Top Black FilmMakers Working Today

While a person's race certainly has no correlation with the quality of the films they make, it unfortunately does affect the amount of opportunity they receive in Hollywood to make films. While Researching Black Directors I found that most end up working in television or suffer long periods of inactivity between their films.

Race also affects the type of stories that they tell. For those feeling a dearth of Movies about Black Culture, hopefully this list will introduce you to some directors/films about Black Culture/People that you never knew existed. Or just inform you on a few films that you may not have ever known were made by Black Directors.

*Any suggestions/criticisms are welcome. I've already incorporated a few into the list.
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1.
Spike Lee
Director, Inside Man
Spike Lee was born Shelton Jackson Lee on March 20, 1957, in Atlanta, Georgia. At a very young age, he moved from pre-civil rights Georgia, to Brooklyn, New York. Lee came from artistic, education-grounded background; his father was a jazz musician, and his mother, a schoolteacher. He attended school in Morehouse College in Atlanta and developed his film making skills at Clark Atlanta University...
“ Director/Writer - "Do the Right Thing", "Inside Man", "Jungle Fever", "Shes Gotta Have It", "Malcolm X","Mo Better Blues", "Crooklyn", "School Daze", "Clockers", "He Got Game", "Summer of Sam", "Bamboozled", "She Hate Me", "Red Hook Summer"
Director Only - "When The Leeves Broke (Documentary)", "4 Little Girls (Documentary)", "25th Hour", "Inside Man", "Get on The Bus", "Miracle at St. Anna"

Major Awards
-----------------------
2 Oscar noms,
1 Emmy win/1 nom,
2 Golden Globe noms,
1 BAFTA award,
1 Independent Spirit Nom,
2 LAFCAA Wins,
1 Berlin Film Festival Win/4 noms,
2 Cannes Film Festival wins/2 noms,
3 Venice Film Festival Wins/1 nom,
(Directed Danny Aiello to Supporting Actor Oscar and Golden Globe Noms)
(Directed Denzel Washington to Best Actor Oscar and Golden Globe Noms) ” - HLMPartDeux
 
2.
“ Director/Writer - "Hunger", "Shame"

Major Awards
--------------------------
2 BAFTA Noms/1 Win
1 Cannes Win
2 Independent Spirit Noms
1 LAFCA Win
1 NYFCA Win
3 Venice Film Festival Wins/1 Nom
4 European Film Award Noms/1 Win ” - HLMPartDeux
 
3.
John Singleton
Director, Four Brothers
Son of mortgage broker Danny Singleton and pharmaceutical company sales executive Sheila Ward and raised in separate households by his unmarried parents, John Singleton attended the Film Writing Program at USC after graduating from high school in 1986. While studying there, he won three writing awards from the university...
“ Director/Writer - "Boyz n Da hood", "Higher Learning", "Poetic Justice", "Shaft", "Baby Boy"
Director Only - "Four Brothers", "2 Fast 2 Furious", "Rosewood", "Abduction

Major Awards
------------------------
2 Oscar noms,
1 LAFCAA Win,
1 NYFCAA Win,
1 Berlin Film Festival nom, ” - HLMPartDeux
 
4.
Antoine Fuqua
Director, Training Day
Antoine Fuqua is an American film director and film producer. His first feature film was the action film The Replacement Killers, starring Chow Yun Fat. He then directed the crime thriller Training Day, for which star Denzel Washington won an Oscar, the action war drama Tears of the Sun, the Arthurian legend film King Arthur...
“ Director Only - "Training Day", "Shooter", "King Arthur", "Tears of the Sun", "Brooklyn's Finest", "Olympus Has Fallen"

Major Awards
------------------------
N/A
(Directed Denzel Washington to Best Actor Oscar Win and Golden Globe Nom)
(Directed Ethan Hawke to Supporting Actor Oscar nom) ” - HLMPartDeux
 
5.
“ Director Only - "Friday", "Law Abiding Citizen", "Be Cool", The Italian Job", "A Man Apart", The Negotiator", "Set it Off"

