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5 films that celebrate black artistry

Daniel Essien
February 28, 2019 by Daniel Essien Staff

This awards season, we saw Spike Lee win his first Oscar® and Black Panther get its rightful recognition after smashing the box office last spring. And while the film industry has made some progress when it comes to the representation of people of color, there’s still a long way to go.

That’s why we’re happy to support black filmmakers, and filmmakers of all backgrounds, at Vimeo. After all, more diversity in who’s telling stories means more diversity in which stories get told—and who gets to see themselves in the finished work. In that spirit, and in honor of Black History Month, today we’re highlighting five films by black creators that run the gamut from comedy to drama to 360 immersive storytelling.

Scroll on to give them a watch, and be sure to check out our Black Artistry in Film channel for more breathtaking videos year-round.

1. “Define Beauty” by Rhea Dillon

In a gorgeously stylized collaboration with Dazed Beauty and Nowness, filmmaker and photographer Rhea Dillion deconstructs the process of maintaining black hair as she reflects on historical and societal pressures. 

2. “Black 14” by Darius Clark Monroe

In 1969, 14 black student athletes were dismissed from the University of Wyoming’s football team for taking a stance against racial injustice. Filmmaker Darius Clark Monroe and Executive Producer Spike Lee revisit the event using archival footage for a must-see film that feels eerily familiar to the conversations we’re having today.

3. “Chance Encounter” by Neal Owusu

Trapped in an elevator, two former lovers are forced to confront their past and finally find the closure they need. With impressive performances by Evangelia Kambites and Ronnie Rowe Jr., filmmaker Neal Owusu delivers an entertaining and mature chamber piece.

4. “Metta World Teeth” by Lamar+Nik

On December 12th, 2011, the NBA player known as Metta World Peace gave an interview to the Los Angeles Times about his recent name change and decided to talk about his teeth instead. Staff-Picked filmmakers LAMAR+NIK adapted this absurdly wonderful exchange into a dramatic performance that we named our Best of the Month comedy last November.

5. “Being Linked ‘A Fashion Show’” by Jeron Braxton & Sho Konishi

With two Staff Picks for Glucose and Octane under his belt, animator Jeron Braxton continues to surprise us with his innovative use of 360 video as a medium. Case in point, this virtual fashion show made in collaboration with designer Sho Konishi which rethinks the runway entirely.

For more inspiration, visit our Black Artistry in Film channel.

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