Comcast salutes Black History with new film short
Comcast’s celebration of Black History Month includes a new short film that puts a spotlight on some of the talented contributors behind America’s favorite superhero stories, shows and movies. “Comics, sci-fi and animation have long been popular genres within the African American community,” said Keesha Boyd, Executive Director, Multicultural Consumer Services, Comcast Corporation. “We hope viewers will be inspired by this content and learn more about the powerful contributions this community has made to the world of sci-fi entertainment.”
“Groundbreakers: Heroes Behind The Mask” is a 12-minute short film that includes interviews with:
Phillip Boutte, Jr. costume illustrator for films: Marvel Studios’ “Black Panther”, Disney’s “A Wrinkle in Time,” and Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Justice League”
Cheo Hodari Coker showrunner of the popular series “Marvel’s Luke Cage” on Netflix
Dr. Sheena Howard award-winning author of “Black Comics: Politics of Race and Representation”
Alitha E. Martinez, comic book illustrator best known for her work drawing Marvel’s “Iron Man” and contributed drawings to comic book series, ‘World of Wakanda’
Reginald Hudlin, film writer, director and producer with credits including “Marshall” and the graphic novel “Black Panther: The Complete Collection”
Floyd Norman, Disney’s first African American animator with credits including “Mulan” and “The Jungle Book”; subject of the documentary ‘An Animated Life’
Phil LaMarr, voice over artist for several characters in the DC Comics Animated Universe and Star Wars: Rebels
Ciara Renee, actress – currently starring as ‘Hawkgirl’ on the CW’s “Legends of Tomorrow”
The short film is available within the “Black Film & TV” destination on Xfinity on Demand, online at xfinity.com/discovermore, on the Xfinity Stream app or by saying ‘Black Film & TV’ into the Xfinity X1 Voice Remote.
In addition to “Groundbreakers: Heroes Behind The Mask,” Xfinity On Demand offers several new films celebrating historical heroes during February including ‘Voices of the Civil Rights Movement,’ BET’s “Madiba,” TVOne’s “Behind the Movement,” Smithsonian Channel’s “Malcolm X: The Lost Tapes,” and The Africa Channels’ “Fighting for King and Empire,” along with clips from the new film, “Black Panther.”
Xfinity On Demand’s Black Film and TV destination is a curated collection of shows, movies, music videos, and web content featuring African American actors, content creators, musicians and sports figures. With a library that includes over 800 titles including historical documentaries, biographical films, and specials; it continues to serve as the permanent place on the Xfinity on Demand platform where Black History is always on.
Sandra Varner/Talk2SV: How did this great concept come into being?
Keesha Boyd: During Black History Month, it’s our goal to honor the
past but also to put forth a theme or focus that is relevant and timely for the community today.
Since last year, it was clear that the release of the ‘Black Panther’ film was going to be really pivotal for the cultural relevance. We started there and decided to explore this sci-fi/fantasy space a bit further. We wanted to understand who in the African American community is ‘making history’ now by contributing to this popular genre in new and different ways.
It was then that the campaign came to life. As a comic book nerd myself, it was exciting to go ‘behind the mask’ to learn about all of these talented creators and think through how best to spotlight them during this important cultural moment.
Talk2SV: What was the length of time from concept to completion? Share a few challenges along the way that became triumphs at the end?
Boyd: Comprehensive efforts like this take a great deal of team work and cross-functional collaboration. This instance was no exception as we partnered internally over the course of several months to really flush out the theme and what sort of product and content experiences we wanted to
The challenge of competing priorities and tight timelines are a constant for anyone in corporate America. But we were all very motivated and excited about the concept that it was easy to navigate our way through those tight timelines. Ultimately, the triumph is that we ended up with a final product that the entire team is proud to share.
Talk2SV: Expound on Comcast Xfinity’s commitment to illuminating African American culture. Will this be a recurring campaign?
Boyd: Illuminating African American culture through our community investment, partnerships, workforce, products and services is an effort Comcast continues to be committed to. From a product and service perspective, which is the side of the business that I sit on, we’ve been focused on giving our customers unique content experiences ensuring year round visibility of established and independent content creator’s works like the films from American Black Film Festival and Black Star Film Festival.
We’ve created a space on our platform to recognize Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCU’s) through lifestyle, music, and sports content. And, we continue to acknowledge the great achievements of the past through our ‘Black History: Always On’ collection which features a growing selection of documentaries, premiere originals and biopics that are available year round. All of this and more is located in our “Black Film & TV” destination on Xfinity on Demand which is designed to make it easier for our customers to find culturally relevant content whenever they want to watch it.
Each year we raise the bar for ourselves regarding our ‘Black History Month’ campaigns. We’ll see what next year holds!
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