Major Awards
------------------------
N/A ” - HLMPartDeux
 
6.
Allen Hughes
Producer, From Hell
Albert and Allen Hughes began making movies at age 12, but their formal film education began their freshman year of high school when Allen took a TV production class. They soon made a short film entitled How To Be A Burglar and people began to take notice. Their next work, Uncensored videos, was broadcast on cable...
“ Director Only - "Menace 2 Society", "Dead Presidents", "From Hell", "Book of Eli", "American Pimp (Documentary)", "Broken City"

Major Awards
---------------------
1 Independent Spirit Nom,
1 Sundance Film Festival Nom ” - HLMPartDeux
 
7.
Albert Hughes
Producer, From Hell
Albert and Allen Hughes began making movies at age 12, but their formal film education began their freshman year of high school when Allen took a TV production class. They soon made a short film entitled How To Be A Burglar and people began to take notice. Their next work, Uncensored videos, was broadcast on cable...
“ Director Only - "Menace 2 Society", "Dead Presidents", "From Hell", "Book of Eli", "American Pimp (Documentary)"

Major Awards
------------------------------
1 Independent Spirit Nom,
1 Sundance Film Festival Nom ” - HLMPartDeux
 
8.
Charles Burnett
Director, Killer of Sheep
Considered one of Americas greatest filmmakers, Charles Burnett was born in Mississippi in 1944, he grew up in Watts. He was one of the privileged blacks who had access to college education in those days; the 60s. He studied at UCLA's Film Department. He was first noticed in 1981 with Killer of Sheep which won a prize at Berlin...
“ Director/Writer - "Killer of Sheep", "To Sleep with Anger, "My Brothers Wedding", "Glass Shield"

Major Awards
----------------------------
2 Independent Spirit Noms,
1 LFCAA Win,
1 NYFCCA Win,
1 Berlin Film Festival Nom,
1 Sundance Film Festival Nom/1 Win ” - HLMPartDeux
 
9.
Robert Townsend
Robert Townsend transcends any medium he touches whether he's performing stand up, acting, writing, directing, producing, or running a television network. A Chicago native, Townsend is often referred to as one of the "Godfathers" of the Independent Film World." With over 30 years in the business, he has made an indelible mark in Hollywood with an extensive list of credits...
“ Director/Writer - "Hollywood Shuffle", "Five Heartbeats", "Meteor Man"
Director Only - "Phantom Punch", "Holiday Heart", "Little Richard", "B.A.P.S.", "In The Hive"

Major Awards
------------------------
1 Independent Spirit Nom ” - HLMPartDeux
 
10.
“ Director Only - "The Last Dragon", "Cooley High", "Car Wash", "Woman Thou Art Loosed", "Krush Groove", "Disorderlies", "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band"

Major Awards
--------------------------
1 Cannes Film Festival Nom/1 Win ” - HLMPartDeux
 
11.
“ Director Only - "Juice", "Bulletproof", "Our America", "Bones", "Never Die Alone", "Blind Faith", "Last Man Standing"
Cinematographer - "Krush Groove", "She's Gotta Have It", "Do the right thing", "School Daze", "Malcolm X", "Mo Better Blues", "Jungle Fever",

Major Awards
-------------------------
N/A ” - HLMPartDeux
 
12.
“ Director/Writer - "Eve's Bayou"
Director Only - "Talk to Me", "Caveman's Valentine"

Major Awards
---------------------------
1 Independent Spirit Win ” - HLMPartDeux
 
13.
Denzel Washington
Denzel Washington is an American actor and filmmaker. He has received three Golden Globe awards, a Tony Award, and two Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actor for the historical war drama film Glory and Best Actor for his role as a corrupt cop in the crime thriller Training Day. Denzel Hayes Washington...
“ Director Only - "Antwone Fisher", "The Great Debaters"

Major Awards
-------------------------
N/A
(Directed Movie Nominated for Best Film Golden Globe) ” - HLMPartDeux
 
