August 99 Interview: Spike Lee
on Distribution and Studio Support

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Interview with Spike Lee (SL) conducted by Nasser Metcalfe (NM)
Summer of Spike
NM
Do black films tend to get enough support from studios when it comes to promotion or do you think they kind of set them up to fail?
SL
Well, I don't think they set them up to fail. A lot of them feel that [they should] try to get as much money as possible with spending as little as possible. I think the battle has to be that the range has to be broadened on the types of black films that are made. It's only a particular type of black film that the studios are going to finance today.
NM
So how realistic do you think it is that we will one day have an entity powerful enough to actually distribute our own films?
SL
Well, I think distribution is a very hard nut to crack. So we should get there, but there are several steps we need to get before distribution, like financing. I mean right now there is no better distribution system than the one Hollywood has set up. So I don't want to put the cart before the horse. We need to find alternative means of getting our films financed. Get on the Bus was financed outside of Hollywood. Some African-American men came together and financed that film, we sold it to Columbia Pictures and they financed it. I think the first step is to try and get a source of funding so we can make films.

 

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