Charles Burnett born
On April 13, 1944, Charles Burnett, director of one of America's great lost-and-found neo-realist films, Killer of Sheep, was born. Declared a "national treasure" by the Library of Congress" and one of this country's 100 Essential Films by the National Society of Film Critics, the 1977 picture, made for $10,000, depicted in terms both gritty and poetic the lives of children and adults living in the Watts neighborhood of L.A. After triumphant premieres at Berlin and the U.S. Film Festival (now Sundance), the film largely disappeared until 2007 due to music rights issues. Meanwhile, Burnett went on to make several more films, including To Sleep with Anger, never taking obvious commercial routes. Most recently, he directed Namibia: The Struggle for Liberation, which starred Danny Glover and was funded by the government of Namibia. Of his work, Burnett told Filmmaker Magazine, " I see myself as a person who makes films about people, their conflicts, their condition, their failures and successes, the things that resonate — things that seem simple, but have universal meaning. To share experiences — that's what art is for. I see film as more of an art form than a commercial thing. I think because I come from a segregated experience, there's a need to tell stories other than mainstream stories. You could say, 'The stories you're doing are about predominately black subject matter,” but they are still about the American experience.'"