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Parks filming The Learning Tree, 1968.

Parks filming The Learning Tree, 1968.

Encouraged by acclaimed film director and friend, John Cassavettes, Gordon Parks wrote, directed, and scored the first major Hollywood film to be directed by a black American, The Learning Tree (1969) based on his semi-autobiographical novel of the same name. By this point, Life magazine’s halcyon days were drawing to a close and Parks became increasingly involved in directing films.  He would go on to create short documentaries and direct such iconic films as Shaft, along with bio-pics depicting the lives of significant black Americans, such as Leadbelly and Solomon Northup’s Odyssey

Filmography

*Flavio, 1964

*Diary of a Harlem Family, 1968

*The World of Piri Thomas, 1968

*The Learning Tree, 1969

*Shaft, 1971

*Shaft’s Big Score!, 1972

*The Super Cops, 1974

*Leadbelly, 1976

*Solomon Northup’s Odyssey, 1984

*Moments Without Proper Names, 1987

*Martin, 1989

Slideshow

The Learning Tree - movie poster, 1969

The Learning Tree - promotional poster, 1969

Shaft - movie poster, 1971

Shaft - promotional image, 1971

Shaft - movie poster, 1971 (Japanese Release)

Shaft - movie poster, 1971 (Serbian Release)

Shaft's Big Score - movie poster, 1972

Shaft's Big Score - movie poster, 1972 (Italian Release)

The Super Cops - movie poster, 1974

Leadbelly - movie poster, 1976

Video

Excerpt from Diary of a Harlem Family, 1968