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Interview Media Report

The Era Of Consumer A.R.T

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Interview

The Walking Dead & Better Call Saul Director Bronwen Hughes Talks Drama, Real & Imagined

“For the two months leading up to this moment, I was writing. I was already leading an isolation style life,” says writer/director Bronwen Hughes. Her usually intense TV directing schedule had this lull so she could complete a screenplay for a feature (a spy thriller she’s sending off to a major studio, she’d say no more), and then the world changed.

“Well, every physical shoot I’ve had or have, booked or about to book, was wiped off the map,” she said about the impact of COVID-19 and the subsequent production shutdown the pandemic has caused. “They said we were postponed in the early days, but we kinda knew even then. The kind of work we do, generally, there is no such thing as paid sick days for a shoot that hasn’t begun yet. That’s what freelance work is about.”

Hughes has done a lot of freelance work in the past year before the novel coronavirus wreaked havoc on the entertainment industry and every other industry in the world. Her current job concerns are more broadly for everyone who works in the entertainment industry and who can’t afford a massive stoppage of work without help. “What I think about are all the working people, which includes freelance work, whose livelihoods are wiped out right now. They need help.”

Hughes started working in film, but her TV career has not only proven steady, but it’s also been creatively fulfilling in ways she probably couldn’t have dreamed when she started out. It helped that she joined Vince Gilligan and directed the sixth episode of the first season of a little show called Breaking Bad. Since then, she’s directed some excellent drama series, including The Good Doctor, Berlin Station, and most recently, Gilligan’s Breaking Bad follow-up Better Call Saul and the juggernaut zombie series The Walking Dead (which has just delayed its season finale due to the novel coronavirus.)

“The great joy of television is that every month if I’m fully employed, I’ll get to try something completely different from the last round. That’s so invigorating, it’s such a fantastic playground to draw on my entire vocabulary,” Hughes says. “My job is to determine what the story needs, what kind of visceral emotion is the goal, and figure out what film language I need to communicate that. Framing choices, camera operating style, the pace of the performance, the lighting, what not to show you, what I have to show you, all of these choices in film language are what my daily decision making is based on.”

Better Call Saul and The Walking Dead are, obviously, drastically different shows. The former focuses on the lovable, morally flexible lawyer Jimmy McGill (Bob Odenkirk) before he became the fully crooked Saul Goodman in Breaking Bad. The latter is nominally about zombies—but really, more to the point, about what people become after their world is rendered unrecognizable by a plague.

“Starting with Better Call Saul, that is a very specific tone,” Hughes says. “In fact, that’s the most specific aspect to the Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould (a director on Saul and Breaking Bad) universe. I did the first season of Breaking Bad, and we worked to find this buoyant, wild ride between the great fun and the boldness, to locate the true stakes and the true danger that lies on the other side of the coin. That’s what we’re doing here. To find that tone is a tightrope. If you go too comedic, then it ends up becoming a broad comedy, and nobody worries about the character. If you go too dark, then the audience is in a state of dread and can’t really enjoy the wild ride. So you’re in this tightrope walk to find the light and the dark.”

BTS, Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill, Director Bronwen Hughes- Better Call Saul _ Season 5, Episode 1 – Photo Credit: Warrick Page/AMC/Sony Pictures Television

For The Walking Dead, a state of dread is the standard operating procedure for the poor souls trying to hack their way through the zombie apocalypse. After directing Better Call Saul, Hughes traded Jimmy McGill’s offbeat world for the swamps of Georgia. “I’m traipsing through the snakes, scorpions and biting flies to shoot The Walking Dead, and this particular episode came with a very specific goal from showrunner Angela Kang; to find this sense of dread in the tension of what will happen when Beta (played by Ryan Hurst) penetrates the walls of Alexandria.”

Hughes created a poster-worthy moment, per Kang’s brief, when a hand bursts out of a grave. She built the episode around this startling, iconic zombie image. “That was the briefing that informed the rest of my entire job, to find these strong images and making sure they resonated. Things like Beta sitting in a meditative guru pose surrounded by the newly killed townspeople as he waits for them to reanimate into walkers,” Hughes says. “Or finding the dead bodies on the road, and we pan above them and find the pools of blood in the dirt. It’s a graphic image and you get the entire story in one frame. We weren’t shying away from these classic horror images.”