14.
Gina Prince-Bythewood
Gina Prince-Bythewood wrote and directed the widely acclaimed feature film Love & Basketball which premiered at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival. She won an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature and a Humanitas Prize for her work on the film. Her other directing credits include the HBO film Disappearing Acts...
“ Director/Writer - "Love & Basketball", "The Secret Life of Bees"
Director Only - "Disappearing Acts"

Major Awards
------------------------
1 Independent Spirit Nom/1 Win ” - HLMPartDeux
 
15.
Carl Franklin
Director, Out of Time
Carl Franklin studied history and dramatic arts at UC Berkeley. After several years as a television actor with guest shots, roles in TV movies, miniseries, and appearing as a regular on a few unsuccessful series, he returned to school and received his master's degree in directing from the American Film Institute...
“ Director/Writer - "Devil in a Blue Dress", "Bless Me Ultima"
Director Only - "Out of Time", "High Crimes", "One True Thing"

Major Awards
------------------
1 Independent Spirit Win, 1 LAFCAA Win ” - HLMPartDeux
 
16.
“ Director/Writer - "A Dry White Season", "Sugar Cane Alley"

Major Awards
-------------------------
1 Venice Film Festival Win,
(Directed Marlon Brando to Supporting Actor Oscar and Golden Globe Nom) ” - HLMPartDeux
 
17.
“ Director/Writer - "Freedom Riders (Documentary)", A Place of Our Own (Documentary), "The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords (Documentary)"
Director Only - "Jonestown (Documentary)", "Wounded Knee (Documentary), "Marcus Garvey: Look For Me in the Whirlwind (Documentary)", ""The Murder of Emmet Till (Documentary)

Major Awards
-------------------------
3 Emmy Wins/1 Nom,
2 Sundance Film Festival Wins/5 Noms ” - HLMPartDeux
 
18.
Lee Daniels
Writer, Empire
Lee Daniels gave his parents an early Christmas present when he entered the world on December 24, 1959; unfortunately, the Philadelphia native was to have a difficult relationship with his police officer father who later reacted violently to his son's sexuality. Despite the brutality of his childhood...
“ Director/Writer - "The Paperboy"
Director Only - "Precious", "Shadowboxer"

Major Awards
-----------------------
2 Oscar Noms
1 BAFTA Nom
1 DGA Nom
1 Cannes Film Festival Nom
2 Independent Spirit Wins/1 Nom
2 Sundance Film Festival Wins
(Directed Monique to Supporting Actress Oscar and Golden Globe Wins)
(Directed Gabourey Sidibe to Lead Actress Oscar and Golden Globe Noms) ” - HLMPartDeux
 
19.
Tim Story
Director, Fantastic Four
Timothy Kevin Story was born on March 13, 1970 in Los Angeles, California. Attended Westchester High School in Los Angeles, California with jazz pianist Eric Reed and actresses Regina King and Nia Long. Graduated from USC film school.
“ Director/Writer - "One of Us Tripped", "Barbershop", "Taxi", "Fantastic Four", "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer", "Hurricane Season", "Think Like a Man"
Director Only - "The Firing Squad"

Major Awards
--------------------------
N/A ” - HLMPartDeux
 
20.
Dee Rees
Director, Bessie
“ Director/Writer - "Pariah"

Major Awards
--------------------------
1 Independent Spirit Win,
2 Sundance Film Festival Nom ” - HLMPartDeux
 
21.
“ Director/Writer - "Cadillac Records", "I Like It Like That", "Prison Song"
Director Only - "Their Eyes Were Watching God", "Firelight", "The Lost Valentine"

Major Awards
-------------------------
1 Independent Spirit Nom
1 NYFCCA Win
1 DGA Nom ” - HLMPartDeux
 
22.
Peter Ramsey
Art Department, Fight Club
Peter Ramsey is the director of Dreamworks Animation's 2012 feature film "Rise Of The Guardians". He also directed the Halloween TV special, "Monsters vs. Aliens: Mutant Pumpkins from Outer Space" as well as serving as a story artist on several of Dreamworks Animation's feature films. Prior to joining Dreamworks...
“ Director Only - "Rise of the Guardians (Animated Film)"

