Today in history, August 11, 1921, Alexander Murray Palmer Haley was born in Ithaca, New York.
He is probably best known as the author of Roots: The Saga of an American Family, and The Autobiography of Malcolm X – both would go on to inspire screen adaptations (for TV and film, respectively).
In celebration of Haley’s birthday (he would’ve been 92 years old today), check out this short-lived series he hosted not-so long before he died in 1992, titled Dialogue With Black Filmmakers.
The title should be self-explanatory.
I believe the episodes were shot in 1991, but I actually couldn’t find very much online written about the series! And it doesn’t appear to exist in any home video format (DVD, VHS, etc), which is a shame!
Although it supposedly eventually aired on Black Entertainment Television
, in 1992/1993
season. Yes, BET
! This was before it devolved into ass-shaking-music-video-heaven
, depending on your POV), when they had shows like Teen Summit
, and Ed Gordon’s
Maybe someone out there can fill in the blanks on this…
Regardless, I found footage from a couple of episodes of the program online which are embedded below.
Apparently, Haley talked to several filmmakers over the course of the series, including luminaries of the time, like Spike Lee, Julie Dash, John Singleton, Robert Townsend and others. There was also a tribute to Oscar Micheaux.
I embedded part of the Spike Lee interview below, in which he talks getting Malcolm X made, as well as his future outlook; and underneath, is his interview with Julie Dash.
And here he is with Julie Dash: