Movies

Menelek Lumumba: Rising Auteur

Menelek Lumumba: Rising Auteur

“Push the discussion. Change the status quo.”


A Denver, Colorado native, Menelek Lumumba is a new filmmaker on the rise. Menelek studied English and Film Studies at Colorado College. He went on to study Cinema for just one year at Howard University. Here, he met Hans Charles, most famous for his award-winning cinematography in the Oscar-nominated documentary, 13th. Menelek and Hans would later work with each other on various projects. Menelek is passionate about his craft. His first feature length film, 1 Angry Black Man has received praise wherever it is shown. It has won best narrative feature at the Baltimore International Black Film Festival, the Gary National Black Film Festival and honorable mention for Best Narrative Feature at the Urban World Film Festival—largest multicultural film festival in the nation.

1 Angry Black Man is a relevant and thought-provoking film that illustrates current conditions on college campuses and the often uncomfortable but necessary discourse that can happen in a classroom. The film portrays a tangible finesse with nuance and emotional depth of a seasoned director. Menelek set out to capture the feeling of today’s youth after originally writing a treatment centered around a class of high school seniors. The majority of the film takes place in a single classroom, adding to the tension of the subject matter.

There are many great director-cinematographer duos in mainstream and indie cinema. The spark created by duos like Steven Spielberg and Janusz Kamiński, Steve McQueen and Sean Bobbitt, Paul Anderson and Robert Elswit, among others, give audiences distinct visual styles that perfectly fall in line with the themes of their stories. Menelek has this spark with Hans Charles. Because of their dynamic relationship, Menelek and Hans were able to create the feel of what it means to be a young black man in America during a time of crisis. 1 Angry Black Man powerfully conveys the isolation one feels when you realize the people you thought of as allies in your fight for freedom don’t really understand your struggle.

To learn more about Menelek Lumumba, you can listen to his podcast with Hans Charles, Back of the Theater and follow him on Instagram @mumba50 and Twitter @mumba50.