A “Lil Positivity”: Black Film ‘I Will Follow’ Does Well Without Studio And Marketing Dollars, Director Describes It As The Anti-Tyler Perry Film

- By Bossip Staff

Make sure you support this film…

I Will Follow, a nuanced drama about a woman coping with the death of her aunt, opened in Washington, D.C., this week after playing across the country to packed theaters. It’s had no studio backing, advertising or marketing, but it was fueled by word of mouth, social media and boosts from black film festivals, like the Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles and BronzeLens in Atlanta.

“It’s the polar opposite of Mr. Perry, tonally,” says writer/director DuVernay. “There’s nothing wrong with what Mr. Perry is doing. Our point is there should be options for filmgoers and not a total monopoly of African-American films. Let the indie voices be heard. They’re not making it through the studio system. ” DuVernay, also the owner of a public-relations firm, decided to approach theaters directly. She worked out a deal with AMC to distribute the film and, boosted by positive reviews from critics like Roger Ebert, I Will Follow gathered momentum, making an impressive $11,500 per-screen average. “If you’re a black person living in, say, Detroit, you’ll see what’s put out by the studios,” she says. “And this year the only black-themed films were Big Mommas: Like Father, Like Son and Tyler Perry’s film. There should be something for people who like drama and an indie aesthetic. The only way to get films of that caliber is to encourage new voices to write and direct them.”

DuVernay started AFFRM, the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement, and plans to release films drawn from festivals. Meanwhile, black film fests worked to promote I Will Follow, as did colleges and churches. The film, which stars Salli Richardson-Whitfield, Omari Hardwick and Blair Underwood, was made for a mere $50,000. DuVernay says she has tripled her investment.

Click HERE to check out BOSSIP’s exclusive interview with Salli Richardson and Omari Hardwick for ‘I Will Follow.’

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  • lili

    o My friends told me about — Meet’ri`ches .C0- M —–told It’s the be’st pl’ace to me’et Milli’onaire si’ngles. It is the first and best club for wealthy people and their admirers. D’ating CEOs, professional athletes, doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, professional models and cheerleaders, and even Hollywood celebrities is an easy experience there…you don’t have to be rich ,but you can meet one there… 😉
    nice experience——-

  • Big will

    Congrats to the film makers I myself is tired of the Tyler Perry, Ohpra Winfry nonesense bashing black men or just making black people look like fools

    • Peggy Bundy

      Looks like your tired of English too…

    • sowhatyall

      @Peggy Bundy
      “Looks like you’re tired of English too”

      (see how I corrected your grammar for you….make sure you know what you’re talking about before you attempt to correct someone else)

      You’re Welcome! 🙂

    • Kim

      @sowhatyall Thank you! I was thinking the same thing; if you’re gonna talk smack about someone else’s grammar/ spelling, you ought to at least double check your own…SMH

    • bpleasebelieve

      First: Yall is spelled incorrectly; although close, the correct spelling is y’all, so your name should appear as such: so what y’all.
      Second: If starting a sentence within parenthesis, it is imperative that you capitalize the first word.
      Third: Ellipsis only contains three not four periods.
      Fourth: While you are at it, why not just finish the sentence with a period?
      However, I will say that you did an exact job in correcting the previous post.
      Thank You!

    • Peak Sumter

      @Sowhatyall: Haha. I wouldn’t try to compare Ms Bundy’s innocent and often-made error to the hatchet job done on the original post. Damn I thought I was reading the script from an episode of Amos N’ Andy when I read that hahahaha!!

  • Ms. Chicago

    Amen! Amen! Amen! It’s not nice to put down others in order to build yourself up. If you create something good, let it speak for itself.

  • Frederica Bimble

    “The Simpsons” (every episode); “Joe Dirt;” “Kingpin;” “Roadhouse;” “Dumb and Dumber (and the sequels); “My Name is Earl;” “Married with Children!” Indeed, Peg Bundy! The list goes on and on but the point has been made.

  • Forreals

    @ Iris:

    Ain’t that the truth. Ninjas luv to tell everyone what’s wrong with them but hate for sumone to tell them what’s wrong with them. All ninjas do iz put sistaz down but hate for the truth to be told bout their azzes.

  • Kim

    I don’t think Tyler Perry bashes black men or women, he just shows the good & bad of both sides. Like in Diary of a Mad Black woman, he showed the educated, successful yet abusive, cheating husband, but he also showed the average blue collar brother that was honest, caring, & dedicated.

    I think he shows some of the problematic behaviors we both have but also shows the underlying issues of those behaviors so we can understand ourselves & each other better & change our thinking so we can change our actions.

  • Boondock Saint

    “It’s the polar opposite of Mr. Perry, tonally.”


    “Our point is there should be options for filmgoers and not a total monopoly of African-American films. Let the indie voices be heard. They’re not making it through the studio system. ”


    “There should be something for people who like drama and an indie aesthetic.”



