1984
Good Morning America, "Beat Street" national promo,1984
Entertainment Tonight, segment featuring "Graffiti Rock," 1984
Soul Train, with The New York City Breakers, 1984
Wrote and Directed Awards Presentation for Nile Rodger's We Are Family Foundation 10 Year Gala, October, 2011
Wrote and Directed Tommy Boy Music's 30th Anniversary Show at the Montreux Jazz Festival, July, 2011
Performing live at the ICA in London with art music band Gray July 16, 1997.
Created live stage show for Country Pop Star Lorrie Morgan 1995.
Performed with theatrical pop group The Windmills throughout New York, 1992-94.
Wrote, choreographed, staged, and directed the New York City Breakers performance at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden for a London Contemporary Dance Trust benefit along with the LCDT and the Alvin Ailey Dance Troupe; performed for Prince Andrew and other dignitaries 1986.
Staged and choreographed the New York City Breakers performance for the Amnesty International Benefit in Oslo, Norway; the King of Norway in attendance (also televised) 1985.
Wrote, choreographed, staged, and directed the New York City Breakers performance at the 41st Presidential Inaugural Gala in Washington, D.C. for President Reagan (also televised) 1984.
Wrote, choreographed, staged, and directed the New York City Breakers performance (adaptation of a scene from West Side Story) at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. for a CBS live television special, The Kennedy Center Honors honoring Katherine Dunham and Frank Sinatra; performed for President Reagan and other dignitaries 1983.
Co-founded and stage designed for art band Gray with artist Jean-Michel Basquiat in New York 1979-82.
Wrote, choreographed, and directed live trade shows for Vidal Sassoon.
Performed with, choreographed, and created staging, props, lighting designs for theatrical rock group, The Tubes. (world tour).
Produced and promoted Ballet Hispanico's West Coast performances.
Must See Films
Knowing what a "film buff" I am, many of my friends beg me constantly to make them a list of my all time favorite films. Armed with this "list," they can go into any video rental store, scan the TV guide or the revival house theatres and know what's worth seeing. Unable to bear my friends' begging any longer, I have gone ahead and compiled a film buff's list of "must see" great films, sure to entertain and inspire film connoisseurs and beginners alike. Not every great film is on this list, but I'm updating all the time. A new list will be coming out soon. Please don't hesitate to send me your suggestions! In the mean time, see as many of the films below as you can. Check them off as you go, you have the rest of your life to work on it. Have fun!!! See films!!! (films include release date, director and short description)
Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore(1979) Dir: Martin Scorsese - single parent drama
Alien(1979-British) Dir: Ridley Scott - sci-fi thriller, one of the best
All About Eve(1950) Dir: Joseph L. Mankiewicz - competitive theatre drama
Alphaville(1965-French) Dir: Jean-Luc Goodard - sci-fi/surreal, far out
Amadeus(1984-Chech) Dir: Milos Forman - life of Mozart, 3 hours fly by
Apocalypse Now(1979) Dir: Francis Coppola - Vietnam war epic, brilliant
Aquirre, the Wrath of God(1972-German) Dir: Werner Herzog - Amazon tale
Arthur(1981) Dir: Steve Gordon - comedy about spoiled millionare, love it
Badlands(1973) Dir: Terrence Malick - based on mass murder love story
Band of Outsiders(1964-French) Dir: Jean-Luc Godard - absurd heist/love triangle
Barbarella(1968-French) Dir: Roger Vadim - sexy sci-fi adventure, fun, funny too
Barry Lyndon(1975) Dir: Stanley Kubrick - 18th Century adventure, heartbreaker
Beauty and the Beast(1946-French) Dir: Jean Cocteau - surreal fairytale, innovative
Becket(1964) Dir: Peter Glenville - story about Thomas Becket and King Richard II
Bedazzled(1967-British) Dir: Stanley Donen - comedy about selling one's soul
Betty Blue(1986-French) Dir: Jean-Jacques Beineix - strange/tragic love story
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls(1970) Dir: Russ Meyer - surreal sex comedy, great
Bicycle Thief, The(1949-Italian) Dir: Vittorio De Sica - neo-realist classic
Billy Jack(1971) Dir: Tom Laughlin - karate-hippy love story
Billy Liar(1963-British) Dir: John Schlesinger - dream boy surreal adventure
Black Orpheus(1959-French) Dir: Marcel Camus - Brazillian love story, unique
Black Robe(1991-Canadian) Dir: Bruce Beresford - Indian adventure into Canada
Blue Velvet(1986) Dir: David Lynch - surreal detective thriller, ground breaker
Bonnie and Clyde(1967) Dir: Arthur Penn - 1960's take, on the outlaw lovers
Boy and His Dog, A(1975) Dir: L.Q. Jones - post-apocalypse Don Johnson, great!
