On this week’s special On Story, two critically and culturally acclaimed African-American directors: John Singleton and Charles Burnett. First, we look back at the work of the late John Singleton as he discusses his career and the creation of his first film, Boyz n the Hood (1991), which earned him the Best Director nomination at the Academy Awards®, making him the first African American nominee in that category that same year. Later, Charles Burnett highlights details of his career development in narrative and documentary filmmaking, with his seminal film Killer of Sheep (1978), a definitive representation of the African American cultural experience.
John Singleton made his filmmaking debut in 1991 as the writer-director of the groundbreaking urban drama Boyz n the Hood, which he wrote and directed. The film earned him Academy Award® Nominations for Best Original Screenplay and Best Director, the latter of which made him the youngest person as well as the first African-American to enjoy that distinction. Singleton’s other films include Poetic Justice, Four Brothers and the 2000’s version of Shaft. John Singelton also co-created the FX Network crime drama, Snowfall. Screenwriter Fred Strype spoke with John Singleton at the 22nd Austin Film Festival in 2015 where he was awarded for his contributions to filmmaking.
Charles Burnett’s most notable works include the films Killer of Sheep, My Brother’s Wedding and To Sleep With Anger. Killer of Sheep was Charles Burnett’s master’s thesis at UCLA and was included among the first 50 films entered in the National Film Registry for its historical importance by the Library of Congress in 1990. Charles Burnett has received numerous awards for his contribution to American cinema including a Guggenheim Fellowship and Howard University’s Paul Robeson Award. Michael MacCambridge spoke with Charles Burnett at the 22nd Austin Film Festival in 2015.