6 of our favorite black filmmakers name their greatest inspiration

We asked Gina Prince-Bythewood, Mariama Diallo, Adamma Ebo, Rashaad Ernesto Green, Carey Williams and AV Rockwell to name their favorites. The result: a fresh textbook for hungry cinephiles.

Courtesy of the Everett Collection

A few weeks before the start of Black History Month (that would be February, like Today), IndieWire asked some of our favorite black filmmakers a very open-ended question: Who are they? your favorite black filmmakers?

The base mood was a bit more involved, asking for choices that lean more toward “inspiration” and “influence,” keeping in mind the long history of black filmmakers. We sent you a bunch of questions to get your creative juices flowing: What movies did you watch as a kid that shaped your taste? Which filmmaker’s work inspired today’s films? Who is the filmmaker who deserves more attention from other film lovers?

In short, what movies and which filmmakers should everyone know about?

The responses from Gina Prince-Bythewood, Mariama Diallo, Adamma Ebo, Rashaad Ernesto Green, Carey Williams and newly appointed Sundance winner AV Rockwell exceeded all expectations.

The filmmakers we interviewed took a relatively open call and ran with it. Some chose a top ten list, while others supplemented those lists with short films and music videos, often favoring only features; most attributed their favorite films to their own creative success, naming films and filmmakers whose own shots and styles they are still trying to crack; Diallo organized the selection around a theme, Green wrote an entire essay on Spike Lee’s influence (including how a chance encounter with the co-director ultimately led Green to choose the director), and Prince-Bythewood highlighted female directors with her. own dream Oscar nominations.

Each one is personal, insightful and essential. Not only do we take a look at some of the must-see films for cinephiles of all stripes, but these lists also offer incredible insight into what came before and what came after.

The following has been edited and condensed for clarity.

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