Bread and Chocolate(1978-Italian) Dir: Franco Brusati - Italian laborer
Breathless(1959-French) Dir: Jean-luc Godard - stylized love story, it's Goodard!!!
Bridge on the River Kwai, The(1957-British) Dir: David Lean - WWII action/thriller
Broadway Danny Rose(1984) Dir: Woody Allen - Allen's best film, funny, touching
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid(1969) Dir: George Roy Hill - great western
Carmen(1983-Spanish) Dir: Carlos Saura - the awesome flamenco dance film
Carnal Knowledge(1971) Dir: Mike Nichols - sexual attitudes & obsession, nice
Carrie(1976) Dir: Brian DePalma - sci-fi occult thriller/teen girl comes of age
Cast Away(2000) Dir:Robert Zemeckis - adventure meets heartbreak.
Celebration, The(1998-Dannish) Dir: (T. Vinterberg) Dogma 95 incest masterpiece
Chameleon Street(1988) Dir: Wendell Harris - black man changes identities to live
Citizen Kane(1941) Dir: Orsen Welles - American masterpiece
Clockwork Orange, A(1974) Dir: Stanley Kubrick - future story of ultra-violence
Comfort of Strangers, The(1990) Dir: Paul Schrader - mystery in Venice
Conformist, The(1971-Italian) Dir: Bernardo Bertolucci - spy thriller, 30's
Dancer In The Dark(2000-Dannish) Dir:Von Trier - Dogma 95 musical & Bjork
Decameron, The(1970-Italian) Dir: Pier Paolo Pasolini - surreal fairytales
Deer Hunter, The(1979) Dir: Michael Cimino - Vietnam epic, moving, powerful
Defending Your Life(1991) Dir: Albert Brooks - spiritual comedy, all time fav
Deliverance(1972-British) Dir: John Boorman - scary hillbilly drama, fantastic
Dog Day Afternoon(1975) Dir: Sidney Lumet - real life crime drama, Pacino's great
Down By Law(1986) Dir: Jim Jarmusch - east village-styled drama/comedy
Down Hill Racer(1969) Dir: Michael Ritchie - best ski film ever made
Dr. Strangelove(1964) Dir: Stanley Kubrick - cold war comedy/thriller
Draughtsman's Contract, The(1983-British) Dir: Peter Greenaway - 18th Century
Easy Rider(1969) Dir: Dennis Hopper - 60's biker road movie, classic
Education of Sonny Carson, The(1974) Dir:Michael Campus - Black gangs/70's!!!
81/2(1963-Italian) Dir: Fredrico Fellini - dreamlike auto-biography, hey, it's Fellini
Elephant Man, The(1980) Dir: David Lynch - tragic story about man with deformity
Enter the Dragon(1973-Chinese) Dir: Robert Clouse - Bruce Lee classic
Eraserhead(1978) Dir: David Lynch - Bona fide cult film, experimental, Lynch's 1st
Every Man For Himself(1980-French) Jean-Luc Goodard, more absurdity
Exorcist, The(1973) Dir: William Friedkin - occult thriller, the scariest film ever!
