Race-ing the Movie Industry
An area of multiple panels for the 2013 Film & History Conference on
Making Movie$: The Figure of Money On and Off the Screen
November 20-24, 2013
Madison Concourse Hotel (Madison, WI)
DEADLINE for abstracts: July 1, 2013
AREA: Race-ing the Movie Industry
Money and race infuse nearly every aspect of the movie industry – whether overtly or hidden. Early producers were sons of immigrants, and yet the American dream they portrayed was often an idealized middle-class white version. The movie industry historically assumed a largely white audience, and assessments of financial risk and benefit reflected this.
“Race films” were produced for black audiences and actors categorically excluded from mainstream production throughout the first half of the twentieth century and blaxploitation films burned up the screen in the 1970s, but it is now widely assumed that the film industry is one of full racial diversity. Or is it? Do African-Americans, Asians, Native Americans and others appear on screen in roles equal in prominence and depth to those played by white actors? Do audiences of various races see their lifestyles, values, and histories fully reflected in films? Do production personnel of all races have equal access to resources, jobs, and advancement in the industry?
This area, which will be composed of multiple panels, welcomes papers from a broad range of perspectives. The focus can be on particular movies, producers, or actors, or on audiences and how they are courted in order to make a profit while including race. Papers might also assess costs, risks, or benefits of challenging ideas of race.
Some suggestions follow:
• Selling particular non-white stars or storylines to a predominately white audience
• Dealing with censorship and boycotts because of race concerns
• Funding race movies and movies about race
• Non-white production companies: funding and selling the product
• Attracting minority audiences
• How stories were adjusted in order to attract (or not lose) funding or audiences
• Funding independent productions which challenged notions of race
• How a particular movie with a racial component was funded, marketed, or dealt with censorship
• Funding films to create a racialized cultural memory
• Foundations and funding for movies on race
• Funding educational films about race
• Civil rights organizations and the film industry: costs, benefits, and risks
• The economic politics of race portrayals.
Area Chair: Race-ing the Movie Industry
University of Oslo (Norway)
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