Synopsis: AVAILABLE AUGUST 19th AND 23RD | 10:00 AM – MIDNIGHT
Charles Gilpin begins his career in minstrel shows in the early 1900’s. He struggles to find serious work as an actor, but there are very few parts available. He finally arrives in New York and becomes a star of the all black Lafayette Players in Harlem. A Broadway gig in ‘Abraham Lincoln’ gets him in front of Eugene O’Neill, who is breaking all the rules of traditional theater. He casts Gilpin as the lead in ‘Emperor Jones’, a play about an ex-Pullman porter turned leader of a small island country. It’s O’Neill’s first commercial success and it makes both men famous. But Gilpin has been uncomfortable with the language of the film, especially the free use of the ‘N’ word. When he starts changing the lines of the play, O’Neill fires him and replaces him with Paul Robeson, and Gilpin is ruined.
In addressing issues of racism and identity, “The Black Emperor of Broadway” uses derogatory language and imagery that can be offensive. In this depiction of real life events the film reflects, in a historical context, the conversations on race, representation and respect that our nation is having today. The Macon Film Festival does not condone or support the use of racist language.
John Hensley (Eugene O'Neill)
Nick Moran (Jasper Deeter)
Nija Okoro (Florence Gilpin)
During a 25 year collaboration, Director Arthur and Screenwriter Ian Bowater have created their Provincetown Trilogy, three films set in the picturesque, Bohemian community of Provincetown, Cape Cod. They were working on the possible third element about Eugene O’Neill’s early theatrical career with the legendary Provincetown Players. Then they discovered the Charles Gilpn story through Adrienne Earle Pender’s stage play “N” at a small theatre in Raleigh North Carolina. As soon as Arthur Egeli read the script, he commissioned it for his next Provincetown film. Despite being a period drama and working in the small independent film genre they made it happen. Actors wanted to tell this story.
Arthur Egeli is a fine artist and a filmmaker living in Provincetown, Massachusetts. He has produced and directed five feature films and sold over a dozen original screenplays, including the award winning “The Art of Passion” (Miramax) and “Getting It Real”, and “Murder on the Cape” (Netflix) For his art, he has received awards from the Portrait Society of America, the Oil Painters of America, and the American Impressionist society.
Arthur Egeli is third generation painter. His grandfather, Bjorn Egeli (1900-1984), painted official portraits of Eisenhower, Nixon, and MacArthur. His father and mother are both award winning portrait painters. Overwall, there are twelve working artists in the extended family.
Arthur began his studies with his father and mother in the winter and in the summer, with Henry Hensche at the Cape School of Art. His experiences would nurture a life long love of Provincetown and inspire his first feature film, “The Art of Passion”, which won the $110,000 jury prize at the Hamptons International Film Festival. He also attended Art Center in Pasadena, California and the University of Maryland, where he was awarded a creative writing scholarship.
In Pasadena, he met his wife, actress Heather Hayes, who would collaborate with Arthur on four films to date, including the Ghost Forest, Misconception and Murder on the Cape, and The Black Emperor of Broadway.
In 2005, following the birth of their daughter, Arthur and Heather opened Egeli Gallery in Provincetown. The gallery soon expanded from a summer business to a thriving year around business, representing not only emerging contemporary artists such as John Clayton and Margaret McWethy, but masters from Provincetown’s past, like Charles Hawthorne, John Whorf, George Elmer Browne and Henry Hensche. Today, Arthur and Heather reside year around in Provincetown, Massachusetts, producing art and films and raising their two children.
Kansas City Filmfest - 2020
Best Narrative Feature (Arthur Egeli)
Richmond International Film Festival - 2020
Brooklyn International Film Festival - 2020
Greenwich International Film Festival - 2020
THE BLACK EMPEROR OF BROADWAY is a small gem of a film. It is a film which highlights not only the writing of a classic of the American stage, but more importantly it throws light on the man who made it possible by unleashing all the power within the words Charles Gilpin. Hile I had read of Gilpin's legendary performances, I had never really been told anything about him beyond that. This film gives us a sense of the man himself. - Steve Koplan, Unseen Films - Steve Koplan, Unseen Films