Director: Mario Van Peebles
Release Date: April 15th, 2004
MPAA Rating: R
Studio: Sony Pictures Classics
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Synopsis: In "Baadasssss!" Mario Van Peebles pay tribute to his dad, pioneer black filmmaker Melvin Van Peebles. The Movie dramatically recounts the saga of what his father went through more than 30 years ago when Melvin decided to go against every grain in American filmmaking to make his breakout hit, "Sweet Sweetback's Baad Asssss Song." Following the success of his directing debut, "The Watermelon Man," made for a Hollywood studio in 1970, Melvin decides against all conventional wisdom to make a movie about a black street hustler turned revolutionary running from racist cops. And the only way to do this is with independent financing. He doesn’t stop there, though. Melvin insists on a multiethnic crew. To throw the then-white unions off the scent, he pretends he is making a porno. Every step is an uphill battle: raising money, crewing up, losing financing, recasting when SAG won’t sign off, running out of money, then refusing to submit the film to the all-white MPAA ratings board, meaning an automatic X rating. After sinking his heart, soul and family money into the project, Melvin discovers that only two theaters in the United States will play such a film. Encouraging Melvin are his white co-producer Bill (Rainn Wilson), his long-suffering secretary Priscilla (Joy Bryant), Clyde (David Alan Grier), a black porn producer anxious to break into films where people wear clothes, his Latino B camera crew operator Jose (Paul Rodriguez) and his even longer-suffering girlfriend Sandra (Nia Long).