Major Awards
--------------------------
1 Golden Globe Nom
1 Annie Award Nom (Movie received 10 Nominations overall) ” - HLMPartDeux
 
23.
Rick Famuyiwa
Director, Dope
Rick has a degree in Cinema-Television (Production) and Cinema-Television (Critical Studies), both from USC. He considers his time at the Sundance Lab to be the equivalent of grad school.
“ Director/Writer - "Brown Sugar", "The Wood", "Our Family Wedding"
Writer Only - Talk to Me

Major Awards
--------------------------
N/A ” - HLMPartDeux
 
24.
Ava DuVernay
Producer, 13th
A filmmaker, marketer and film distributor, Ava DuVernay made her feature film debut with the documentary This in the Life (2008), a history on hip hop movement that flourished in Los Angeles in the 1990's. This was followed by series of television music documentaries which included My Mic Sounds Nice (2010) which aired on BET...
“ Director/Writer - "Middle of Nowhere", "I Will Follow"

Major Awards
------------------------
1 Sundance Film Festival Win/1 Nom
1 Independent Spirit Nom ” - HLMPartDeux
 
25.
Forest Whitaker
Actor, Platoon
Forest Steven Whitaker has packaged a king-size talent into his hulking 6' 2", 220 lb. frame. He won an Academy Award for his performance as Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in the 2006 film The Last King of Scotland, and has also won a Golden Globe and a BAFTA. He is the fourth African-American male to win an Academy Award for Best Actor...
“ Director Only - "Waiting to Exhale", "Hope Floats"

Major Awards
------------------------
N/A ” - HLMPartDeux
 
26.
George C. Wolfe
George Wolfe was raised in the state capital of Kentucky, Frankfort. As a member of the Frankfort High School Senior class of 1972, he was one of the leading lights of the drama club and a writer for the literary magazine. George left Frankfort in 1972, but returned many years later as a favored son...
“ Director Only = "Lackawanna Blues", "Nights in Rodanthe"

Major Awards
---------------------------
1 independent Spirit Nom
1 DGA Nom ” - HLMPartDeux
 
27.
Mario Van Peebles
Mario Van Peebles is a highly regarded director, actor, producer and writer. His directorial skills can be seen in the retelling of the epic mini-series "Roots" starring Forest Whitaker and Matthew Goode. Van Pebbles has directed award-winning shows such as the recent hit "Empire" and "The Last Ship,"...
“ Director/Writer - "Baadassss",
Director Only - "Redemption Road", "All Things Fall Apart", "We The Party"

Major Awards
---------------------------
3 Independent Spirit Noms ” - HLMPartDeux
 
28.
Bill Duke
Actor, Predator
Duke Media Entertainment, led by actor, director, producer, writer and humanitarian, Bill Duke, is dedicated to bringing quality Edutainment to audiences around the globe. Formerly Yagya Productions, Duke Media has successfully produced critically acclaimed film and television content for more than 30 years...
“ Director Only - "A Rage in Harlem", "Deep Cover", "The Cemetary Club", "Sister Act 2", "Hoodlum", "Cover", "Not Easily Broken", "Deacons for Defense", "America's Dream", "Johnnie Mae Gibson"

Major Awards
---------------------------
1 Cannes Nom ” - HLMPartDeux
 
29.
Paris Barclay
Producer, Sons of Anarchy
Two-time Emmy winner Paris Barclay, one of television's most successful and honored directors, is the President of the Directors Guild of America. Throughout his illustrious career in TV, Paris has directed nearly 150 episodes of television, including NYPD Blue, ER, The West Wing, Lost, CSI, NCIS: Los Angeles...
“ Director Only - "Don't Be a Menace", "America's Dream", "The Cherokee Kid", "The Chang Family Saves The World", "The Big Time", "Dead Lawyers", "Big Mike"

Director/Writer - "Hate"

Writer Only - "Pedro"

Major Awards
-------------------------
1 WGA Nom ” - HLMPartDeux
 
30.
“ Director/Writer - "The Obama Effect",
Director Only - "First Time Felon", "Against The Ropes", "Under", "Racing For Time"

