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3 Black filmmakers are diversifying Kansas City's film industry

Daniel Banks is a cinematographer based out on Kansas City, MO.
Courtesy of Daniel Banks
Daniel Banks is a cinematographer based in Kansas City, Missouri.

Making films isn't easy and it can be tougher if you’re a filmmaker of color. Meet three of the people who are bringing their vision to Kansas City projects.

Making films requires a lot of people with different skills — directors, directors of photography, producers, editors, lighting technicians, runners and location managers. While there are many jobs, they haven't always gone to people of color in Kansas City.

Charles "Chuck" Browne, a director with more than a decade of experience in the industry, said things are improving.

"There's definitely a shift happening in Kansas City," Browne said. "Now you're seeing more opportunities becoming available for Black people in Kansas City when it comes to film making."

Browne released his first film, "The Shutdown," last year. It can be found on Tubi.

Kansas City cinematographer Daniel Banks has worked with the Kansas City Chiefs, on the sit-com "Bel-Air" and on HGTV's "Bargain Mansions." He got his start in college when some of his filmmaker friends were working on a project and he realized it was something he wanted to get into.

Banks, who hadn't declared a major, joined the department of theater and cinema.

"We had new cinema gear and all this accessibility to it, so I was able to do over 40 projects," Banks said. "I was really passionate about getting on everybody's project or helping them out, so I could gain as much exposure as I could."

Bobby J Coleman didn't start in the film industry — he started out as a comedian. After touring the world and telling jokes for almost 20 years, Coleman decided to retire. But now he is the founder of Cool Film Productions and plans to release his first film, titled "Vengeful," later this year.

It's about a man who was wrongfully accused of a crime and seeks to get revenge on the people who put him in that position.

"I remember watching the news, and was like, this will be a good film," Coleman said. "So, I wrote a story about something that happens to a guy, and he ends up serving time for crime he didn't commit, but I put a spin on it."

'Vengeful' will release later this year.
Courtesy of Bobby J Coleman
'Vengeful' will release later this year.

Coleman said he hopes this films starts conversation and brings awareness to injustices that are happening all across the country.

  • Charles Browne, film director
  • Daniel Banks, cinematographer
  • Bobby J Coleman, actor and film director
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