      Who cares about “The Studio System”? Underground Music made its way into the mainstream due to word of mouth,and so can independent Black Cinema. Complaining about Hollywood Films,is like discovering an Old carton of Milk in your fridge and being surprised by how Bad it smells! Support Independent Black Cinema!

    • Uhh Yeah Ok™

      Nollywood is the 3rd largest film industry in the world. It’s all distribution and networks. (old news?)

  • Why?

    Instead of basing Tyler for his sucess, which has NOTHING to do with black hollywood as a whole. You could have spent my time saying what the film was about and how we can see it.

  • Why?

    Wait. I didnt get the memo. Tylyer Perry has a monopoly on African-American films?

  • Ms. Chicago

    @Jay Who is “black cinema”? The entertainment industry is a BUSINESS (that is not run by black people), meaning the purpose is to make money. If all you see are “negative” black images on the screen, it’s because that is what black people will pay $10 to see.

  • Brooklyn Heights

    There is the Hav Plenty crowd and the Tyler Perry crowd. Educated hip and pretty versus soap opera ghetto chuuch theme.
    I’m a Hav Plenty guy, I have good looking relatives and foreign cars. The Tyler Perry crowd usually have bad looking relatives and American cars. LOL

  • MR.MAKE.YA.FEELGOOD.(always read the fine print)

    The bottom line is that it’s important for us to support blk films….And yes that includes Tylers’. In KRS1’s 1st CD there was what would be later called gangster rap in it. (a clssic though) Every cd that he put out after that was more thought provoking and more positive for the youth. He said that what he wanted to do was to 1st get the kids respect and attention. And then 2nd teach them some of the things that they needed to learn and know. Hopefully Tyler’s plan is kind of the same….So ok Tyler. You have our attention. We are waiting.


      Beware of ANY Entertainer,who tells you his or her mission Statement is to Educate and Uplift. This is after all The entertainment BUSINESS! The Mission statement for any Business is Get as Big as you can,fast as you can and make as much money as possible.Tyler Perry has pretty much accomplished his Mission,so to look to him or anyone else in Show Business,to educate and uplift,is pretty much a pointless endeavor…..

  • I Aint Mad at Ya

    Ms. Chicago
    difference is they didnt create a ”BRAND” from a crossdressing roll.
    How much Big Momma 1 2 3,shanene,wanda,Madea,juwannaman, white chicks, klumps, snipes,rasputia ? , etc etc etc

  • Choc

    I will support this film and I support Tyler Perry. As this filmmaker said the problem comes when there are no options.

  • tasha

    I will support this film if it comes to Dallas!!

  • NA

    ^^^This is EXACTLY how I feel!

  • Boondock Saint

    You wanna see black dudes represented in a bad light? Recommended for your NetFlix fix:

    The Color Purple
    Waiting To Exhale
    For Colored Girls

    Oh, and almost ANY Tyler Perry film will fit the bill.

    Figure in the 10:00 News, and Oprah and it’s obvious that Black male pathology has been examined, discussed, and dissected, ad nauseum. You you’re cryin’ because the world now knows that all y’all ain’t the virginal, innocent victims y’all made yourselves out to be. GTFOOH.



  • SkyeHye

    @ I Aint Mad at Ya- ROTF DYING at your comment!!! Sadly, this IS the day plan for some of my relatives in ATL…

  • http://www.bossip.com exact

    All of you people on here screaming about pos or negative images of black people seem to not realize that these films are about ART that imitate REAL LIFE!! The black community is not monolithic, it eclectic… Everyone is WELCOME to have a point of View and EXPRESS it and make money if possible. Let all the Analysis go and just enjoy these wrks of ART for what they are…..SMH!!

  • Forreals

    this is the best comment in thead.

  • Forreals

    anotha great comment

  • Deaya Charles

    Make us look bad to who? I hope you don’t mean to yourself, because everything does not have to be to YOUR liking, and I also hope you don’t mean to other races… If they have “bad apples” just the same as we do, why do our films and TV have to pretend that all Black people are flawless and upstanding? Isn’t it up to intelligent citizens of the world to know better than to buy into stereotypes?

    And why are you so worried about what “they” think anyways, if YOU know who YOU are?

    Think about these things, please.

  • gretchen

    Well, Madea’s Happy Family just made 25 million, so somebody must like it.

  • schoolteacher7

    Why can’t we simply support both? Supporting one doesn’t mean we have to bash the other. There are too few of us in charge of making our own independent films in the first place. As black people, we have enough economic power and social activity to bring anything to the surface. And of course, there’s quite enough of us satisfy the support needed, the marketing, and the ticket sales. So whatever we would rather see “us” in, let’s just make it happen, support the ones that will, or leave it alone!

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