Major Awards
---------------------------
N/A ” - HLMPartDeux
 
31.
“ Director/Writer - "Black Dynamite", "Thick As Thieves"

Major Awards
------------------------
N/A ” - HLMPartDeux
 
32.
“ Director Only - "Down in the Delta"

Major Awards
--------------------
N/A ” - HLMPartDeux
 
33.
“ Director/Writer - "The Best Man", "Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins"
Director Only - "Undercover Brother", "Roll Bounce", "Soul Men", "Scary Movie 5"

Major Awards
-----------------------------
N/A ” - HLMPartDeux
 
34.
“ Director Only - "Strictly Business", "Passenger 57", "Fled", "The Color of Friendship", "Black Dog"

Major Awards
----------------------
1 Emmy Win ” - HLMPartDeux
 
35.
“ Director Only - "Coach Carter", "Save the Last Dance", "Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story", "Don King: Only In America"

Major Awards
----------------------
1 DGA Nomination
1 Emmy Nomination ” - HLMPartDeux
 
36.
“ Director Only - "Drumline", "Paid In Full", "Mr. 3000"

Major Awards
------------------------
1 Independent Spirit Nom ” - HLMPartDeux
 
37.
Ice Cube
Producer, Friday
Ice Cube was born in South Central Los Angeles, to Doris (Benjamin), a custodian and hospital clerk, and Hosea Jackson, a UCLA groundskeeper. He first came to public notice as a singer and songwriter with the controversial and influential band N.W.A. His compositions with that group included many of the classic cuts from their debut LP "Straight Outta Compton" (Ruthless/Priority...
“ Director/Writer - "The Players Club"
Writer Only - "'Friday' Movies", "All About The Benjamins"

Major Awards
--------------------------
N/A ” - HLMPartDeux
 
38.
“ Director/Writer - "SUBWAYStories", "Daughters of the Dust"
Director Only - "The Rosa Parks Story"

Major Awards
------------------------
1 Sundance Film Festival Nom
1 DGA Nom ” - HLMPartDeux
 
39.
“ Director/Writer - "Stranger Inside", "Watermelon Woman"
Director Only - "My Baby's Daddy"

Major Awards
-----------------------
1 Independent Spirit Nom
1 Berlin Film Festival Nom ” - HLMPartDeux
 
40.
“ Director/Writer - "Night Catches Us"

Major Awards
---------------------------
1 Sundance Film Festival Nom
1 Berlin Film Festival Win ” - HLMPartDeux
 
41.
“ Director/Writer - "Gun Hill Road"

Major Awards
--------------------------
1 Sundance Film Festival Nom ” - HLMPartDeux
 
42.
“ Director/Writer - "Just Another Girl on the I.R.T."

Major Awards
----------------------
1 Sundance Film Festival Win/1 Nom ” - HLMPartDeux
 
43.
Hype Williams
Director, Belly
“ Director/Writer - "Belly"

Major Awards
--------------------------
N/A ” - HLMPartDeux
 
44.
Tyler Perry
Perry was born and raised in New Orleans, to Willie Maxine (Campbell) and Emmitt Perry, Sr. His mother was a church-goer and took Perry along with her once a week. His father was a carpenter and they had a very strained and abusive relationship, which led Perry to suffer from depression as a teenager...
“ Director/Writer "Madea Movies", "For Colored Girls", "Why Did I Get Married", "Good Deeds", "Temptation"

Major Awards
--------------------------
N/A ” - HLMPartDeux
 
45.
Salim Akil
Director, The Game
Salim and Mara Brock Akil acquired a multi-year development deal with Warner Bros. Entertainment, slated to begin in 2016. Salim is a native of Oakland, California. He wrote and co-produced the film Drylongso (1999) which was featured at the Sundance Film Festival and Berlin Film Festival. Salim started...
“ Director Only - "Sparkle", "Jumping the Broom"

Major Awards
-------------------------
N/A ” - HLMPartDeux
 
46.
“ Director/Writer - "Ride"

Major Awards
-------------------------
N/A ” - HLMPartDeux
 
47.
“ Director Only - "Red Tails"