Back to the real world, I asked Hughes what she thinks about the images we’re all seeing on our TV and computer screens now, images that often seem like they’re coming from a TV series or a movie; an empty Times Square; Los Angeles without any traffic; the images of exhausted nurses and doctors pleading for supplies.

“I think visually, you’re seeing these real-life images that visual effects teams are usually in charge of producing, like an empty New York City,” she says. “The other parallel, the one I hope we pay attention to, is that most of the writing of these post-apocalyptic stories deal with how people come together to thrive and survive, or, decide that dividing and conquering is the way to go. Those are the cautionary tales in the arts that we should be thinking hard about right now. How do you get through this? How you find common ground?”

This article was originally published in The Credits.

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Interview

Copyright Industries and Creators in the Age of COVID-19: The Impact and the Response

As I sit here looking out my window at fresh daffodils and cherry blossoms, it is hard to imagine that a potentially deadly virus is stalking the land. Of course I am lucky to be where I am, on Vancouver Island where spring has arrived; in other parts of Canada and the world spring flowers are still a few weeks away, but they will come, COVID-19 or not. And that is important to remember; nature’s cycle goes on and we want to ensure that we take all necessary measures now so that we enjoy many more springs to come.

Where I live, and no doubt where you live, unprecedented measures are being taken to ensure that people “social distance” or “self-isolate”, depending on their circumstances. If people are healthy they are encouraged to stay home as much as possible and when they go out, for essential purposes or even for a bit of fresh air, to maintain a two metre (six foot) distance from others, and practice careful hygiene. If they aren’t feeling well, or have come back from a trip abroad, they are to self-isolate, staying at home and not even going out for essentials. This of course has impacted the lifestyle and circumstances of millions of people in North America and around the globe, including those in the copyright world. What are those impacts and how are creators and the copyright industries responding?

The suspension of virtually all non-essential economic activity has hit the creative industry and artists really hard. No more concerts, theatrical performances cancelled, art galleries and movie theatres closed, even small book readings and book clubs suspended. The London Book Fair and the Bologna Children’s Book Fair have been cancelled. The impact on many musicians, those who depend on live concerts for income or to promote their work, has been immediate. Film and TV production has been suspended, with a negative knock-on effect on jobs all through the production stream. In Vancouver, Canada’s so-called “Hollywood North”, Warner Bros. began suspending production more than a week ago. By the middle of last week, all 42 film projects active in the city were shut down, almost overnight, leaving workers in the industry scrambling. The Guardian estimates that 170,000 workers in the industry have lost their jobs in the US and UK. And it’s not just film production that has been hit. No more weddings; no more wedding photos. And so on. Governments are coming up with financial assistance packages to help those temporarily laid off, but each individual’s circumstance is different and each government’s response package is structured differently. Workers in the creative industries in many instances live job to job so employment insurance benefits are not always available.

There have been other impacts as well, perhaps not so negative. For obvious reasons, consumption of content via remote platforms has soared. Netflix and other streaming services have seen a huge surge in demand, so much so that Netflix has had to reduce its bandwidth in Europe to ease congestion on networks. At the same time however, popular pirate sites like Popcorn Time in the UK have enjoyed a resurgence in popularity. Hopefully Britain’s effective site-blocking mechanisms will deal with that. People have turned not just to video and music streaming services for relief but also back to books. Although libraries in many areas are closed and probably also book shops, the availability online of e-books from libraries and online book outlets is a blessing for parents with kids at home, or to others who have to find ways to amuse themselves, or who want to improve their minds. Presumably all those authors, composers and artists now self-isolating or just staying home will have more time on their hands to create, and we may see an explosion of new content once this is all over, although for some lack of freedom to move around may crimp inspiration.

That’s the impact. What about the response? The most immediate industry response was from Netflix, which announced the establishment of a $100 million fund to support workers in the film and video industry suddenly without work. Much of that funding will go to those working on now-suspended Netflix projects, in addition to two weeks suspension pay being paid by the company. Some of the funding will go to non-profits providing emergency relief to industry workers in countries where Netflix is in production, as well as to union-based organizations in the US and Canada. In terms of government response, the Canadian government announced that it would continue funding to the cultural sector even if events and shows are cancelled. While welcome, many major theatrical and musical events have already been cancelled and while government subsidies provide some help, for major festivals that funding represents only 10-20 percent of revenues.