Exterminating Angel, The(1962-Spanish) Dir: Luis Bunuel - absurd surreal comedy
Fail Safe(1964) Dir: Sidney Lumet - classic cold war drama, my favorite film!
Falcon and the Snow Man, The(1986-British) Dir: John Schlesinger - spy drama
Faster Pussycat Kill, Kill(1966) Dir: Russ Meyer absurd film noir females gone bad
Fearless Vampire Killers, The(1966) Dir: Roman Polanski - funny vampire movie
Fellini's Casanova(1976-Italian) Dir: Federico Fellini - stylized 18th Century lover
First Men in the Moon(1964-British) Dir: Nathan Juran - sci-fi thriller, bugged out
5 Corners(1987) Dir: Tony Bill - a very good Bronx tale
Five Easy Pieces(1970) Dir: Bob Rafelson - Jack Nicholson classic
4th Man, The(1984-Dutch) Dir: Paul Verhoeven - murder-mystery
French Connection, The(1971) Dir: William Friedkin - New York City police thriller
Glory(1989) Dir:Edward Zwick - Civil War from fighting Black Soldiers POV
Godfather, The(1972) Dir: Francis Coppola - Mafia classic, great
Godfather II, The(1974) Dir: Francis Coppola, great too!!
Gods Must Be Crazy, The(1981-Botswanese) Dir: Jamie Uys - Afro-mad-cap
Goodfellas(1990) Dir: Martin Scorsese - Mafia classic, great!!!
Graduate, The(1967) Dir: Mike Nichols - post-college coming-of-age, love it
Grandmother(date?) Dir: David Lynch - short subject, Lynch's student film, brilliant
Great Santini, The(1979) Dir:Lewis Carlino - Robert Duvall, Marinepilot and family
Groundhog Day(1993) Dir: Harold Ramis - funny, clever, absurdly twisted sci-fi
Harold and Maude(1972) Dir: Hal Ashby - zany young man/older woman comedy
Hear My Song(1991-British) Dir: Peter Chelsom - about Irish tenor Joe Locke
Head On (2006-German/Turkish) Dir: Fatih Akin - Turks in Germany deal with identity
Idiocracy (2007) Dir: Mike Judge - brilliant, prescient, funny
In the Realm of the Senses(1976-Japanese) Dir: Nagisa Oshima - erotic, sexual
Incident, The(1967) Dir:Larry Peerce - "Flying Dutchman" on a early 60's subway
Intolerance(1918) Dir: D.W. Griffith - silent classic set in Babylon
Japanese Story (2003?-Australian) Dir:Alison Tilley - sweet, moving
King of Comedy(1983) Dir: Martin Scorsese - absurd comedy with De Niro
Knife in the Water(1962-Polish) Dir: Roman Polanski - romantic intrigue
Lacemaker, The(1979-French) Dir: Clauce Goretta - "girl over her head"
La Chien Andalu(1929-Spanish) Dir: Luis Bunuel surreal masterpiece/original
Last Detail, The(1973) Dir: Hal Ashby - Jack Nicholson as navy shore patrol
Last Tango in Paris(1973-Italian) Dir: Bernardo Bertolucci - American in Paris
Last Wave, The(1977-Australian) Dir: Peter Weir - lawyer defends aborigine
Lawrence of Arabia(1962-British) Dir: David Lean - British Empire swashbuckler
Laws of Gravity(1992) Dir: Nick Gomez - Scorsese-like realism
Lilies of the Field(1963) Dir: Ralph Nelson - Sidnet Poitier's Academy Award winner
Little Big Man(1970) Dir: Arthur Penn - Native Americans as people
Lolita(1962) Dir: Stanley Kubrick - Older man tortured by lust for younger girl
Los Olvidados(1950-Spanish) Dir: Luis Bunuel - Street kids of Mexico
Loved One, The(1965)Dir:Tony Richardson - Mortuary business satire
Maitresse(1976-French) Dir: Barbet Schroeder - kinky Depardieu S&M comedy
Man and a Woman, A(1966-French) Dir: Claude Lelouch - innovative love story
Man On Wire(2008-British)Dir:James Marsh, inspirational doc. About Philippe Petit
Masculin-Feminine(1966-French) Dir: Jean-Luc Goodard - hey, it's Goodard....
