New York Artists Warm Sundance Movies
New York Sun New York Artists Warm Sundance Movies BY S. JAMES SNYDER January 25, 2008 ‘THE BLACK LIST: VOLUME ONE’ It was “The Black List: Volume One” that, for this critic, heralded the beginning of Sundance. From the first moment of this seemingly simple yet carefully refined achievement, I found myself unprepared for the emotional wallop that was to come. Under the combined control of the director and esteemed photographer Timothy Greenfield-Sanders and the film critic Elvis Mitchell, “The Black List” offers 20 abbreviated interviews with influential black Americans from every corner of society. The final product is an inspiring mosaic that speaks to what it means to live as a black American, and serves as a meditation on how far we have to go as a nation in correcting the inequities that persist to this day. “It’s one of those things where you go, ‘Whoa, it’s never been done before, but it’s so simple,'” Mr. Mitchell said, referring to the documentary’s use of just two cameras and no narrator. “As an African-American, one of the reasons I wanted to do this was to see something I had never seen before — an honest and insightful acknowledgement of the breadth and depth of the black experience in this country. Honestly, that’s something you don’t see in the mainstream media today. ” Turning to their extensive personal Rolodexes to assemble an astonishing array of personalities, Messrs. Mitchell and Greenfield-Sanders speak with such icons as Sean Combs (to talk about the entertainment industry), Vernon Jordan Jr. (the legal and political universe), Colin Powell (the military and government), and the Rev. Al Sharpton (the prominent role of the church in daily life). “At some point, if you reach a position of power, you must cope with the realization that you’re black in America, and how do you deal with that?” Mr. Mitchell said. “That’s what I wanted to explore.” It was HBO that suggested adding “Volume One” to the title, advancing the idea that the two collaborators will expand this initial documentary with additional films and an interactive Web site that will encourage visitors to share their own thoughts and experiences.