While these measures might provide some relief to industry workers, what about the rest of us confined at home, with or without kids? The Copyright Alliance, an industry group based in Washington, DC that represents the interests of copyright stakeholders in the US across the broad spectrum of areas of creativity protected by copyright, has launched a compilation of resources from the copyright community to help ease the isolation brought about by coronavirus control measures. Among these are tools such as safe and simple learning activities and lesson plans for ages 3-12 from Microsoft’s Family Learning Center;  free online classes and access to its magazines from Scholastic; temporary free online access to its classes from the Professional Photographers of America, and so on. Check it all out here.

All of us have a part to play in contributing to the control and eventual defeat of this threatening virus. We all want to see “normal” life resume as quickly as possible and to be able to enjoy once again the output of our artists, musicians, authors and other creators in a social, group setting. And they want to be able to earn a living from what they love doing, and do best. So to make that happen, we have to follow the advice of the health professionals and do what is necessary now to reduce the spread of COVID-19. If that means finding new ways to enjoy content while staying at home, that is not necessarily a bad thing. If it means having more time to explore some of the many content offerings available online, that is also making a virtue of a necessity.

Creators are generally a resilient lot, used to adapting to changing circumstances and hopefully they will find ways to last out this artistic shutdown. When this is over, and it will be, let’s all make a special effort to get out and enjoy our favourite cultural “fix”, whether it’s a live concert, a blockbuster film at the local cinema, a new book, a gallery opening for photos or art, or any of the other creations of human endeavour that make life worth living. Stay safe.

This article was originally published in Hugh Stephens Blog.

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Bollywood Industry

Screen Sector Watch

As COVID-19 continues to impact on the screen entertainment business in India, Creative First aims to bring you regular updates on the status of India’s exhibition, distribution, production and streaming sectors.

Cinema chains have recently announced that halls in Delhi, Kerala, Karnataka, Odisha, Rajasthan, Telangana, parts of Maharashtra and Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir will be closed until the end of March.

Angrezi Medium, starring Irrfan Khan, released only a few days ago on March 13, suffered at the box office as a number of cinemas closed their doors – March 11 in Kerala, March 12 in Jammu & Kashmir, followed in quick succession by other states.

Trade analyst Komal Nahta made calls on the effect of theatre closures on current release titles: “It’s a loss of Rs 25-30 crore for the makers of Baaghi 3. Theatres shutting down have also impacted the weekend business of Angrezi Medium,” adding that the Hindi film industry stands to lose Rs 800 crore owing to delays in releases and shooting schedules.”

PRODUCTION:

A number of film productions, television shows, web series and advertisements are stopping production until further notice, reflecting a global trend that has seen some of the world’s best known series and film franchises call an immediate wrap. A joint decision to stop productions was made on Sunday, March 15, during an emergency meeting hosted by five leading industry associations – the Federation of Western Indian Cine Employees (FWICE), the Indian Motion Pictures Producers’ Association (IMPPA), the Indian Film & Television Directors’ Association (IFTDA), the Indian Film and Television Producers Council (IFTPC) and the Western India Film Producers’ Association (WIFPA). Producers were given three days (to March 19) to strike shoots across India and abroad. A further meeting scheduled for March 30 will determine whether conditions are safe for productions to restart, or hold until a later date.

In the interest of the country, society and film workers, all the associations from the Indian film industry have taken the decision to shut shootings of films, TV serials and web shows across India from March 19 to 31”, said JD Majethia, vice president, IFTPC. IFTDA President Ashoke Pandit said, “All the associations and industries across India – North, South or any other regional – are with us in this decision.

A number of current film productions are expected to take a financial hit from the halt. Viacom18 Motion Pictures’ Forest Gump remake Laal Singh Chaddha, starring Aamir Khan, and Zee Studio’s sports drama Jersey, starring Shahid Kapoor, will be the biggest productions affected by the decision.

Upcoming films Sooryavanshi and Marakkar: Lion of Arabian Sea, postponed their release dates and will be rescheduled in the comping weeks.

Laal Singh Chadha, Sooryavanshi and Marakkar : Lion Of The Arabian Sea have postponed their releases. Posters courtesy IMDB.

 

BROADCAST TV:

The decision to halt production will undoubtedly have the biggest impact on TV broadcasters, who rely on series to keep their audiences engaged. “We may have to run repeats of old shows for some time. This is an unprecedented situation and nobody was ready for this,” a programming head of a Hindi general entertainment channel said.