M.A.S.H.(1970) Dir: Robert Altman - Korean War satire on Vietnam War, flawless
Me, You and Everyone We Know(2005)Dir: Miranda July – inspired, new director.
Mean Streets(1973)Dir: Martin Scorsese - small-time hoods in Little Italy, neo-real
Metropolis(1926-German) Dir: Fritz Lang - classic silent about scary future
Michael Clayton(2007) Dir:Tony Gilroy – a great new film for thinking people!
Midnight Cowboy(1969-British) Dir: John Schlesinger - tragic-comedy defined
Miracle in Milan(1951) Dir: Vittorio De Sica - post WWII neo-realist fairytale
Misfits, The(1961) Dir: John Huston haunting cowboy film, Marilyn Monroe's last
Mixed Blood(1985) Dir: Paul Morrissey - campy east village gang adventure
Monty Python & the Holy Grail(1974) Dir: Terry Gillliam - classic medieval comedy
Mosquito Coast, The(1986-Australia) Dir: Peter Weir - Apocalypse Now with kids
Murmur of the Heart(1971-French) Dir: Louis Malle - coming-of-age French-style
My Dinner with Andre(1981-French) Dir: Louis Malle - tabletalk
My Left Foot(1989-Irish) Dir: Jim Sheridan - heartwarming Irish tale of healing
My Life as a Dog(1987) Dir: Lasse Hallstrom - Swede coming of age
Never Cry Wolf(1983) Dir: Carrol Ballard - Writer braves Alaska wild
North Dallas 40(1979) Dir: Ted Kotcheff - best football film ever made!
Nosferatu(1922-German) Dir: F.W. Murnau - spooky, funny, vampire movie
Notorious(1946-British) Dir: Alfred Hitchcock - pre-WWII spy thriller
Nutty Professor(1963) Dir: Jerry Lewis - masterpiece for Lewis
O Lucky Man!(1973-British) Dir: Lindsay Anderson - surreal English comedy
Oh Woe Is Me(1994-French) Dir:Jean-Luc Godard - Absurd theatre via Godard!
Oliver Twist(1948-British) Dir: David Lean - classic Charles Dickens tale
Once Upon a Time in the West(1969-Italian) Dir:Sergio Leone - Italian western
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest(1975-Chech) Dir: Milos Forman - Nicholson
Ordinary People(1980) Dir: Robert Redford - family is pulled apart by tragedy
Papillon(1973) Dir: Franklin Schaffner - French prisoner escapes Devil's Island
Passion(1982-French) Dir: Jean-Luc Godard - a painterly anti-film
Paths of Glory(1957) Dir: Stanley Kubrick - superb WWI drama with Kirk Douglas
Patton(1970) Dir: Franklin Schaffner - Patton "captured" in classic WWII film
Peggy Sue Got Married(1986) Dir: Frances Coppola - spiritual awakening
Picnic at Hanging Rock(1975-Australian) Dir: Peter Weir - mysterious outback
Pixote(1981-Brazilian) Dir: Hector Babenco - street kids of Brazil, rough
Potemkin(1925-Russian) Dir: Sergei Eisenstien - historic, classic Russian drama
Princess Mononoke (1997-Japanese) Dir: Hayao Miyazaki - Genius animation
Producers, The(1968) Dir: Mel Brooks - Broadway producer cons himself
Putney Swope(1969) Dir: Robert Downey - wild, Radical Blacks take over ad firm
Raging Bull(1980) Dir: Martin Scorsese - classic boxing film, Scorsese at his best
Ran(1985-Japanese) Dir: Akira Kurosawa - Japanese King Lear, great battle scenes
Red Balloon, The(1956-French) Dir: Albert Lamorisse-classic children's story
Repulsion(1965-Polish) Dir: Roman Polanski - psycho horror thriller, scary, funny
River's Edge(1986) Dir: Tim Hunter - teens discover friend is killer, gripping
Rollerball(1975) Dir: Norman Jewison - sci-fi 21st Century corporate/sports thriller
Rosemary's Baby(1968-Polish) Dir: Roman Polanski - spooky occult thriller, scary
Rocky (1976) Dir: John Avildsen, Stallone's best work
Round Midnight(1986-French) Dir: Bertrand Tavernier - fabulous French Jazz story
Russians are Coming! The Russians are Coming, The(1966) Dir: Norman Jewison
Salo(1975-Italian) Dir: Pier Paolo Pasolini - WWII Italian Fascists go berserk
Searching for Bobby Fisher(1993) Dir: Steven Zaillian - poignant family/chess gem
Seven Beauties(1976-Italian) Dir: Lina Wertmuller - small-time casanova v.s. WWII
Seven Samurai, The(1954-Japanese) Dir: Akira Kurosawa - Japanese western
Seventh Seal, The(1957-Sweden) Dir:Ingmar Bergman -man plays chess with death
Scarface(1983) Dir: Brian De Palma - Al Pacino coke dealer classic, too good
Shadows(1959) Dir:John Cassavetes - beatnik, improv, mulatto, NYC filmnoir, nice
Shakes the Clown(1991) Dir: Bobcat Goldthwait - very weird clown movie
Short Eyes(1977) Dir: Robert Young - gritty prison drama, beware child molesters
Sideways(2004) Dir: Alexander Payne - warm, brlliantly funny, wine country trist
Signal 7(1986) Dir: Rob Nilsson - innovative film about S.F. cabbies, I love it!!!!
Silkwood(1983) Dir: Mike Nichols - nuclear power spy thriller, Meryl Streep's great
Simon of the Desert(1965-Spanish) Dir: Luis Bunuel - must see classic by Bunuel!!!
Slacker(1991) Dir: Richard Linklater - unique social satire
Solaris(1972-Russian) Dir: Andrei Tarkovsky - Russian sci-fi classic
Sound of Music, The(1963) Dir: Robert Wise - "a few of my favorite things"
Stalker(1979-Russian) Dir: Andrei Tarkovsky - haunting, dreamscape, Russian
Star 80(1983) Dir: Bob Fosse - A Playboy model's dream turn to nightmare
Story of O, The(1975-French) Dir: Just Jaeckin - super kinky/sexy, but well done
Streetcar Named Desire(1951) Dir: Elia Kazan -made Marlon Brando's career
Sunset Blvd.(1950) Dir: Billy Wilder - writer hustles silent film star, tragic end
Superfly(1972) Dir: Gordon Parks, Jr. - classic blaxsploitation, 1970's superstyle
Sweet Smell of Success(1957) - Dir: Alexander Mackendrick -NYC jazzy film noir
Swept Away(1975-Italian) Dir: Lina Wertmuller - shipwreck romance comedy
Swimmer, The(1965) Dir: Frank Perry - haunting suburban dreamscape
Swimming to Cambodia(1987) Dir: Jonathan Demme - Spalding Gray
Tampopo(1987-Japanese) Dir: Juzo Itami - Japanese satire about food/sex
Taxi Driver(1976) Dir: Martin Scorsese - powerful, little man v.s. big city story
Tenant, The(1976-Polish) Dir: Roman Polanski - frightening psycho-thriller, a gas
Tenth Victim, The(1965-Italian) Dir: Elio Petri - cult sci-fi man hunt, classic!!!
Teorema(1968-Italian) Dir: Pier Paolo Pasolini- stranger may be Christ/Satan
That Obscure Object of Desire(1977-Spanish) Dir: Luis Bunuel - surreal love story
Thing, The(1982) Dir: John Carpenter - sci-fi aliens in the artic, chilling
Third Man, The(1949-British) Dir: Carol Reed - Orson Wells in 40's Vienna classic
32 Short Films About Glenn Gould(1994-Canadian) Dir: Francois Girard - ILOVE IT
This is Spinal Tap(1984) Dir: Rob Reiner -one of the funniest films ever made
3 Days of the Condor(1975) Dir: Sydney Pollack - CIA thriller
This Is It(2009) Dir: Kenny Ortega – greatest look at Michael Jackson
THX-1138(1971) Dir: Georges Lucas - Lucas' first, and best film!
Timecode(2000) Dir:Mike Figgis - fourway split-screen, real time black comedy.
Tin Drum, The(1979-German) Dir: Volker Schlondorff - German kid freezes in time
To Live and Die in L.A.(1985) Dir: William Friedkin - counterfeit ring thriller
Touching the Void (2003 - British) Dir: Kevin Macdonald- edge of seat thriller
Twilight Samurai (2002 –Japanese) Dir:Yoji Yamada – samurai classic
Tron(1982) Dir: Steven Lisberger - sci-fi computer masterpiece, eye candy, fun
Two Men and a Wardrobe(1958-Polish) Dir: Roman Polanski - short subject
2001, A Space Odyssey(1969) Dir: Stanley Kubrick - classic sci-fi, the best
Turtles Can Fly(2004)(Iranian/Kurdish) Dir:? - Kurdish "Lord of the Flies," beyond!
Umberto D(1952-Italian) Dir: Vittorio De Sica - neo-realist old man and his dog
United 93(2006-English) Dir: Paul Greengrass – edge of seat 9/11 experience!
Week End (1967-Swiss) Dir: Jean-Luc Godard – political, surreal romp, great
West Side Story(1962) Dir: Robert Wise & Jerome Robbins - Romeo & Juliet in NYC
What's Up Tiger Lily?(1962) Dir: Woody Allen - Woody's first film, absurd, must see
Withnail and I(1987-British) Dir: Bruce Robinson - unemployed actors madcap
Woman in the Dunes(1964-Japanese) Dir: Hiroshi Teshigahara - survives sandpit
Response To Black Filmmakers
Great that you're expressing yourself and your dreams to the world. As a filmmaker of color myself, I have watched and listened to many debates on this same subject for many years and I am not sure the participants really have a firm grasp on what they're talking about. I'm saying this to you because I care about you and don't want you to fall into other people's traps. First, I have a question for you: "If I told you, looking back from a crystal ball, that you will never get a film in a film festival (I'm sure you will, but just play along for a moment here), what would you do?" Based on your "interview" one might surmise that you would stop making films. Is this true? What WOULD you do if you knew you would never enter a film in a film festival? If your answer is: "I would stop making films. I don't want to be only on TV. I don't want "Hollywood" to marginalize me and my work, etc. etc. (basically what you're saying in interview)..."
If that was your answer, then I would question whether you're a real filmmaker. A real filmmaker is an artist, not just a craftsman. An artist creates for his/her own purposes/needs/satisfactions, but it sounds to me like you, and the other "Black Filmmakers" (Lee, etc.) are only concerned with being accepted by the very industry you accuse of being against you, which, you must admit, seems a bit absurd, illogical. Can you hear yourself? You want Hollywood to accept and recognize you (as do other filmmakers of color), yet you claim they want nothing to do with you, marginalize you, etc., etc.
There must be another way!!!
It's important to stop and really understand the industry and the ART of filmmaking. I don't think many young, or older Black filmmakers really do (not many whites do either, but they aren't at issue here).
If you were a young, white musician, who wanted to play jazz, and you went to Juilliard to master your craft, and when a professor asked you what you thought of Coltrane, you said, "Who?" It would make the point, quite clearly, that you were a "fronter" and you had no knowledge or respect for the world you wanted to become a part of. I believe the same argument is happening with filmmakers of color. They want to enter into a world they have little real knowledge of - in terms of the masters who came before them. They want to break through with non-stereotypical roles/positions, then, when they get a chance, go right ahead and create nothing but those same stereotypical roles/parts & stories!
