What I’m trying to do is theorize a way to create a brand new Black cinema,” Skinner Myers says. “Like a new Black cinematic language that does not adhere to anything that’s Eurocentric or Hollywood.”
And Myers’ feature film, The Sleeping Negro, is Exhibit A. You’ll find touches of the L.A. Rebellion, Third World Cinema, and Slow Cinema—particularly, as the header image shows, Andrei Tarkovsky—but they are jumping off points; acknowledgment of the voices that came before, and a chance to begin again.
“There’s a few African filmmakers who attempted to make their own cinematic language for their people and their culture,” Myers continues, citing Djibril Diop Mambéty and Haile Gerima, “but, what happened was, they’d make a couple of films, and then they get shut out from any means of production or ways to make money or to make films. So, I’m trying to reignite that path and start where they left off—from a theoretical aspect. So that, from a film philosophy perspective, people who come way after me maybe will have a groundwork on how to build upon this theory.”
The Sleeping Negro is currently playing in select theaters in the U.S.