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Stories of Our People: Black Film Entrepreneurs

Stories of Our People: Black Film Entrepreneurs

Posted by Thierry Augustin on

Each week, we'll share stories of black entrepreneurs, past and present, across different industries. We'll start in film with a ground-breaking talent that tackled racial issues in a turbulent society and a young man that's making his own waves across the country after getting his start at MTV.

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Oscar Micheaux (1884-1951) is regarded as the first African-American film director, focusing on contemporary black life and the challenges of achieving success in greater society. His contributions to the industry are recognized by a start on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, a Golden Jubilee award from the Director's guild of America and many others. 

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Kurt Williamson is a director and co-founder of Holland West productions, striving to tell stories about through commercials, documentaries, short films, and branded campaigns. He spent 9 years at MTV before breaking out into entrepreneurship. He used his tax return to pick up his first camera and his love of film grew from there. He partnered with follow director Warren Oliver (formerly of HBO) to create their own production company and create their own opportunities. Having clients commercial clients like BET, Walmart and Bleacher Report doesn't hurt either. He was recently a filmmaker for the Hillary Clinton campaign, flying across the country with her to capture stories of African-Americans that were active in the political space as well as civilian life throughout the nation.  "We've been grinding. We always wanted to be entrepreneurs, to tell stories of our people. We just keep dreaming, keep doing more and conquering more, that's what fuels our passion."

He credits the dedication of Spike Lee, Denzel Washington, Viola Davis and more contemporary examples like Donald Glover and Issa Rae for being able to "tell their stories, in their way". "The doors are open. We're committed to working hard and putting out top-tier quality. We want more people to open their eyes to smaller production companies so we can show you more of what we can do."

Learn more about Holland West here

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