Show me a filmmaker of color who has not followed in the exact same footsteps as all other filmmakers of color. Who has had the courage to do it differently. Who has had the courage to model themselves after great filmmakers of the past instead of contemporary filmmakers who are making the $$$? ("If you don't know your past...") Sadly, as I look around, all I see are filmmakers of color who have the same cultural ethics as rappers:"Make Money!" But that's not the code to go by if you're a true artist. A true artist is out there to make great art, and if it makes money, all the better. I don't see that ethic in today's film world of color, it's all about the $$$! My point is, there's a huge element to this argument that's not being said, and art is a part of it. The other major question is: "Where is the Black Community's support of filmmakers of color, etc.? And if the larger, monolithic, Black community isn't interested in film as art, then what? Then where do you turn?"
Do you know the works of Jean-Luc Goddard, Roman Polanski or David Lynch? Do you care about them? Do you study them? Do you know Lynch's student films ("Grandmother" is a favorite of mine)... Do you know Hill? Penn? Lean? DiSica? Bunuel? Schlesinger? Mallick? These are the Coltranes, the Minguses, the Charlie Parkers of film!!!!! Do you haunt art house theaters, watching for the next great film, underground or not? Profitable or not? I wonder... I wonder how many filmmakers of color do.
I taught at Howard U. film school for 7 years (an all Black University of major props) and in all those years I may have met 1 or 2 students (out of thousands) who had any idea of film's history, of the great filmmakers, even from the 1970s! My students were right when they complained about the racism in the film industry, but they were completely uninterested and unaware of the great filmmakers who came before them. They were the jazz student who hadn't bothered to find out about Coltrane on his own and didn't care and only wanted a career that paid well. I feel so sorry for them. And I feel sorry for any filmmaker, regardless of color, who bemoans their lack of success and at the same time, has no idea about the art form they're trying to enter into. To me, this is a greater crime than the institutional racism in Hollywood. Frankly, the real players in Hollywood know about this discrepancy, but don't speak on it because they know the more filmmakers of color complain, but don't know the real art form, the longer it will take for us to make a real dent in that industry. They know all about it, trust me...
And what Black filmmaker - and I mean feature length, narrative - makes or has made real films of quality, films that would go beyond craft in to art? (only a very few, and that was years ago!!!) Films that didn't necessarily make money, but made an impact with OTHER FILMMAKERS! - across the board. How many Black filmmakers - TODAY - are at the same level as Jon Coltrane as a musician? Or Mingus? Or Miles Davis? I don't know any...
Maybe we have a ways to go? Maybe we haven't been in the film game - like so many European, American and world greats - long enough to make the impact that Goddard makes falling out of bed. Maybe we have to go through some sort of Renaissance or "reformation" of sorts, in order to reach that place. Maybe we have to create a movement, like "Dogma 95" (are you familiar with Dogma 95? None of my students were, so to me, they weren't really students of film, film students maybe, but not students of film) in order to find our voice, instead of just complaining. Making "Barbershop" type films ain't gonna do it... Maybe the Black community isn't capable of making such a leap, YET, at least not in film, not in any great numbers anyway. Or is it? Where is the evidence? I don't see it. Are we really doing in film what we've done and continue to do in music?
You see, it's never a one sided argument, is it? There's always more to it. There's always a part we'd like to maybe ignore, or not talk about so much, or don't really know. I wish I could have been given a chance to voice my opinions on this important matter, and I'm sure I will soon enough... Don't limit yourself... Open you mind to what is brilliant, regardless of who made it, if you were a young, white, jazz student, you'd have to, wouldn't you?....
Still from short film,”Pesceador©” (featuring Jean-Michel Basquiat) ©2010 Michael Holman
Still from short film,”Stilwend” ©1981 Michael Holman
Still from short film,”Money Dog” ©2010 Michael Holman
Still from short film, ”Gaslight Lestat” (featuring Vincent Gallo & Suzanne Mallouk) ©1986 Michael Holman