Pass The Torch: Jamal Joseph
Jamal Joseph discusses his role as a former member of the Black Panther Party. Joseph is now a successful screenwriter and Columbia University Film School professor. He also works with inner-city youths, helping them find an artistic voice for their anger and a constructive channel in social activism.
Jamal Joseph, a former member of the Black Panther Party, is a prolific screenwriter and filmmaker. As a screenwriter, Joseph has written for Fox television, including: Ali: An American Hero , and an upcoming biography of Russell Simmons. A serious martial art practitioner himself, Joseph wrote Knifehand, a martial art film to be directed by Don Cheadle for New Line Cinema. Also for New Line, Joseph is developing a film entitled, Life in the Minor Keys, about a jazz musician. For Warner Brothers, he has written Double Dead, which Vondie Curtis-Hall will direct. Jamal Joseph is currently developing Thirty Days and Wake-up for Universal Pictures and Jersey Films, and writing a new series called Post for HBO. In addition, Joseph is founder of the International Black Panther Film Festival (IBPFF), with former Panther Kathleen Cleaver (IBPFF features films from around the world that have captured the powerful images of its various liberation struggles). Joseph is also producing two spoken word albums, one of which features the work of Tupac Shakur, and teaches screenwriting as a professor in Columbia University’s School of the Arts, Division of Film.
While Jamal Joseph has been prolific and successful in the film industry, it has not been at the expense or exclusion of demonstrating a real commitment to community activism. Joseph joined the Black Panther party at the age of 15. As Panther 21, he was convicted in the famous trial of ’78, and as a result he has spent 9 1/2 years in prison. Since then, besides his creative work, he has been very active within the Harlem community. He is co-founder of the Impact Repertory Company (IMPACT), a Harlem-based youth theater company, and founder of Harlemwood. Both are ground-zero, difference-making activities that reach out and give back to the community, which is what the PASS THE TORCH series is about. As our second speaker in this series, Jamal Joseph discusses his role as a former member of the Black Panther Party, and his current activities working with inner-city youth.
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Full Court Press, director, producer; Horizon Productions, 1996.
Da Zone, writer, director; Picture Business Productions, 1996 (short).
Public Enemy, himself; documentary, Real Fiction, 1999.
Ali: An American Hero, writer; Fox Network, 2000 (TV).
Knifehand, writer; New Line Cinema.
Life in the Minor Keys, writer; New Line Cinema.
Double Dead, writer; Warner Brothers.
30 Days and A Wake Up, writer; Universal Pictures/Jersey Films.
Post, writer; Home Box Office (TV series).
Drive By: A Love Story, writer, director; Picture Business Productions (short).
Hard Chorus, writer, director; Picture Business Productions (short).
Heal The Rainbow, writer, director; Picture Business Productions (short).
Hip Hop in the Promised Land, writer, director; Picture Business Productions.