Award Winning Filmmaker Korey Green is launching a new project that will hopefully get more people talking about a subject that is typically considered awkward and even taboo to this day. Instead of simply looking the other direction, as many people do, Korey is looking to produce a film on the topics of culture and race, as seen through the experiential eyes of minorities.
The Blackness Project is in direct response to The Whiteness Project, a controversial online video essay that is essentially based on “white people in Buffalo talking about race”, plain and simple. But for Korey, could 21 white people talking about their inner thoughts and outward experiences pertaining to black people actually paint a broad enough picture to warrant closure to the topic?
I decided to reach out to Korey to get his own perspectives on his project, as they relate to race, Buffalo, and The Whiteness Project.
What was the true inspiration behind The Blackness Project?
“I was inspired to do my film “The Blackness Project” after watching a similar film called the “Whiteness Project”, a multimedia documentary, described as an investigation of how Americans identify with being white. Twenty-one Caucasians from Buffalo, New York, talked candidly about their race.
The film challenged me to open my mind and not simply judge the film by the title especially without watching it first. I hope people will have the same open mindedness when watching my film as well. I was taken back by some of the shocking statements but appreciated the honesty and understood these are things that a white person wouldn’t normally say or feel comfortable speaking about in an open room. I had to dig deep and use the film as an educational opportunity for my understanding. Well, the film created a dialogue which can’t be a bad thing….
Originally, I started off to make a film to respond to the “Whiteness Project” by presenting a conversation about race in America from the African American perspective. However, when we began to film and listen to the interviews it became apparent that there was a need to make a bigger impact – to go a step further. Our problems in Buffalo, NY and the United States are more than simply black and white.
There is a deeper story however, we must all embrace diversity and inclusion for all Americans to truly excel. For example, if the United States was directly attacked by a foreign enemy it wouldn’t matter the color of our skin it would matter that we were Americans and if that’s not enough to make you embrace different cultures nothing will. Our troops have and still are risking their lives for our freedom and color certainly doesn’t matter on the battlefield so it certainly shouldn’t matter in our daily lives, and the film will reflect that as well. It is important to know that we do not seek to divide with this project, but to encourage serious conversations that lead to community led solutions.
I believe that Buffalo is much more than the opinions of 21 people who were featured in the “Whiteness Project”. I was born and raised in Buffalo so it’s my duty to make a truthful, universal and educational film with an attempt to bridge the racial gap so we can become a better city and eventually a better country. The best way to change the direction on racism or any other injustices is to speak on it, truthfully. Let’s all embrace the uncomfortableness and not only address it but deal with it directly so we can finally move on and progress! I would like to utilize my film-making talents to do just that. I’m a realist and not naive to the point where I expect everyone to like each other; but, if there is a mutual respect for each citizen as Americans we have a much better shot at being a better Buffalo and once again a better country.
What should it mean to you to get this film project off the ground?
When asked what it means to me to get my latest film “The Blackness project” fully funded on Kickstarter a few things come to mind….The first thing is it will enable us to feature the film worldwide with colleges and universities being our primary target because of the film’s educational focus. We would like to generate a serious conversation about racial solutions among college students, our future leaders.
We are experiencing a transformational time in our country. It’s inspiring to witness the new voices of social consciousness. We want to capture those voices. We would like to encourage a rewrite of America’s racial narrative, in other words, Let’s Rewrite Script. We want to also submit the film to the world’s largest film festivals. This requires proper promotion which is very costly but necessary to really get the film noticed and seen.
As a Buffalo resident born and raised in this city. I care about my city. However, it hurts to see how an economic divide caused by many factors including segregation has harmed our city. I personally feel with the support of my city, in addition to highlighting the voices and current community efforts to discuss racial issues, positions Buffalo as a city taking the lead in trying to heal and tackle racial relations head on.
It would speak volumes for the 6th most segregated city (Buffalo NY) and WNY being ranked #1 most racist place in America to show support for a film where research and public opinion expects the opposite…Wouldn’t that be great to beat the odds? To show and prove that we are better than that. The racial divide in my city is clearly hurting our economy.
All the progressive cities pride themselves on diversity and if we really want to turn this city around and truly be “One Buffalo” we must all work together regardless of race, color or ethnicity.
Will this film be shot in Buffalo?
The principal photography for the film is being shot in Buffalo NY but we have also shot footage outside of New State as well.
Is this film about race nationally, or more specific to Buffalo?
This is a national project because racial segregation is a national issue. I would like “The Blackness Project” to educate about how African Americans identify racism and how it can hurt deeply affecting generations. It will take viewing the ugly – the reality taking place now in our country to raise consciousness and also we strive to highlight the positive community work led by people who seek to rewrite America’s racial narrative and create solutions that begin to bridge the racial divide.
Do you have a team in Buffalo ready to hit the ground running?
Black Rose Films which is owned by myself and Larry Quinn (Former Sabres GM) and Xavier Films (Peter Johnson) are the film companies producing the project with help from Stephen Rosenthal (Colorist), Jennifer Parker (Public Relations Consultant) and Sabina Ramsey (Graphics and Design). These are some of my key players but we have other supporters throughout the city who are just as passionate as we are about the film.
What is your goal and aspiration for the film?
My biggest goal and aspiration for the film is that once it is completed and released that the film is welcomed and accepted with open arms and minds from all walks of life and that the film generates a better understanding and approach of race in America. We have to work together!
Click here to help fund The Blackness Project – a documentary film.
Korey Green, Film Director
Peter Johnson, Executive Producer