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30 Significant Black Characters in SF Films (Part Two) via Mizan Media

This is part three of three of “30 Significant Black SF characters in SF films”. In this case, significance is defined as “something that is conveyed as a meaning, often obscurely or indirectly”, I have set 5 basic criteria for picking characters (not the films!). They are as follows below:

1. Character (is the character primary, secondary or extra)
2. Agency (does the character have the ability to make their own choices)
3. Survival (does the character live until the end of the film)
4. Boglesque (does the character appear as a stereotype)
5. Relevance (does character have historical, political or social relevance)

This is an informal, evolving survey of characters and is meant for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is also very specifically about the characters and not about the films, which may or may not hold high significance. It is also my own personal opinion.

Rate, Comment, Share, Subscribe. - M. Asli Dukan

30 Significant Black Characters in SF Films (Part Two) via Mizan Media

This is part two of three of “30 Significant Black SF characters in SF films”. In this case, significance is defined as “something that is conveyed as a meaning, often obscurely or indirectly”, I have set 5 basic criteria for picking characters (not the films!). They are as follows below:

1. Character (is the character primary, secondary or extra)
2. Agency (does the character have the ability to make their own choices)
3. Survival (does the character live until the end of the film)
4. Boglesque (does the character appear as a stereotype)
5. Relevance (does character have historical, political or social relevance)

This is an informal, evolving survey of characters and is meant for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is also very specifically about the characters and not about the films, which may or may not hold high significance. It is also my own personal opinion. - M. Asli Dukan

30 Significant Black Characters in SF Films (Part One) via Mizan Media

This is part one of three of “30 Significant Black SF characters in SF films”. In this case, significance is defined as “something that is conveyed as a meaning, often obscurely or indirectly”, I have set 5 basic criteria for picking characters (not the films!). They are as follows below:

1. Character (is the character primary, secondary or extra)
2. Agency (does the character have the ability to make their own choices)
3. Survival (does the character live until the end of the film)
4. Boglesque (does the character appear as a stereotype)
5. Relevance (does character have historical, political or social relevance)

This is an informal, evolving survey of characters and is meant for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is also very specifically about the characters and not about the films, which may or may not hold high significance. It is also my own personal opinion. - M. Asli Dukan

From the origins of the genres, images of Black people in fantasy, horror and science fiction or speculative fiction (SF) have been inauthentic at best in the imaginations of white creators. From the “Fantastic Voyages” of the 1700s where Black pirates kidnapped white explorers to far off “alien” lands, to technologically advanced futures where Black people didn’t exist in any significant population, to post-nuclear holocaust America where modern Blacks took on aggressive pre-civilized behaviors, many of these ideas have created lasting impressions in the minds of their audiences and future creators. And though there were a few attempts by some white writers to use the genres for social commentary, for instance on race relations, these efforts were few and far in between.

There is however a significant output of work by Black creators, who used the techniques and themes of the genres to write alternative stories and to produce films that spoke closer to the realities of Black life. At the turn of the 20th century, Black writers wrote utopian and fantastical novels set during the days of slavery and Reconstruction. Independent Black filmmakers created low budget feature films exploring the effects of science and fantastical religious beliefs on the Black imagination. Harlem Renaissance writers jumped into the genre with “mad scientist” and “end of the world” scenarios commenting on the American race relations. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, two powerful and original voices emerged in the SF world writing tales with more inclusive pasts, presents and futures. Also in the 1970s, Black anti-heroes utilized science and the supernatural to secure Black justice. And later, there was the emergence of Black superheroes, who, though ready, willing and able to save the entire universe, first had to fight a homogenous industry.

Brought to life via interviews, film and event clips, text, graphics, music and narration, this documentary ultimately reveals that though often intermittent and mostly unseen, there is a canon of artistic work by Black creators in the SF genres, creating a universe all its own.

Dark Phase Space Spotlight On: M. Asli Dukan | Invisible Universe Documentary

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ARTIST

M. Asli Dukan / producer and director 
DARK PHASE SPACE PRESENTATION
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ARTIST STATEMENT
M. Asli Dukan is a producer, director and editor from New York City. She graduated from The City University of New York with a Master of Fine Arts degree in Media and Communication Arts in 1999 where she received the best editing award for her thesis film, Sleeping on a train in Motion. Her media works have screened at the Blowin’ Up A Spot Film Festival and the M.A.L.I. Women’s Film and Performing Arts Conference in Dallas and Austin, Texas; OnyxCon and the Octavia E. Butler Celebration of the Fantastic Arts in Atlanta, Georgia; Citivisions and the Imagenation Film & Music Festivalin New York City; the Black to the Future Science Fiction Festival and the Langston Hughes Film Festival in Seattle, Washington; and on Move the Frame, a community television program based in New York City. She received a grant from the Kitchen Table Giving Circle in 2012 and received an Urban Artist Initiative Grant/NYC in 2009. In 2000, she founded Mizan Media Productions to produce short and feature length films and music videos. She has produced and directed several music videos, including Boot for Tamar-kali and Do You Mind for Hanifah Walidah, which debuted on LOGO in 2008. In addition to the feature length documentary, Invisible Universe, she is in development on the feature length anthology horror film, Skin Folk based on the book by award winning SF writer, Nalo Hopkinson.

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ARTIST PORTALS
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M. Asli Dukan, filmmaker and creator of Invisible Universe Documentary, will be featured at AfroFuturist Affair 2013 Charity & Costume Ball: Dark Phase Space. She will be screening clips of Invisible Universe, as well as filming parts of the Ball to add into the documentary! 

Invisible Universe: A History of Blackness in Speculative Fiction documentary trailer (dir. M. Asli Dukan, work-in-progress) (by invisibleuniversedoc)

Invisible Universe: A history of Blackness in Speculative Fiction explores the relationship between the Black body and popular fantasy, horror and science fiction literature and film and the alternative perspectives produced by creators of color. This documentary features interviews with major writers, scholars, artists and filmmakers and explores comics, television, film and literature by deconstructing stereotyped images of Black people in the genres. The Invisible Universe documentary ultimately reveals how Black creators have been consciously creating their own universe.