Why 2016 Was The ‘Best Year Ever’ For Black Films

We can all pretty much agree that 2016 was a terrible year, but at least it’s been a good year for black cinema.

That’s because the African American Film Critics Association has called 2016 the “best year ever” for black films. 

In a statement released to various outlets on Monday, the organization commended the film and television industry for producing diverse content with “bold” narratives. 

“The amount of quality feature films, documentaries and TV shows released in 2016 about the black experience easily make it the best year ever,” said AAFCA co-founder Shawn Edwards. “It has truly been an unapologetically black year in the industry as filmmakers brought to life some of the culture’s most fascinating stories and subjects with bold storytelling perspective.”

After both Hollywood studios and the Academy received a flurry of criticism for the lack of inclusion at the Oscars (remember #OscarsSoWhite?), the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences added to its ranks in June by sending out a record 683 invitations to new members — 46 percent to women and 41 percent to people of color.

Indeed, a slew of diverse films, TV shows and documentaries “Moonlight,” “Loving,” “Birth of a Nation,” HBO’s “Insecure,” and Ava Duvernay’s “13th” have been among some of the most talked about projects in black cinema and television this year. 

“The studios and major film distributors really gave it to us this year,” AAFCA co-founder and president Gil Robertson said in a statement. “By any measurement, it’s been an exceptional year for Blacks in film. From comedies to high-quality dramas and documentaries, 2016 will forever represent a bonanza year for Black cinema and all cinema really.”

The year is closing out with a bang, too. The film adaptation of both the August Wilson award-winning play “Fences” and “Hidden Figures,” about the untold story of three female NASA pioneers, will be released before the new year. Robertson added his optimism for Hollywood to continue the trend of representing additional communities of color.

“Unfortunately, the question that we must ask with every watershed year is ‘How long will it last?’” he said. “Were the past 12 months an anomaly, or does it signal the beginning of Hollywood being more committed to supporting a diverse lineup of black films? And what about films about the Asian, Hispanic, Native American and LGBT communities?”

“’Moonlight’ has been a bright spot in representing both the black and LGBT communities, but we need more. So we at AAFCA are extremely hopeful that these 2016 black films will have a domino effect in providing platform opportunities for films that represent other communities as well,” Robertson said.

Here’s to progress!

Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/african-american-film-critics-association-2016-best-year-ever-for-black-films_us_583f2370e4b0c68e047e507a

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