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Long Beach Indie International Film, Media and Music Festival has ended
Friday, September 1 • 11:15am - 12:15pm
E & M Conference (Track 3) - Questioning the Numbers: Race, Box Office and the Hollywood Machine

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Paper #1: Boxing / Blackness / Box Office: Creed as Ryan Coogler's Dialectic with Hollywood

One might have expected Ryan Coogler to continue the trajectory he began with Fruitvale Station by making another low-budget biopic that overtly addresses societal issues like police brutality and other forms of antiblack racism in America. Yet the exact opposite occurs with Creed, a Hollywood blockbuster that revives the Rocky franchise. But to assert, as many critics have done, that Coogler completely abandons his earlier predilections with his second feature is surely a mistake, for Creed is a complex interrogation of race and cinematic representation and a film in which Coogler allegorically explores his relationship to both black independent filmmaking and white mainstream U.S. cinema. I examine the ways in which Creed simultaneously satisfies the demands of a Hollywood franchise while addressing the fluidities of blackness. The film’s narrative and style enact a constant unmooring and deferral of story conventions and franchise expectations. By looking at interviews with the cast and crew as well as engaging with both contemporary and canonical texts from cultural studies and critical race film criticism, I argue that these subversions of form and content in Creed are manifestations of Coogler’s suspension of expectations and conventions concerning both black representation and Hollywood cinema.

Paper #2: Whitewashing: An Unethical Business Model

There is a demand for inclusion and diversity within Hollywood cinema due to the unethical business model of whitewashing that American studios currently utilize for profit. This essay argues that a film can have fiscal success by casting minorities in leading roles, while opening more opportunities for global acceptance of diversity and tolerance. The question is discussed in relation to Professor Andrew Weaver of Indiana University and his statement to the Indiana University Bloomington NewsRoom: “You get this discrimination in the casting of roles, where they’re going to cast whites if at all possible to maximize the audience.” Studio executives need to realize that whitewashing exacerbates racial stigma, injustice and prejudice in contemporary society. The global audience would be proud and accepting of seeing films with minority leads because they- the majority – are seeing themselves being represented in a positive light. I argue that if American studios were consistent in casting minorities in respectable leading roles, international productions would be more accepting of it as well, creating profitable international co-productions.

Speakers
AD

Alex Denison

PhD Student, University of Iowa
JM

Joy Millana

Assistant Professor-Missouri State University


Friday September 1, 2017 11:15am - 12:15pm
Hilton Long Beach Hotel

Attendees (2)