SPORT:

Perhaps the biggest thing on TV – the annual Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament – has been postponed to April 15 – though commentators are now suggesting the competition could be delayed until July or September or even later in the calendar.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has decided to suspend IPL 2020 till 15th April 2020, as a precautionary measure against the ongoing Novel Corona Virus (COVID-19) situation. Image courtesy iplt20.com
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Piracy

Like Kodi, Plex is a Technology Making Piracy Worse

With streaming entrenched as the dominant form of video consumption online, it’s easy to forget that piracy via the illegal downloading of actual files (AKA the old-fashioned way), remains alive and well. In fact, according to digital piracy data firm MUSO, torrent-based digital theft makes up around 20 percent of all film piracy, and around five percent of all television piracy. If those numbers sound low to you, keep in mind that online piracy in general cost the film and television industry an estimated $37.4 billion in lost revenue in 2018. Whatever percentage of that stolen revenue is going to a seemingly archaic means of theft, it’s still billions of dollars too many for an industry that supports 2.6 million jobs in America – and it needs to be stopped.

Unfortunately, we are far from curbing the plague of download piracy. In fact, the problem now finds itself on a dangerous precipice where it could easily slip right back into becoming a crisis again, as it was in the mid-2000s – before streaming was all the rage. Thanks to a rapidly growing media application called Plex, torrent-based piracy is back in vogue, and better than ever (for criminals who have no problem with profiting from content that doesn’t belong to them, that  is).

To understand what Plex is and how it functions, it is helpful to look at Kodi – another dangerous digital media player that we have written about repeatedly here at CreativeFuture. Kodi is an open-source system that lets you gather up all your streaming content – movies, television shows, music, even personal photos – in one place and pipe it into your living room television.

The Kodi software is legal, but because it is open-source, it can be customized with all sorts of apps and add-ons, many of which offer unauthorized movies, television shows, sports programming, and even live broadcasts for free, or at a reduced price. Kodi’s elegant on-screen packaging filters all of it through a smooth interface replete with metadata that automatically outfits the content with posters, cast lists, and other features. The resulting viewing experience looks legitimate whether what’s being viewed is legal or not, and many Kodi users don’t even realize they are consuming pirated content.

Plex offers everything Kodi does, but with one fundamental difference – rather than serving as a hub for streaming content, it offers a nifty place to organize and view your media files, organizing and indexing the media you actually own for streaming on any device you desire. The software makes it extremely easy to compile a digital entertainment library on your own server – but, of course, we wouldn’t be publishing this article if there wasn’t a catch.

“Because what’s on Plex servers is populated by people, most of the commercial content you’d find there is probably pirated,” reads a recent Verge article with the headline, “Plex makes piracy just another streaming service”. The story goes on to traipse blissfully through what the writer seems to see as a quirky online community of altruistic Plex account holders who offer their carefully curated movie and TV lineups to appreciative friends, who just want to see “stuff that falls through the cracks” of the streaming services or “things that are only in theaters” because they aren’t “huge fans of going to the movies.” Because why should you have to pay for a pesky theater ticket when you can just steal it – right?

Wrong. The Verge glosses over the dark truth about sharing unlicensed films and television shows with even a small group of people, without permission – it’s illegal! And, what’s more, on Plex, it’s not exactly altruistic either. Plex is free to join, but those who pay its monthly subscription fee get the ability to share their media library with up to 100 other users, and many of these subscribers have taken to offering that shared access for a price, selling their login information on notorious piracy-enabling outlets such as Reddit. One indicative Reddit thread of many, called r/Plexshares, has more than 22,000 members, and serves as a kind of marketplace of pirated libraries, many of them as vast and varied as certain streaming services. Some even have tiered payment plans – such as the Plex library offered by member mmedic123, who promises more than 3,400 movies, 6,000 episodes of television, and a kids’ library (!) for “$1/week, $3/month,” or “$30/year PayPal or Credit Card”.

It’s impossible to say how many people are committing this crime, but a hint that it might be a lot occurred when Plex tried to change its privacy policy in 2017 so that users could no longer opt out of data collection. The backlash was intense – both because its millions of users were, quite understandably, worried about their data being harvested, and because they didn’t want Plex, or anyone, to be able to see what was on their servers.

“That latter item is of particular concern to many users who have amassed media collections through illegal means, like torrenting or ripping copy-protected DVDs,” wrote TechCrunch at the time. “They’re worried that allowing Plex to collect data about their media and its consumption would allow the company to deduce what sort of files they have.”

Plex eventually buckled under the pressure. However, two years later, The Verge’s article has unleashed a new wave of alarm from the company’s loyal customers. Their collective dismay can be summed up by this enterprising YouTuber, “SUPERDELL-TV,” who warns his followers to be “very, very careful… I’m talking about hundreds and hundreds and hundreds, if not thousands of people saying, ‘Hey, if you want all the latest movies and this and that, come here, and I’ll give you access to my Plex for a fee.’”

For now, Plex, as most tech platforms are wont to do to avoid accountability, seems to be dodging the issue. “We certainly don’t condone piracy at all, and there are lots of ways to get lots of great, legitimate content into the system,” Plex CEO Keith Valory said in a 2016 interview. He was quick to add, of course, “We don’t have any view into the content, and by our Terms of Service, we make sure that people have rights to that content.”

But, as Facebook and Google have learned the hard way, stating something in your Terms of Service does not make it a reality. A sentence or two on a TOS page does not change the fact that all around the world, Plex subscribers are turning their personal media libraries into sharable streaming services and then profiting from content they do not own.

In turning a blind eye to its piracy problem, Plex has joined the ranks of internet heavyweights who refuse to take responsibility for the criminal behavior on their platforms. With heightened scrutiny on the biggest platforms, lawmakers across the country, and abroad, have increasingly demonstrated less tolerance for tech companies that sidestep law and order in their relentless quest for user growth.

“Plex may have a problem coming soon,” adds SUPERDELL-TV, with genuine concern in his eyes for his loyal viewers who have been pirating content on Plex for far too long. With any luck, he’ll be proven right.

This article was originally published in Creative Future.

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Interview

The History of Cinema

In They’ve Gotta Have Us now streaming on Netflix, British photographer-turned filmmaker Simon Frederick chronicles the history of Black Cinema by sitting down with some of the people who made that history. Produced by BBC Two and Ava DuVernay‘s ARRAY company, the three-part documentary series blends archival footage with dozens of interviews to survey eight decades of American filmmaking.

“I wanted to hear about the struggles and the successes, but I also wanted to hear the human stories in between,” says Frederick.

To that end, Harry Belafonte recounts the challenges of being a black leading man in 1960’s Hollywood. John Boyega remembers being so broke he took a bus home from the meeting with J.J. Abrams when he learned he’d be starring in Star Wars: The Force Awakens; Whoopi Goldberg explains how Steven Spielberg persuaded her to do The Color Purple. David Oyelowo describes his admiration for Denzel Washington. Moonlight director Barry Jenkins talks movingly about how growing up with a crack-addicted mother informed his approach to his masterpiece.

Director Barry Jenkins in ‘They’ve Gotta Have Us.’ Photo credit: Photo Credit: Simon Frederick. Courtesy Array/Netflix.

The series also takes an unflinching look at the systemic racism baked into movie marketing during the forties, when, for example, studios routinely edited out black singer-actress Lena Horne from film prints screened in the south in order to avoid offending white audiences.

Speaking from his London home, Frederick delves into his mission to celebrate the arduous journey made by black filmmakers on their way to becoming key players in 21st-century Hollywood.

You’ve said that watching Moonlight win the Oscar in 2016 sparked the idea of making a documentary about black cinema. How so?

I’d been thinking about this idea for a long time but watching the Oscars on TV the night that Moonlight won, I realized this would be the perfect place to start, as a moment of 100 percent definitive change. It’s not a slave story. It’s not a shoot-em-up. It’s not a comedy. It’s a coming-of-age story and it’s about being gay, which is extremely rare in the black film canon. So I said to myself, “This is something new. It’s a full stop but it’s also a beginning. And that’s when I started to write the story.”

You’re a relatively unknown UK artist yet somehow you got dozens of major black American artists to talk about race and tell some very personal stories on camera. How did you round up the talent?

In our office, we had two walls. One for talent that was confirmed. And the other wall had 85 pictures of everyone that we wanted. That left-hand wall remained empty for weeks.

So how’d you fill it up?

