10 Oscar Micheaux from Why Researching Screenwriters (has Always) Mattered [Video] (43 seconds)

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10 Oscar Micheaux from Why Researching Screenwriters (has Always) Mattered

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Even books like this book, Without Lying Down is written about famous women in early Hollywood but she doesn’t write about the people of color who worked in early Hollywood. She was very focused on reviving the names of women and I appreciate that but in doing that she forgot this gentleman. Oscar Micheaux was a famous African-American — that’s the phrase we use in the United States — filmmaker and he wrote many films some of which you can find on youtube today in answer to the stereotypes he saw being portrayed in the early days of film. He was trying to put out a different story right? So he’s not written about in very many books because people aren’t thinking about anyone but the very mainstream writers they’ve heard of.

A Note About This Presentation

A clip from my keynote speech at the 10th Screenwriters´(hi)Stories Seminar for the interdisciplinary Graduation Program in “Education, Art, and History of Culture”, in Mackenzie Presbyterian University, at São Paulo, SP, Brazil, focused on the topic “Why Researching Screenwriters (has Always) Mattered.” I was especially pleased with the passion these young scholars have toward screenwriting and it’s importance in transmitting culture across the man-made borders of our world.

To understand the world we have to understand its stories and to understand the world’s stories we must understand the world’s storytellers. A century ago and longer those people would have been the novelists of any particular country but since the invention of film, the storytellers who reach the most people with their ideas and their lessons have been the screenwriters. My teaching philosophy is that: Words matter, Writers matter, and Women writers matte, r so women writers are my focus because they have been the far less researched and yet they are over half the population. We cannot tell the stories of the people until we know what stories the mothers have passed down to their children. Those are the stories that last. Now is the time to research screenwriters of all cultures and the stories they tell because people are finally recognizing the work of writers and appreciating how their favorite stories took shape on the page long before they were cast, or filmed, or edited. But also because streaming services make the stories of many cultures now available to a much wider world than ever before.

Many thanks to Glaucia Davino for the invitation.


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