Editor’s note: As 2013 ends, and 2014 begins, I’ll be reposting some of our highlights published during the last year. Those who’ve already read each one can obviously skip them, or revisit if you’d like. For those who joined us later in the year, missing many of these posts from earlier in the year, they will probably be new items. Here’s the 16th of many to come, originally posted in late March 2013. Happy New Year to you all!
Titled Unstoppable: A Conversation With Melvin Van Peebles, Gordon Parks and Ossie Davis, the documentary aired on the Black STARZ! network in early 2005, a week after Ossie Davis died.
It’s an intimate, candid portrait of 3 of our most treasured film artists together, on screen, as they discuss their extraordinary careers, including the myriad of issues they faced, their struggles and triumphs.
Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think this is the only existing filmed interview with these 3 legends, together, in the same room, at the same time! This is huge, and something everyone must watch – especially if you’re interested in black cinema and its history.
But even if it’s not the only one, this one is still very much worth watching/listening to. There are a lot of years, experience and wisdom to learn from here, and I thoroughly enjoyed the entire hour-long portrait, learning quite a few things about each of them that I wasn’t aware of previously. For example, I didn’t know that Gordon Parks almost directed a movie based on the life of Alexander Pushkin. As he says, the project was practically all set to go, but then there was a regime change at the time, at the company that was backing the film, and the whole thing eventually fell apart.
Interestingly, Ossie Davis also says that a dream project of his was to make a Puskin film, as well as one on Toussaint Louverture.
As an aside, you might recall that Jeffrey Wright very recently said that his dream project would be to star as Puskin in a biopic. How awesome would that have been if both Parks and Davis lived long enough to partner up with Wright, to produce a Pushkin biopic.
Also featured in the documentary are commentary contributions from Reginald Hudlin, Julie
Dash, Ruby Dee, Nelson George, and Mario Van Peebles.
Warrington Hudlin moderates the entire conversation.
It doesn’t appear to be available on any home video format currently that I can tell; although it was probably released at some point (I couldn’t determine that with certainty), because a YouTube user recently uploaded the entire documentary to that video sharing website, so they must own a hard copy of it. I did send them a message asking what their source was, but no response.
Regardless, the entire 64-minute doc is on YouTube, and embedded below in 5 parts, so check it out: