(b. Chicago, IL) Dr. Artel Great is an American artist, Independent Spirit Award-nominated filmmaker, Black cinema scholar, and a leading authority on race and popular culture, bridging the gap at the intersections of cinema and social justice.
His rigorous work as a public scholar and critically-informed film director transcends boundaries and defies conventional categorization, approaching Black cinema and visual culture as a form of creative activism that addresses the myriad links between art and politics. He is also known for his supporting roles in several Hollywood studio films including, the box-office hit Save the Last Dance, Oprah Winfrey's Their Eyes Were Watching God, and his award-winning performance, opposite Jeremy Renner, in the cult classic, Dahmer.
Dr. Great is the first Black valedictorian at UCLA Film School, where he graduated summa cum laude and holds both his B.A. and M.A. degrees. He later earned his Ph.D. at New York University, Tisch School of the Arts.
A noted social entrepreneur, he created one of the internet's first web series before founding, Project Catalyst, the first-ever streaming service specializing in entertainment by and for global communities of color. For the platform's development, he was awarded the Cinema Research Institute Fellowship for innovation in film.
Dr. Great has taught courses on cinema, television, and visual culture at UCLA, NYU, and Spelman College. He currently serves as the George and Judy Marcus Endowed Chair in African-American Cinema Studies and Assistant Professor of Critical Studies at the San Francisco State University, School of Cinema. He was selected as the 2023 Social Justice Research Fellow at the University of Oregon.
And he was recently appointed the Cultural-Critic-in-Residence at the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco. He is often called upon as a media consultant and commentator. His work has appeared in popular outlets like The New York Times, CNN, and USA Today. His signature essay "Black Cinema Matters" was published in The New Republic Magazine.
He is the co-editor, alongside Ed Guerrero, of the forthcoming book Black Cinema and Visual Culture: Art and Politics in the Twenty-First Century, (March 30, 2023).
He is the writer/director of the debut feature LOVE LIKE WINTER (2021) which won a nomination for Best Director at the 2021 Pan African Film Festival in Los Angeles. His second feature, LOVE WALKS IN is currently playing in select theaters and streaming at U.S. and international film festivals. Both films represent the first two installments of his tetralogy, "The Love Cycle," a collection of films that explore the nuances of Black love in America. Dr. Great's films have been featured in major multiplexes and art-house theaters, both nationally and internationally at film festivals and museums, as well as on Netflix, Amazon, cable, and broadcast television.