Major Awards
-------------------------
N/A ” - HLMPartDeux
 
48.
Troy Byer
Actress, John Q
Troy Byer began her career in show business at the ripe age of four as one of the original cast members on Sesame Street. Although Troy has worked most of her life as an actress (Dynasty, Murder One, The Cosby Show), writer (BAPS, Love Don't Cost A Thing, Soul Food) and director of major studio films she is also author of Amazon best seller...
“ Director/Writer "Let's Talk About Sex", "Love Don't Cost a Thing"

Major Awards
-------------------------
N/A ” - HLMPartDeux
 
49.
Neema Barnette
Director, Civil Brand
Director and producer Neema Barnette has engaged audiences with a body of socially compelling and politically charged work that defies the narrow stereotypes of African-Americans usually depicted in entertainment. Working in both television and film, Barnette has earned the respect of peers and critics alike by winning countless accolades...
“ Director Only "Civil Brand", "Better Off Dead"

Major Awards
-------------------------
N/A ” - HLMPartDeux
 
50.
Bridgett M. Davis
Director, Naked Acts
She took a screenwriting course in 1991 out of curiosity and soon found herself immersed in filmmaking. She graduated from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia in 1982. She is an Associate Professor of English at City University of New York's Baruch College where she teaches TV and Film Writing, Journalism and Fiction Writing.
“ Director/Writer - "Naked Acts"

Major Awards
-------------------------
N/A ” - HLMPartDeux
 
51.
“ Director/Writer - "D.E.B.S.", "GirlTrash"
Director Only - "Herbie: Fully Loaded"

Major Awards
--------------------------
N/A ” - HLMPartDeux
 
52.
“ Director Only - "Nairobi Half Life"

Major Awards
--------------------------
N/A ("Nairobi Half Life" chosen as Kenya's submission in 2012 for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars. This was Kenya's first ever submission.) ” - HLMPartDeux
 
53.
“ Director Only - "Atletu (The Athlete)"

Major Awards
--------------------------
N/A ("Atletu" chosen as Ethiopia's submission in 2011 for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars. This was Ethiopia's first ever submission.) ” - HLMPartDeux
 
54.
“ Director Only - "Bye Bye Africa", "Abouna", "Daratt", "Sexe, gombo et beurre salé", "A Screaming Man"

Major Awards
--------------------------
1 Cannes Win/1 Nom
7 Venice Wins/2 Noms
("Abouna" chosen as Chad's submission in 2003 for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars. This was Chad's first ever submission.) ” - HLMPartDeux
 
55.
“ Director Only - "Mama Tumaini", "Maangamizi: The Ancient One", "Liyarn Ngarn (documentary)"

Major Awards
--------------------------
N/A ("Maangamizi" chosen as Tanzania's submission in 2002 for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars. This was Tanzania's first and only ever submission.) ” - HLMPartDeux
 
56.
“ Director/Writer - "Macadam Tribu", "Paris: XY", "The Garden", "Kinshasa Palace"

Major Awards
--------------------------
N/A ("Macadam Tribu" chosen as the Congo's submission in 1998 for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars. This was the Congo's first and only ever submission.) ” - HLMPartDeux
 
57.
“ Director/Writer - "Yam Daabo (The Choice)", "Yaaba (Grandmother)", "Tilai (The Law)", "Samba Traore", "The Heart's Cry", "Kini and Adams", "Anger of the Gods", "Kato Kato"

Major Awards
--------------------------
1 Berlin Film Festival Win/1 Nom
2 Cannes Film Festival Wins/2 Noms
2 Venice Film Festival Wins/1 Nom
("Yaaba" chosen as Burkina's submission in 1990 for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars. This was the Burkina's first and only ever submission.) ” - HLMPartDeux
 
58.
“ Director/Writer - "Pousse-Pousse", "Notre Fille (Our Daughter)", "Totor", "Circle of Powers", "Mah Sa-Sah"

Major Awards
--------------------------
N/A ("Notre Fille" chosen as Cameroon's submission in 1981 for Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars. This was Cameroon's first and only ever submission.) ” - HLMPartDeux