Demand Is Growing For Black Talent Overseas. Chadwick Boseman Most Popular US Actor In China

Written by Dana Sanchez

There’s a common misconception in the Hollywood establishment that black films and black talent don’t sell well internationally, according to Tambay Obenson, a producer and director.Actor Chadwick Boseman is proof of this misconception.

Boseman was named Most Popular U.S. Actor in China during the 13th Annual Chinese American Film Festival (CAFF), held Nov. 1 at the Ricardo Montalban Theater in Los Angeles.

Boeman’s popularity is growing in China, thanks to films he starred in including “Gods of Egypt,” “42,” and “Captain America: Civil War.” There is anticipation for his role in the upcoming “Black Panther” movie, due to be released on Feb. 28, 20168, according to a report in Metro.

News of the Boseman award for Most Popular U.S. Actor in China generated a flurry of responses on gaming forum, Resetera. Some of the responses reflected surprise:

“That’s surprising. I would think it would be one of those ‘Fast and Furious’ actors, like The Rock. Very encouraging though. I’d be overjoyed to see (‘Black Panther’) do really well in international markets because I’m already convinced it will do amazing numbers domestically.” — Neece

“Super weird and unexpected, but super cool and makes me even more hyped for Black Panther’s reception.” — ArgyleReptile

“This makes me hopeful that the ‘Hide the black dudes!’ approach to Chinese marketing is due to out-of-touch executives rather than popular sentiment.” — jph139

“Sometimes, just when you thought you have something figured out, life gives you a big pleasant surprise.” — Chaos2Frozen

“‘Black Panther’ gonna make bank lmfao.” — Lotus

Winning the award for Most Popular U.S. Actor in China caught Boseman by surprise, the actor said at the awards ceremony. “As African American actors we are told that our popularity and our movies don’t travel overseas. So I cherish this award immensely.”

“I certainly hope that black filmmakers here in the States haven’t unconsciously (or even consciously) bought into that silly, though common Hollywood studio belief,” Obenson wrote in a report for Shadow and Act. Obesnson is known for “Beautiful Things” (2006), “Endless Shards of Jazz for a Brutal World” (2015) and Indie film “Blogger Road Trip” (2009).

Other black filmmakers and artists have gained financial success overseas in the last 18 months for work in films such as “Straight Outta Compton,” “Hidden Figures,” and “Moonlight.”

Black filmmakers — writers, directors, producers and actors — should always consider the international prospects for their work, Obenson wrote in Shadow and Act:

“And I’m not only referring to the top-tier, most popular names that we all know of like Cannes, Toronto, Berlin, Venice, etc. There are countless film festivals, film markets, labs, workshops, talent discovery, funding and co-production opportunities all over the world, on almost every single continent.

“Some of them may not be as popular but are very well run, and will provide you with an environment that’s genuinely interested in what you have to offer, if only, in some cases, because they are located in parts of the world with a less than significant African population, and there’s a curiosity there; or, in the case of others, they don’t get a lot of submissions from black artists of all stripes, probably because black artists aren’t engaging them, because they don’t believe that there’ll be any interest in their work.

“There may be an opportunity to build awareness for yourself and your talents in parts of the world that might be more open to what you have to offer than you realize; being big in China for example, even if no one knows who you are in the USA, can be huge for your bottom line.”

The Chinese American Film Festival is organized by EDI Media and supported by the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television of China and the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in the U.S., according to a press release. It honors celebrities and other high-profile industry personnel from both the U.S. and China.

Chadwick Boseman
(Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)

Besides Boseman, other award recipients included Arthur Sarkissian, producer of the “Rush Hour” series for his work on, “The Foreigner” as well as Martin Campbell director of “The Foreigner.”

The Chinese American Film Festival also honored the Most Popular U.S. TV Actor in China, Most Popular U.S. TV Actress in China and Most Popular U.S. Director in China during this ceremony. The recipients were: Michael Rooker of “The Walking Dead” and “Guardians of the Galaxy,” Khandi Alexander of “CSI: Miami” and “Scandal” and Bobby Roth, director of “Prison Break,” “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”, “Revenge” and “Hawaii Five-0.”