Basically, wrangling the talent was about making your argument so compelling that talent would want to come and be part of this. We worked very carefully on the letters we sent out to agents so they wouldn’t be fearful about allowing their talent to talk about subjects that they believed might alienate their audience. So that was the first step: evangelize the agents.

Oscar-winning costume designer Ruth E. Carter in ‘They’ve Gotta Have Us.’ Photo credit: Simon Frederick. Courtesy Array/Netflix.

Once actors and directors warmed up to your project, you conducted interviews in L.A. New York and London. What was your approach to these sessions?

I started out as a photographer so portraiture is at the heart of my documentaries. I think of the interviews as talking portraits. In terms of where people sit, how I sit them, the parameters of the screen, the eye level, the way they address the audience and the lighting — all these things are very important to me. And so with They’ve Gotta Have Us, I wanted to re-invent the talking heads genre, which I think is boring. I never understood why people in documentaries talk to some space off in the distance rather than looking directly at the camera.

Cuba Gooding Jr. in ‘They’ve Gotta Have Us.’ Photo credit: Simon Frederick. Courtesy Array/Netflix.

They’ve Gotta Have Us documents a shocking level of Hollywood racism in the forties, fifties and into the sixties. For example, studios routinely deleted scenes of black singer Lena Horne in film prints shown to white audiences in the south. Were you aware of those practices?

I didn’t know about the Hays Code, which prohibited people of different races have any kind of romance on screen. But during post-production, the thing that really shook me up was when I learned about Hattie McDaniel, the first black person to win an Oscar as best supporting actress in 1940 for Gone with the Wind. At the awards ceremony, the white cast and crew sat at one table while Hattie sat at a table in the corner of the room. After her speech, Hattie was ushered out [of the venue] through the kitchen. When I heard that, it broke my heart. Black women have been routinely written out of history, so I said to my team, “Okay, we’re going to change the structure of episode one and give Hattie McDaniel her due.”

You spent time with Harry Belafonte, who’s 92 years old. That must have been memorable.

Mr. Belafonte came in on a wheelchair being pushed by his assistant. He got up from the wheelchair, sat on the box and talked for three hours. It was like a complete master class because sitting in front of me was the past, present, and future of cinema, of black culture, black cultural thinking. Here’s a man who walked with Martin Luther King, he knew Malcolm X, he helped their causes. Honestly, I could take that interview alone and turn it into a two-hour piece well worth watching.

The late John Singleton also went before your cameras shortly before he died.

John was amazing. He asked me, “How many hours are you doing and when do you have to deliver? I told him and he was like “Son, they’re trying to kill you!” He texted me that evening. A week later he called me and said I had to stick to my guns if the broadcaster asked me to do things I knew weren’t correct. I’m currently writing a script for a feature, and there’s no way I would have done that if it hadn’t been for John Singleton.

John Singleton in ‘They’ve Gotta Have Us.’ Photo credit: Photo Credit: Simon Frederick. Courtesy Array/Netflix.

We see that kind of ripple effect throughout the documentary, which shows how Sidney Poitier, Denzel Washington, and Eddie Murphy inspired actors to do their thing. And we also see how Spike Lee inspired Singleton to make Boyz n the Hood in 1991, which in turn spawned a whole new generation of black filmmakers.

Spike not only motivated black filmmakers to go out and do the work, but a lot of people in the industry got their start from Spike. He was instrumental in ensuring that black talent got a chance to make movies, and then that talent went on to help create this revolution or evolution in cinema that we’re seeing now in movies like Get Out.

They’ve Gotta Have Us chronicles massive progress for black filmmakers, but it’s not necessarily a straight line forward, witnessing this year’s Oscars. Only one out of twenty acting nominees was a person of color. On camera, David Oyelowo basically says that the Hollywood studio system still has a long way to go.

The structural mechanisms are not in place, like David says; the political mechanisms are not in place, but what we do have now is a shift in the minds of black filmmakers. During previous periods, I think we had the mindset of children waiting for acknowledgment and accolades from our parents, waiting to get a pat on the head: “Yes you can go play in that playground over there.” But now there are new ways of making and financing films and getting those movies seen and developing audiences. Black filmmakers are saying, “We’ve grown up. We no longer need your permission to tell the stories we want to tell.”

Featured image: Simon Frederick, director of ‘They’ve Gotta Have Us.’ Courtesy Array/Netflix.

This article originally appeared in The Credits.