FYI: The Most Successful Black Film Companies In Hollywood
By: Evette Champion
It’s difficult making it in Hollywood, it is even more difficult if you are an African American. With so many film companies in the industry, there is a grave misrepresentation of black culture because the predominately white owned companies simply don’t get it. Fortunately, there are film companies that are owned by African Americans and they are making a big name for themselves.
Here are some notable companies that you should be on the lookout for.
- 1. CodeBlack Entertainment Founded in 2005, CodeBlack Entertainment is run by Jeff Clanagan and is the first independent, vertically integrated film studio owned by an African American. The company is involved with feature film production, film distribution, worldwide DVD and digital asset distribution, urban marketing consulting, as well as production of television programs.
The company was founded in order to promote positive representation for the Black community in the film industry. They use urban-themed programming which is distributed through various means such as theatrical, digital, broadcast, and the internet.
2. Open Rivers Pictures Open Rivers Pictures made history as the first African American, female owned studio for film and television, as well as post-production facility in Georgia in November 2012. The company focuses on the creation, development, and production of original content like documentaries, comedy series, programming for children, as well as sitcoms.
According to the CEO and founder of the company, Tammy Williams, “With aggressive growth across the digital platform, and the launch of several cable channels targeted to the African-American community, it makes great business sense to grow Open Rivers Pictures in the direction of developing more original content within our own facility, to service these individual distribution outlets.”
- 3. Lincoln Motion Picture Company As the very first all-black movie production company in the country, Lincoln Motion Picture Company was founded in 1916 by the Johnson brothers, Noble and George. Everything the brothers put out was directed with African American viewers in mind. They would show their movies in churches and small assembly halls. Although they didn’t last very long, the company was able to produce and distribute five films, they paved the way for future African American film makers that would hit the scene in the 1940s.
4. Harpo Productions Although Oprah is closing her film production studio, Harpo, by the end of the year, the company has been around since 1986. The multimedia production company is the sole subsidiary of the media and entertainment company, Harpo. The company was behind big named feature films such as Beloved, Precious, and Selma.
5. Tyler Perry Studios The man behind the Madea movies, Tyler Perry, opened his production studio in 2006. Though he retains all the rights to his movies, he uses Lions Gate to distribute them. His first film, Diary of a Mad Black Woman introduced the world to Madea in and quickly became a success—even if Rotten Tomatoes gave it at 16% approval rating. Since then, the film company has made other movies such as Why Did I get Married, Daddy’s Little Girls, and so much more.
6. Micheaux Book and Film Company Although the film company was very short-lived, Oscar Micheaux was credited for being the first major African American film maker, and the most successful filmmaker during the first half of the 20th century. He made silent films as well as “talkies” when the industry evolved to incorporate actors with speaking lines.