Searchlight Puts Spotlight on Black Cinema

October 22, 2013 – In The News

Darrell D. Miller was featured in the Variety article “Searchlight Puts Spotlight on Black Cinema.” While the full text can be found in the October 22, 2013 issue of Variety, a synopsis is noted below.

Fox Searchlight, which in the past has ventured in the urban film arena, is making a fresh push to cash in on a potentially lucrative sector that rivals like Lionsgate and Screen Gems have effectively tapped into in recent years.

Fox Searchlight has re-entered the urban film genre with new releases such as “Baggage Claim” and “12 Years a Slave.”

David Talbert, who adapted “Baggage Claim” from his own 2003 novel, particularly praises the efforts of Fox Searchlight’s senior vice president of production, Zola Mashariki, for the success of the film.

Darrell Miller, who has worked with Fox Searchlight on numerous ubran-themed projects, believes that having someone like Mashariki onboard is important. “The hurdle often is finding someone who can relate and find the best stories,” he says.

While Searchlight has not always succeeded in its urban film endeavors, Miller is willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, maintaining that the company appears to have learned from its mistakes – as well as its victories.

“Having made those films and having had some success, it shoes that there is great potential for return,” Miller says.

That said, Fox Searchlight has lacked the kind of direct association to black cinema that Sony’s Screen Gems and Lionsgate have had in recent years.

“I grew up in an era where Artisan and TriStar were killing it,” Miller recalls. “Everybody saw the value of making a smart movie for the right price, and hitting a target demo. But to me, it’s a smarter business plan to ask, ‘Why should Sony and Lionsgate only play in this space?’”