HISTORICAL FESTIVAL—Billboard like screen of Michael Schultz with live musicians performing below at the Black Bottom Film Festival. (Photos by Paige K. Mitchell)

The Black Bottom Film Festival at the August Wilson Center last weekend highlighted numerous Black film classics.

The festival began showing films at 11 a.m. The festival featured films such as; “Father’s Day” directed by Demetrius Wren, “Agents of Change” directed by Frank R. Dawson, and “Like Cotton Twines” directed by Leila Djansi.

While workshops were also available for attendees during Saturday afternoon people had the opportunity to learn acting tips during “Introduction to Acting for the Camera” and “The Three C’s of Screenwriting: Character, Conflict, and Catharsis.”

Pioneer of directors, Michael Schultz was honored during the evening for ‘Cinematic Excellence’ award. Schultz is responsible for opening the door for more directors of color. He is responsible for creating legendary films and great television. He is the man behind classic films such as  “Cooley High,” “Car Wash,” “Which Way Is Up,” “Krush Groove,” “Last Dragon,”  “Woman Thou Art Loosed,” and today’s hit television shows “Blackish” and “Star!”

Schultz graced the stage to receive his honorary award, and offered a heartfelt speech. He touched on memorable moments of directing films in the 70’s and 80’s.

“The hardest job I had in making [“Which Way Is Up?”]  was trying to keep the crew from laughing and spoiling the takes. There are some parts in the film where if you look closely, you can still see people cracking up, because Richard Pryor would come up with things that weren’t  in the script but fit perfectly,” Schultz said.

His speech was followed by a live musical selection of tunes from the live band, and the Black Film Festival did a double feature of two of his legendary films playing “Cooley High” staring Glynn Turman, and Lawrence Hilton Jacobs released back in 1975 and “Which Way Is Up” starring the late Richard Pryor, 1977, in multiple roles. It also starred Lonette McKee, and Margaret Avery.

Chavonne Butler, attendee said, “I didn’t’ expect to stay as long as I did, but I couldn’t get out of my seat. The information was so intriguing and the films were phenomenal. I haven’t seen “Cooley High” in years. Loved it!”


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